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Sir John E. Sulston

Born March 27, 1942
Nationality Britain
Fields Biology
Known for Caenorhabditis elegans, Apoptosis
Notable awards Nobel prize in Physiology or Medicine 2002
EBI and Sulston Laboratories of the Sanger Institute.

Sir John Edward Sulston, FRS (born March 27, 1942) is a British biologist and the 2002 Nobel prize in Physiology or Medicine laureate.

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Biography

Sulston was educated at Merchant Taylors' School, Northwood and Pembroke College, Cambridge graduating in 1963. He joined the Chemistry Department in Cambridge, gained his PhD degree for research in nucleotide chemistry and devoted his scientific life to biological research, especially in the field of molecular biology. After working as a Postdoctoral researcher at the Salk Institute, USA for a while, he returned to Cambridge to work under Sydney Brenner at the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology.

Sulston played a central role in both the Caenorhabditis elegans worm and human genome sequencing projects. He had argued successfully for the sequencing of C. elegans to show that large-scale genome sequencing projects were feasible. As sequencing of the worm genome proceeded, the project to sequence the human genome began. At this point he was made director of the newly established Sanger Centre (named after Fred Sanger and now the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute), located in Cambridgeshire, England.

Following completion of the 'working draft' of the human genome sequence in 2000, Sulston retired from his role as director at the Sanger Centre. In 2002 he won the Dan David Prize that was directed by Professor Gad Barzilai. Later, he shared the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine with Sydney Brenner and H. Robert Horvitz, both of whom he had collaborated with at the Cambridge Laboratory of Molecular Biology (LMB). One of Sulston's most important contributions during his research years at the LMB was to elucidate the precise order in which cells in C. elegans divide. In fact, he and his team succeeded in tracing the nematode's entire embryonic cell lineage. Sulston is now a leading campaigner against the patenting of human genetic information.

In 2001, Sulston suggested that scientists should honour a Hippocratic Oath for Scientists.

In 2007, Sulston was announced as Chair of the newly-founded Institute for Science, Ethics and Innovation (iSEI) at the University of Manchester. iSEI is a research institute focusing on the role and moral responsibilities of science, technology and innovation in the contemporary world.

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