Director's Office


To support the Director in the development, communication and implementation of the GRL organisational strategy and the Sanger Institute high level science strategy, and managing the interfaces within GRL support functions in operationalising the strategy. 


Matthew Hurles, Director of the Wellcome Sanger Institute, has overall responsibility for all activities of Genome Research Limited.

Key areas

The Director’s Office team provide leadership and ensure delivery in the following areas.

  • Overarching GRL strategy and Sanger Institute Science Strategy
  • Organisational funding and the quinquennial review process
  • Horizon scanning and long term strategic planning
  • Academic and commercial strategic partnerships and stakeholder management
  • Faculty planning
  • Government and Public affairs
  • Science Policy, Open Science and Research Culture
  • Impact assessment of our work
  • Strategic initiatives
  • Interactions with Wellcome

The Team

  • The Associate Director represents the Director and works with internal colleagues and external stakeholders to implement, communicate and deliver the vision and mission of the Institute and Campus.
  • The Chief of Staff represents and works alongside the Director and is the key strategic link between the Director, their leadership team, the Director’s office and Wellcome.
  • The Executive Assistant provides strategic counsel and support to the Director in all activities and leads, manages and execute’s the Institute wide events programme.
  • The Head of Faculty Planning is the custodian of the Institute’s Faculty model, co-leads, with HR, individual Faculty review processes, is the link into Faculty and has oversight of the Honorary, Associate and International Fellows programme.
  • The Head of Policy identifies policy issues, nationally and internationally, that impact on Sanger science, where our science may feed into broader policy issues, and engages and influences on those issues.
  • The Head of Strategy leads the Institute’s strategy, driving and embedding it into the organisation and leads the Institute’s quinuennial funding review.
  • The Impact and Evaluation Analyst measures the impact of all Genome Research Limited activities on delivering the missions of the Sanger Institute, Connecting Science and the Wellcome Genome Campus.
  • The Research Culture lead works across the Institute to develop a research culture that supports good research practice and integrity.
  • The Policy Officer supports the Institute’s work on developing and communicating policy positions and reviews.
  • The Archivist promotes and leads capturing and preserving the Institute’s key milestones.


The Director’s Office Team can be contacted individually or via, 01223 494739

Core team

Photo of Dr Sarion Bowers

Dr Sarion Bowers

Head of Policy and Advocacy

Photo of Dr Hayley Clissold

Dr Hayley Clissold

Policy Lead (Research Environment)

Photo of Debbie Howe

Debbie Howe

Executive Assistant to the Director

Photo of Austra Jenner-Parson

Austra Jenner-Parson

Impact And Evaluation Lead

Photo of Carl Logan

Carl Logan

Chief of Staff to the Director

Photo of Dr Alice Mann

Dr Alice Mann

Head of Academic Programmes

Photo of David Nicholson

David Nicholson

Policy Advisor

Photo of Johanna Staines

Johanna Staines

Head Of Strategy

Photo of Dr Julia Wilson

Dr Julia Wilson

Director of Strategy, Policy and Innovation

Previous team members

Photo of Dr Laura Humphreys

Dr Laura Humphreys

Project Manager: Cancer, Ageing and Somatic Mutation Programme

Photo of Professor Sir Mike Stratton

Professor Sir Mike Stratton

Senior Group Leader

Photo of Dr Sonia Virdee

Dr Sonia Virdee

Associate Director, Research and Faculty Planning

Photo of Steven Zemke

Steven Zemke

Head of Faculty Planning

The following were also members of this team:

Rachel CurranFormer Associate Director. Currently Head of Administration and Operations at EMBL-EBI
Jo JonesFormer Executive Personal Assistant to the Director. Currently Deputy Chief of Staff at the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries