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A new Chief Scientific Officer has been appointed at Genomics England

Following a rigorous recruitment process, Genomics England has just announced that it has appointed a new Chief Scientific Officer – Professor Matt Brown.  

A world leader in genomics

Since its formation in 2013, Genomics England has been a leader in progressing genomics across England and kickstarting a personalised medicine service for the NHS. From the completion of the 100,000 Genome Project to its new goals on the horizon of carrying out a pilot study of newborn genomic sequencing, Genomics England is continuously evolving.

New in town

Genomics England recently announced the departure of one of the country’s premier scientists, Professor Sir Mark Caulfield. Professor Caulfield left his role as Chief Scientist at Genomics England at the end of July to take up the position of Chief Executive at Barts Life Sciences. Professor Caulfield was key to Genomics England’s journey as they delivered the world-leading 100,000 Genomes Project.

Professor Brown is currently a Professor of Medicine at Kings College London, as well as the Director of the NIHR Biomedical Research Centre at Guy’s and St Thomas’. Not only does Professor Brown have a genomics background, but he has also previously been the Director of Genomics and a Distinguished Professor at the Queensland University of Technology. During his time here, Brown was involved in engagement with indigenous communities with a focus on healthcare research and genomics.

Professor Brown commented: “I’m thrilled to be joining this iconic organisation and working with its outstanding staff to deliver on the amazing promise genomics has to improve diagnosis and management of a huge swathe of human diseases.”

Professor Brown first trained as a clinician-scientist and rheumatologist. He has made significant contributions to the development of gene-mapping approaches in human diseases as well as genome-wide association (GWAS) methodology. As a result, Professor Brown has made important discoveries of thousands of genetic variants, with a particular interest in ankylosing spondylitis, rheumatoid arthritis and osteoporosis. Professor Brown has also contributed to our understanding of rare disease genetics. He has identified key genes responsible for monogenic forms of arthritis, ectopic bone development and skeletal dysplasias.

Perhaps most importantly, aligning with one of Genomics England’s key goals, Professor Brown has established and directed one of Australia’s largest cancer personalised medicine genomics services, the Australian Translational Genomics Centre, in Brisbane.

A warm welcome

Professor Brown will take up the appointment in November and will continue Genomics England’s crucial work of maximising the benefits of genomics research and healthcare. 

Genomics England’s CEO Chris Wigley commented: “We’re delighted Professor Matt Brown has accepted this position providing the benefit of his scientific expertise, leadership, and knowledge of the research landscape. Genomics England’s vision is a world in which everyone has access to the benefits of genomics healthcare, and Matt can help us deliver on that vision.”

Jillian Hastings Ward, Chair of the Participant Panel at Genomics England has also welcomed Professor Brown, saying: “Genomes and the people behind them can tell us a lot about disease and wellbeing. We look forward to working with Prof Brown to ensure that the interests of the research participants whose data is held by Genomics England remain at the heart of the research agenda.”

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