Onur Pinar, Wellcome Sanger Institute

Professor Matt Hurles appointed Director of the Wellcome Sanger Institute

Current Head of the Human Genetics Programme at the Institute will formally take up the Directorship later this year.

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Following a comprehensive global search process, which began in February 2022, the Genome Research Limited Board has today (13 February 2023) appointed Professor Matt Hurles as the new Director of the Wellcome Sanger Institute.

Professor Hurles will formally become Director later this year after a handover period with current Director, Professor Sir Mike Stratton.

Professor Hurles has been Head of the Human Genetics Programme at the Sanger Institute since 2017. His work focuses on deciphering the genetic causes of severe developmental disorders and understanding how DNA mutates through the generations. He was elected as Fellow of the UK Academy of Medical Sciences in 2017 and Fellow of the Royal Society in 2019.

“Sanger is a world leading genomics research institute, with a strong and purposeful mission, driven by our combination of collective endeavour and individual excellence. Mike Stratton’s vision, thoughtfulness and compassion will be a hard act to follow, and I am delighted that he will be staying on to pursue his own science. I am hugely honoured and tremendously energised to lead the Sanger Institute into the future. These are incredibly exciting times in genomics research and I am confident that Sanger science in our next decade will be as momentous and enduring as in our first three decades.”

Professor Matt Hurles, Incoming Director of the Wellcome Sanger Institute

Sir Mike Stratton will remain at the Sanger Institute to continue conducting cancer research and participating in the life of the Institute.

“To lead the Sanger Institute for the last 13 years has been a wonderful experience and the honour of a lifetime. I am so proud of the science that we have done together, its vision and breadth, its pace, ambition and impact. Today, however, it is my privilege to most enthusiastically and warmly welcome the appointment of Matt Hurles as the next Sanger Director and to offer Matt my deepest, sincere congratulations. I am absolutely sure Matt will do a fantastic job and I look forward to supporting him in any way possible in the future.”

Professor Sir Mike Stratton, Outgoing Director of the Wellcome Sanger Institute

“On behalf of everyone at Wellcome, I would like to share congratulations to Matt Hurles on his appointment as Director of the Wellcome Sanger Institute. Matt is an outstanding scientist who has made exceptional contributions to our understanding of human DNA and how genetics impact on our neurodevelopment.

“The profound commitment from all who work at and with the Wellcome Sanger Institute provides a true, living example of what we can achieve in discovery science, from major advances in infectious disease research to exploring the depths of the complex mechanisms behind life on earth itself.

“I would also like to add my heartfelt thanks to Mike Stratton for his inspirational leadership of the Institute during his time as Director. We are all looking forward to working with Matt, to build on this remarkable legacy, and continue cultivating the Sanger Institute’s world-leading role in genome research, in turn advancing our understanding of human health.”

Paul Schreier, incoming interim CEO of Wellcome and Chair of the Genome Research Limited Board

More information

Paul Schreier will become interim Chief Executive Officer of Wellcome on 25 February when current Director, Dr Jeremy Farrar, steps down.