Dr Ireena Dutta

Interim Director - Connecting Science

I lead a learning, training and engagement programme that is focussed on adding value to the Sanger Institute’s research activities. We aim to translate Sanger’s discovery science into a range of outputs that are relevant for public and professional audiences, enabling everyone to explore the impact of genomics on our lives and the world around us. 

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Find out about our learning, training and engagement activities

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Image credit: Dave Goulding, Wellcome Sanger Institute
Cholera bacteria under an electron scanning microscopy.

I have always been interested in science, and its potential to make the world a better place. I have a degree in microbiology, and a PhD in antimicrobial resistance; and if there is one thing that might make you step back and think about the power of the invisible – it’s bacteria! These microorganisms impact our lives in so many ways from health and disease, to food security and our environment, understanding them is almost an infinite task. But one I’m very glad I played a role in.

Since my PhD, I have worked in the financial services sector, civil service, and academia, in a variety of science-related roles, from genome annotation to audit and assurance. I’ve been privileged to be part of some ground-breaking initiatives, and see first-hand the planning, people and processes, that have enabled their success. Learning from these experiences has underpinned how I view the role of science in our world, and how we can collectively ensure that its risks and benefits are shared in an equitable manner globally.

Connecting Science at the Wellcome Sanger Institute

I lead an amazing team of training and engagement specialists in Connecting Science. Our work has a global audience, which ranges from young adults and community groups, to research and healthcare professionals. Our activities are broadly based around Sanger science, but we also look to influence the broader research environment, culture and workforce.

Our ethos and approach are based around inspiring new thinking; championing collaboration; being open and accessible; a commitment to excellence; being responsive and supporting dialogue; and actively considering diversity and inclusion. These values are manifested across our workstreams – whether that’s our schools-based programme for young people, which targets areas and communities with high levels of deprivation or low social mobility; our projects amplifying patient voices as part of the research community; our free, online, professional training offer supporting the global research community; or our workshops bringing together diverse stakeholders to tackle key genomics-based challenges.

Find out more about Connecting Science, our work, and our team here: wellcomeconnectingscience.org