2014 – Professor Sir Michael Stratton
Mike Stratton is Director of the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute. He qualified in medicine at Oxford University and Guy’s Hospital, trained as a histopathologist and obtained a PhD in the molecular biology of cancer at the Institute of Cancer Research, London.
His primary research interests have been in the genetics of cancer. His early research focused on inherited susceptibility. He mapped and identified the major high risk breast cancer susceptibility gene BRCA2 and subsequently other cancer susceptibility genes.
In 2000 he initiated the Cancer Genome Project at the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute which conducts systematic genome-wide searches for somatic mutations in human cancer. Through these studies he discovered somatic mutations of the BRAF gene in malignant melanoma and several other mutated cancer genes in breast, lung, renal, bone, myeloid and other cancers. He has described the basic patterns of somatic mutation in cancer genomes revealing underlying DNA mutational and repair processes.
He is a Fellow of the Royal Society (FRS) and was knighted in the 2013 Queen’s birthday honours.
In his talk Prof Stratton reflected on the three last three decades of genetic research: from 1990-2000 was the period of the Human Genome Project; from 2001-10 was the period when disease association linkages were identified; and since 2011 we have entered the period when costs of genome sequencing are falling to such an extent that personal sequences are becoming more easily available, which poses interesting ethical problems, but also offers opportunities for more focussed treatment options. The vote of thanks to Prof Stratton was proposed by Dr Jo Franks, and the toast to the Association was proposed by Dr Nicola Rosenfelder.