Genomics England is today (26/04/16) pleased to announce the appointment of Professor Ewan Birney, Director of the European Bioinformatics Institute (EMBL-EBI) and a Senior Scientist at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory, to the Genomics England Board.
As a member of the Board, Professor Birney will play an important role in overseeing all of Genomics England’s activities, ratifying major decisions and setting the overall strategy for the organisation.
Genomics England was set up by the UK’s Department of Health to deliver the 100,000 Genomes Project, which aims to enable new scientific discoveries, medical insights and advanced diagnostics. When completed, the project will enable the NHS to offer genomic medicine and personalised treatments to patients with conditions that are currently hard to treat.
Professor Ewan Birney joins the Genomics England Board as one of the UK’s leading genomic scientists. His research has had a major impact in improving our understanding of genomic biology. Professor Birney worked on the initial human genome project, and led the analysis group in the first two phases of the large-scale, international ENCODE project, which is working systematically to define functional elements in the human genome. His current research focuses on algorithms and statistical methods to analyse genomic information, compression of sequencing data and methods to use DNA as a digital storage medium.
As Director of EMBL-EBI, Professor Birney is a trusted advisor to governments and industry on genomics data management, and sits on the Scientific Advisory Board of a number of organisations, including the Berlin Institute of Health in Germany.
Sir John Chisholm, Executive Chair of the Genomics England Board said:
“We are delighted to welcome Ewan to our Board. His world-leading expertise will be invaluable as we work towards delivering benefits directly to patients through whole genome sequencing.”
Professor Ewan Birney said:
“EMBL-EBI’s medical strategy focuses on transferring skills from academic research to medicine, and nowhere is this more important than in bringing genomics and bioinformatics into the clinic. I am excited to be appointed to the Board of Genomics England, and see this as an opportunity to bridge the technical expertise offered by our institute and the needs of national healthcare systems. I hope this relationship is the first of many in Europe, and that I can contribute in some way to the success of these transformative endeavours.”