Sanger Seminar Series

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Virtual Sanger Seminar series

Our freely available online seminars have showcased how our researchers tackle some of the greatest challenges in human health and disease. Discover how our senior scientists and faulty use genomic approaches to: map all cell types in the human body, understand how cancer develops, and track the evolution and spread of global diseases.

Please explore them below:

Professor Muzlifah Haniffa

Decoding the Developing Human Immune System

On 15 December 2021, Professor Haniffa described how she applies disruptive cutting-edge techniques to study the genomics of immune cell populations at single-cell resolution and uses advanced computing capabilities to analyse data to reconstruct the immune system within its tissue context during development and adult life. The resulting Development Cell Atlas will decode the development and functional maturation of the human immune system. The Development Cell Atlas is part of the Human Cell Atlas initiative, which has set out to create a comprehensive reference map of all human cells as the basis for understanding human health and diagnosing, monitoring and treating disease.

Professor Muzlifah Haniffa is a member of Associate Faculty in the Cellular Genetics Programme and Professor of Dermatology and Immunology at Newcastle University.

Q&A with Professor Muzlifah Haniffa

The Q&A session with Professor Muzlifah Haniffa was hosted by the Sanger Institute’s:

Dr Trevor Lawley

Early Life Microbiomes and Longer-Term Outcomes

On 17 November 2021, Dr Trevor Lawley explained how his team uses data-driven and hypothesis-driven approaches to investigate the human microbiome and translate their findings into medicines and diagnostics. The lab uses (meta)genomic analysis, genetics, mouse and cellular models, microbial culturing, transcriptomics, proteomics and machine learning to understand how healthy and disease resistant microbiomes develop, and discover the microbiome’s effects on a range of developmental disorders, diseases and poorly understood syndromes.

Dr Trevor Lawley is a Faculty and Senior Group Leader of the Host-Microbiota Interactions Lab (www.lawleylab.com) at the Wellcome Sanger Institute and the Founding Chief Scientific Officer of biotech company Microbiotica (www.microbiotica.com).

Q&A with Dr Trevor Lawley

The Q&A session with Dr Trevor Lawley was hosted by the Sanger Institute’s:

Dr Omer Bayraktar

High Throughput Spatial Genomics

Spatial genomics, a new frontier in molecular biology, aims to assay the genomic information of single cells within their native tissue environment.

On 21 October 2021, Omer Bayraktar described this new initiative at the Sanger Institute which combines high-throughput sequencing and microscopy to generate spatial genomic data at scale. His ambition is to harness these technologies towards building 3D cellular atlases of human tissues and analysing hundreds of patient tissue samples.

Dr Bayraktar is a group leader in the Sanger Institute’s Cellular Genetics Programme.

Q&A with Dr Omer Bayraktar

The Q&A session with Dr Omer Bayraktar was hosted by the Sanger Institute’s:

Dr Roser Vento-Tormo

Mapping tissues in vivo and in vitro one cell at a time

Tissue microenvironment shapes cellular identity and function, understanding how this happens in vivo can help us engineer novel in vitro models.

On 16 June 2021, Dr Roser Vento-Tormo outlined how her research focuses on the adaptation of immune cells in tissues and their function in steady state and inflammation. Her team uses genomics, spatial transcriptomics and bioinformatics tools to reconstruct the microenvironment that will shape immune cellular identity and function. Dr Vento-Tormo is a group leader in the Sanger Institute’s Cellular Genetics Programme.

Q&A with Dr Roser Vento-Tormo

The Q&A session with Dr Roser Vento-Tormo was hosted by the Sanger Institute’s:

Professor Phil H Jones

Inner evolution: How cancer associated mutants colonise our tissues and what we can do about it

Ageing human tissues are colonized by mutants linked to cancer, understanding how this happens points to ways we can get rid of mutant cells and cut cancer risk. In his 19 May 2021 seminar, Professor Phil H Jones, a senior group leader in the Cancer, Ageing and Somatic Mutation research programme, spoke about his research in this area.

Q&A with Professor Phil H Jones

The Q&A session with Professor Phil H Jones was hosted by the Sanger Institute’s:

Professor Nicole Soranzo

The genetic basis of common traits and diseases

On 21 April 2021, Professor Nicole Soranzo detailed her studies into how the human genome influences the risk of common diseases in the UK population. Professor Soranzo, a group leader at the Sanger Institute, seeks to unravel the spectrum of human genetic variation associated with cardiometabolic diseases.

Q&A with Professor Nicole Soranzo

The Q&A session with Professor Nicole Soranzo, a group leader at the Sanger Institute was hosted by the Sanger Institute’s:

Professor Matthew Hurles

The causes and consequences of new mutations in humans

On 17 March 2021, Professor Matthew Hurles, Head of the Human Genetics Programme at the Wellcome Sanger Institute outlined his research and discoveries into the factors that influence how much DNA mutates from one generation to the next. He also explored what the disease consequences of these mutations can be.

