Press release

World-leading cancer genome expert appointed new Director of Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute

The Wellcome Trust today announces the appointment of Professor Mike Stratton as the new Director of the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute.

Professor Stratton has been Deputy Director of the Institute since 2007, where he heads the highly successful Cancer Genome Project and is a leader of the International Cancer Genome Consortium.

Sir Mark Walport, Director of the Wellcome Trust, said: "On behalf of the Wellcome Trust, I would like to congratulate Mike Stratton on his appointment as Director of the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute. Mike is an exceptional scientist who has made major discoveries about the genetic mechanisms of cancer.

"Scientists at the Sanger Institute have made world-leading contributions to our understanding of the human genome and its variation in health and disease. They have also sequenced many other genomes, including those of many of the infectious organisms that cause much human misery and disease. Mike Stratton is ideally positioned to lead the work at the Sanger Institute, which has enormous potential to result in major health benefits for future generations."

Professor Stratton's appointment has also been welcomed by Dr Eric Lander, Director of the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard: "Mike Stratton is an outstanding scientist and a world leader in cancer genomics. He is a superb choice to be Director of the Sanger Institute and I look forward to working with him. There are extraordinary opportunities for collaboration to ensure that the fruits of the Human Genome Project are brought to the clinic."

Speaking about his appointment, Professor Stratton says: "It is a truly extraordinary challenge and great privilege to be appointed Director of the Sanger Institute. The Institute is currently on the crest of a wave of discoveries in revealing how genetic variation in human beings and in infectious agents causes disease. I aim to build ambitiously on the Institute's current leadership in large-scale analysis of genomes and experimental studies in model organisms to develop cellular systems that will explore human biology and to provide transformative insights into how diseases develop.

"In 10-20 years' time it is conceivable that we will all have our genomes sequenced as a routine. Our Institute will make a major contribution to understanding what these sequences mean and will be a leading voice in society's consideration of how they should be used in order to achieve our aim of improving human health."

The appointment of Mike Stratton follows the decision of Professor Allan Bradley in March this year to step down as Director of the Institute after ten years to found a start-up company and to focus on his research. Professor Bradley was appointed Director of the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute in 2000, taking on the challenge, responsibility and opportunity from founding Director Sir John Sulston. He built on the success of the Institute's pivotal role in the Human Genome Project and transformed the direction of its research. Professor Bradley will assume the title of Director Emeritus.

Sir Mark Walport said: "I would also like to thank Allan Bradley for his leadership and exceptional personal contribution during the last decade. Under his directorship the Institute developed an outstanding faculty, forged many new partnerships in areas of human, animal and pathogen genetics and published the results of ground-breaking research in a series of outstanding research publications and databases, building a well-earned reputation for the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute as a world-leading research institute."