Wellcome Sanger Institute

The Genomic Surveillance Unit welcomes Professor Saheer Gharbia as Chief Scientific Officer 

A dynamic and experienced leader in public health genomics, Professor Gharbia will shape the scientific vision of the Wellcome Sanger Institute’s Genomic Surveillance Unit (GSU).

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With over 25 years of experience in research, public health, and genomics around the world, Professor Saheer Gharbia has a strong strategic vision and believes in the power of genomic surveillance to improve global human health.

Formerly the inaugural Director of Pathogen Genomics at the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA), Professor Gharbia has deep experience building skilled teams that deliver high-impact results. She has a strong research background, having worked and trained in Canada, Germany, and the UK before embarking on a career in public health. In 2003, she joined the predecessor organisation of the UKHSA, and has been building genomic surveillance capacity in the UK’s public health system for two decades. More recently, she was instrumental in building the UKHSA’s world-leading COVID-19 genomics capability.

“My ambition is to make genomic surveillance a global capability. That’s why I’m here. The Genomic Surveillance Unit is at the interface between discovery research, applied research, and population impact. That triangle is extremely unique. The GSU was created in a way that can focus knowledge and move it. I can bring my last 25 years experience across all the pieces together and mesh into this amazing interdisciplinary team.”

Professor Saheer Gharbia, Chief Scientific Officer for the Genomic Surveillance Unit at the Wellcome Sanger Institute

“We are thrilled to have Professor Gharbia joining the team at such a crucial point in our development. Her experience at the intersection of genomics and public health will be invaluable as we continue to develop our products and expand into new disease areas.”

John Sillitoe, Director of the Genomic Surveillance Unit at the Wellcome Sanger Institute

More information

Find out more about Professor Gharbia and her approach in this profile.

About The Genomic Surveillance Unit at the Wellcome Sanger Institute

The Genomic Surveillance Unit (GSU) is a team at the Wellcome Sanger Institute dedicated to improving global human health by accelerating the use and impact of genomic surveillance.

By delivering products, tools, and services that empower public health, partners are able to add genomic information to their decision-making. The GSU supports partners around the world at every stage of the process, from sample collection and lab set-up to data generation, analysis, and interpretation.