The Wellcome Trust centre for Gene Regulation and Expression at the College of Life Sciences hosted Professor Mike Stratton of the Sanger Institute on Monday 17 January 2011.

Mike Stratton is Director of the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, where he is joint head of the Cancer Genome Project, which aims to elucidate the genetic causes of human cancers. He is also Professor of Cancer Genetics at the Institute of Cancer Research.

Professor Stratton presented a seminar entitled “An Overview of the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute” in the Small Lecture Theatre at 1pm on Monday. The lecture was very well attended and received a great deal of positive feedback from senior researchers as well as students and post-docs.

During his visit Professor Stratton met a number of PIs at the College including the host Prof. Angus Lamond, Head of College, Prof. Doreen Cantrell and Director of SCILLS and the MRC-PPU, Prof. Sir Philip Cohen.

Mike Stratton qualified in Medicine at Oxford University and Guys Hospital, trained as a histopathologist at the Hammersmith and Maudsley Hospitals and obtained a PhD in the molecular biology of cancer at the Institute of Cancer Research.

His research interests have been in the genetics of cancer. He led the group that mapped and identified the high-risk breast cancer susceptibility gene, BRCA2. More recently he has found moderate risk breast cancer susceptibility genes such as CHEK2, ATM, BRIP and PALB2 as well as genes for skin, testis, colorectal, thyroid, and childhood cancers.

At the Cancer Genome Project he conducts high throughput, systematic genome wide searches for somatic mutations in human cancer in order to identify new cancer genes, to understand processes of mutagenesis in human cancers and to reveal the role of genome structure in determining abnormalities of cancer genomes. These studies have led to the discovery of activating somatic mutations in the BRAF and ERBB2 genes in melanoma and lung cancer respectively and have described basic patterns of somatic mutation in cancer genomes.