Q&A with Professor Matthew Hurles

The Q&A session with Professor Matthew Hurles, Head of the Human Genetics Programme, was hosted by the Sanger Institute’s:

Dr Mathew Garnett

Functional genomic approaches to guide cancer drug discovery

On 17 February 2021, Dr Mathew Garnett, a Group Leader at the Wellcome Sanger Institute, outlined how he and his team investigate genetic alterations – their contribution to cancer development and their impact on patient responses to anti-cancer medicines.

Q&A with Dr Mathew Garnett

The Q&A session with Dr Mathew Garnett, Group Leader from the Cancer, Ageing and Somatic Mutation research programme, was hosted by the Sanger Institute’s:

Dr Jeff Barrett

Comprehensive genomic surveillance of SARS-CoV-2 in the UK

Dr Jeff Barrett was Director the Wellcome Sanger Institute COVID-19 Genomics Initiative until the end of December 2021.

In his 20 January 2021 seminar, Dr Barrett explained how the Sanger Institute had sequenced more than 100,000 SARS-CoV-2 genomes, and how the COVID-19 Genomics UK (COG-UK) Consortium uses the data for surveillance, including how it enabled the discovery of, and mapping the spread of, the B.1.1.7 variant.

Q&A with Dr Jeff Barrett

The Q&A session with Dr Jeff Barrett, Director the Wellcome Sanger Institute COVID-19 Genomics Initiative was hosted by the Sanger Institute’s:

Dr Gosia Trynka

Dissecting the function of genetic variants associated with immune diseases

Dr Gosia Trynka is Group Leader at the Wellcome Sanger Institute and Experimental Science Director of Open Targets.

In her 15 December 2021 talk, Gosia described how she uses genomics to identify cellular pathways and molecular targets that have been affected in immune diseases to develop new treatments and diagnostics.

Q&A with Dr Gosia Trynka

The Q&A session with Dr Gosia Trynka, Group Leader in the Human Genetics Programme, at the Wellcome Sanger Institute and Experimental Science Director at Open Targets was hosted by the Sanger Institute’s:

Professor Dominic Kwiatkowski

Charting the evolutionary journey towards malaria elimination

Professor Dominic Kwiatkowski is Head of the Parasites and Microbes research programme at the Sanger Institute.

In his 19 November 2020 talk, Dominic described how he uses genomics to probe the ongoing evolutionary arms race between parasites, mosquitoes and human populations that are afflicted by malaria, and how this knowledge can be translated into new strategies for combatting drug and insecticide resistance.

Q&A with Professor Dominic Kwiatkowski

The Q&A session with Professor Dominic Kwiatkowski, who leads the Parasites and Microbes research Programme, was hosted by the Sanger Institute’s:

Professor Mark Blaxter

Busy ’bout the tree of life: What telomere-to-telomere genome sequences tell us about global biodiversity

Professor Mark Blaxter leads the Tree of Life Programme which has as an overarching goal the sequencing to high quality of all species on Earth.

In his 21 October 2020 talk, Professor Blaxter explained how he and his colleagues use genomics to:

  • understand the deep roots of biodiversity,
  • delve into the unique biology of threatened organisms and
  • provide tools for conservation and mitigation of climate change and other threats.

Q&A with Professor Mark Blaxter

The Q&A session with Professor Mark Blaxter, who leads the Tree of Life Programme, was hosted by the Sanger Institute’s:

Dr Emma Davenport

Stratifying sepsis patients through transcriptomic profiling

On 16 September 2020, Dr Emma Davenport, Group Leader in the Human Genetics Programme at the Sanger Institute discussed somatic mutations, and how her research team is using gene expression data to understand how individuals respond to sepsis, a life-threatening condition caused by the dysregulated host response to infection.

Q&A with Dr Emma Davenport

The Q&A session with Dr Emma Davenport, Group Leader in the Human Genetics Programme, was hosted by the Sanger Institute’s:

Dr Peter Campbell

Somatic mutations in normal tissues

On 19 August 2020 Dr Peter Campbell, Head of Cancer, Ageing and Somatic Mutation programme at the Sanger Institute discussed somatic mutations, and how researchers are characterising the landscape of mutations in cells to provide insights into normal tissue development and maintenance, cancer evolution, diseases other than cancer, and ageing.

Q&A with Dr Peter Campbell

The Q&A session with Dr Peter Campbell, Head of Cancer, Ageing and Somatic Mutation programme, was hosted by the Sanger Institute’s:

Dr Sarah Teichmann

Human Cell Atlas: Mapping the body one cell at a time

The Human Cell Atlas is an ambitious global initiative aiming to create a comprehensive reference map of all human cells—the fundamental units of life—as a basis understanding human health and diagnosing, monitoring, and treating disease.

In her talk on the 15 July 2020, Dr Sarah Teichmann explained how the Human Cell Atlas is providing unprecedented understanding of human cells and tissue architecture in health and disease including reproductive biology, auto-immune disease and Covid-19 infection.

Q&A with Dr Sarah Teichmann

The Q&A session with Dr Sarah Teichmann, Head of the Cellular Genetics research programme, was hosted by the Sanger Institute’s: