|Sir John Sulston|
|Born||John Edward Sulston
27 March 1942 
|Institutions||Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute
University of Cambridge
Laboratory of Molecular Biology
University of Manchester
|Alma mater||Pembroke College, Cambridge|
|Thesis||Aspects of oligoribonucleotide synthesis (1967)|
|Doctoral advisor||Colin Reese|
|Other academic advisors||Sidney Brenner|
|Known for||Genome sequencing of Caenorhabditis elegans and humans
|Notable awards||Nobel prize in Physiology or Medicine (2002)
Gairdner Award (2002)
Knight Bachelor (2001)
Fellow of the Royal Society (1986)
George W. Beadle Award (2000)
|Spouse||Daphne Edith Bate|
The University of Manchester
Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute
Sir John Edward Sulston FRS (born 27 March 1942) is a British biologist. For his work on the cell lineage and genome of the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans, he was jointly awarded the 2002 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine with Sydney Brenner and H. Robert Horvitz. As of 2014[update] he is Chair of the Institute for Science, Ethics and Innovation at the University of Manchester.
John Sulston was educated at York House School, Redheath, Merchant Taylors' School, Northwood and Pembroke College, Cambridge, graduating with BS in organic chemistry. He earned his doctorate from the University of Cambridge. Inspired by Leslie Orgel, Francis Crick and Sidney Brenner while working at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies in US, he changed his research into biology. His works on the genome of C. elegans led to his active participation in the Human Genome Project. He, with Georgina Ferry, narrates his research career leading to the human genome sequence in The Common Thread: A Story of Science, Politics, Ethics, and the Human Genome (2002).
Early life and education
John Sulston was born in Cambridge to parents Theodore Sulston and Muriel Sulston. His father was an Anglican priest and administrator of the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel. An English teacher at Watford Grammar School, his mother quit her job to care for him and his sister Madeleine. His mother home-tutored them until he was five. At age five he entered the local preparatory school where he soon developed aversion to games. He instead developed an early interest in science, having fun with dissecting animals and sectioning plants to observe their structure and function. He won scholarship to Merchant Taylors' School, Northwood and then to Pembroke College, Cambridge graduating in 1963 with BSc degree in organic chemistry. He joined the department of chemistry in University of Cambridge, earning his PhD degree in 1966 for research in nucleotide chemistry. Between 1966 and 1969 he worked as a postdoctoral researcher at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies in US. His supervisor Colin Reese had arranged for him to work with Leslie Orgel, who would turn his scientific career in a different pathway. Orgel introduced him to Francis Crick and Sidney Brenner, who were themselves from Cambridge. He became inclined to biological research.
Although Orgel wanted Sulston to remain with him, Sidney Brenner persuaded Sulston returned to Cambridge to work on the neurobiology of Caenorhabditis elegans at the Medical Research Council Laboratory of Molecular Biology. Sulston soon produced the complete map of the worm's neurons. He continued to work for its DNA and subsequently the whole genome sequencing. In collaboration with the Genome Institute at Washington University the whole genome sequence was published in 1998, so that C. elegans became the first animal to have its complete genome sequenced.
Sulston played a central role in both the C. elegans 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 and the Robert Burns Humanitarian Award. 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 MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology (LMB), for their discoveries concerning 'genetic regulation of organ development and programmed cell death'. 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.
John Sulston met Daphne Bate, a fellow research student in Cambridge. They got married in 1966 just before they left for US for postdoctoral research. Together they have three children. The first child Ingrid was born in La Jolla in 1967, Adrian and Madeleine later in England.
Although brought up in a Christian family, Sulston lost his faith during his student life at Cambridge, and remains an atheist. He is a distinguished supporter of the British Humanist Association. In 2003 he was one of 22 Nobel Laureates who signed the Humanist Manifesto.
Sulston is in favour of free public access of scientific information. He wants genome information freely available, and he has described as "totally immoral and disgusting" the idea of profiteering from such research. He also wants to change patent law, and argues that restrictions on drugs such as the anti-viral drug Tamiflu by Roche are a hindrance to patients whose lives are dependent on them.
Awards and honours
In 2001 Sulston was invited to deliver the Royal Institution Christmas Lecture on The Secrets of Life.
He also provided bail sureties for Julian Assange, according to Mark Stephens, Julian's solicitor. Having backed Julian Assange by pledging bail in December 2010, he lost the money in June 2012 when a judge ordered it to be forfeited, as Assange had sought to escape the jurisdiction of the English courts by entering the embassy of Ecuador.
- "SULSTON, Sir John (Edward)". Who's Who 2013, A & C Black, an imprint of Bloomsbury Publishing plc, 2013; online edn, Oxford University Press, Dec 2012.(subscription required)
- Wilson, R.; Ainscough, R.; Anderson, K.; Baynes, C.; Berks, M.; Bonfield, J.; Burton, J.; Connell, M.; Copsey, T.; Cooper, J.; Coulson, A.; Craxton, M.; Dear, S.; Du, Z.; Durbin, R.; Favello, A.; Fraser, A.; Fulton, L.; Gardner, A.; Green, P.; Hawkins, T.; Hillier, L.; Jier, M.; Johnston, L.; Jones, M.; Kershaw, J.; Kirsten, J.; Laisster, N.; Latreille, P.; Lightning, J. (1994). "2.2 Mb of contiguous nucleotide sequence from chromosome III of C. Elegans". Nature 368 (6466): 32–38. doi:10.1038/368032a0. PMID 7906398.
- Sulston, J.; Brenner, S. (1974). "The DNA of Caenorhabditis elegans". Genetics 77 (1): 95–104. PMC 1213121. PMID 4858229.
- Sulston, J. E.; Schierenberg, E.; White, J. G.; Thomson, J. N. (1983). "The embryonic cell lineage of the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans". Developmental Biology 100 (1): 64–119. doi:10.1016/0012-1606(83)90201-4. PMID 6684600.
- Sulston, J. E.; Horvitz, H. R. (1977). "Post-embryonic cell lineages of the nematode, Caenorhabditis elegans". Developmental Biology 56 (1): 110–156. doi:10.1016/0012-1606(77)90158-0. PMID 838129.
- Sulston, J.; Mallett, F.; Staden, R.; Durbin, R.; Horsnell, T.; Coulson, A. (1988). "Software for genome mapping by fingerprinting techniques". Computer applications in the biosciences : CABIOS 4 (1): 125–132. doi:10.1093/bioinformatics/4.1.125. PMID 2838135.
- Kimble, J. (2001). "The 2000 George W. Beadle Medal. John Sulston and Robert Waterston". Genetics 157 (2): 467–468. PMC 1461515. PMID 11370623.
- "Professor Sir John Sulston - personal details". The University of Manchester. Retrieved 6 November 2014.
- Gitschier, J. (2006). "Knight in Common Armor: An Interview with Sir John Sulston". PLoS Genetics 2 (12): e225. doi:10.1371/journal.pgen.0020225. PMC 1756915. PMID 17196043.
- Sulston, J. (2002). "A conversation with John Sulston". The Yale journal of biology and medicine 75 (5–6): 299–306. PMC 2588810. PMID 14580111.
- List of publications from Microsoft Academic Search
- Portraits of John Sulston at the National Portrait Gallery, London
- John Sulston's publications indexed by the Scopus bibliographic database, a service provided by Elsevier.
- Sulston,, John; Ferry, Georgina (2002). The Common Thread a Story of Science, Politics, Ethics, and the Human Genome (1 ed.). Washington, DC: Joseph Henry Press. ISBN 978-0-309-08409-3.
- "John Sulston Biography". IMDB.com, Inc. Retrieved 21 April 2014.
- "John Sulston". DNA Learning Centre. Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory. Retrieved 21 April 2014.
- "John E. Sulston". Encyclopædia Britannica. Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc. Retrieved 21 April 2014.
- "John E. Sulston". NNDB. Soylent Communications. Retrieved 21 April 2014.
- "John Sulston Biography Nobel Prize in Medicine". American Academy of Achievement. Retrieved 21 April 2014.
- "John E. Sulston - Biographical". Nobelprize.org. Nobel Media AB. Retrieved 21 April 2014.
- Sulston, John (1967). Aspects of oligoribonucleotide synthesis (PhD thesis). University of Cambridge.(subscription required)
- Sulston, J.E.; Horvitz, H.R. (1977). "Post-embryonic cell lineages of the nematode, Caenorhabditis elegans". Developmental Biology 56 (1): 110–156. doi:10.1016/0012-1606(77)90158-0. PMID 838129.
- The C. elegans Sequencing Consortium (1998). "Genome Sequence of the Nematode C. elegans: A Platform for Investigating Biology". Science 282 (5396): 2012–2018. doi:10.1126/science.282.5396.2012. PMID 9851916.
- "Caenorhabditis genome sequencing". Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute. Retrieved 22 April 2014.
- Lander, E. S.; Linton, M.; Birren, B.; Nusbaum, C.; Zody, C.; Baldwin, J.; Devon, K.; Dewar, K.; Doyle, M.; Fitzhugh, W.; Funke, R.; Gage, D.; Harris, K.; Heaford, A.; Howland, J.; Kann, L.; Lehoczky, J.; Levine, R.; McEwan, P.; McKernan, K.; Meldrim, J.; Mesirov, J. P.; Miranda, C.; Morris, W.; Naylor, J.; Raymond, C.; Rosetti, M.; Santos, R.; Sheridan, A. et al. (Feb 2001). "Initial sequencing and analysis of the human genome". Nature 409 (6822): 860–921. doi:10.1038/35057062. ISSN 0028-0836. PMID 11237011.
- "Distinguished Supporters". British Humanist Association. Retrieved 4 October 2012.
- "Notable Signers". Humanism and Its Aspirations. American Humanist Association. Retrieved 4 October 2012.
- "Wikileaks' Julian Assange tells of 'smear campaign'". BBC. 17 December 2010. Retrieved 21 April 2014.
- Allen, Emily (4 September 2012). "Julian Assange's celebrity backers set to lose $540,000 bail money as he remains holed up in Ecuador Embassy". Daily Mail. Retrieved 21 April 2014.
- "Rutherford Memorial Lecturer". Royal Society of New Zealand. Retrieved 11 September 2013.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to John E. Sulston.|
- John Sulston biography from the Wellcome Trust
- John Sulston: Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine 2002
- John Sulston profile from Channel4
- John Sulston profile from BBC4
- Freeview Video of Fredrick Sanger in conversation with John Sulston by the Vega Science Trust
- John Sulston profile from the Medical Research Council lab for Molecular Biology
- John Sulston interviewed by Alan Macfarlane 16 September 2008 (film)
- Dan David Prize laureate 2002
News and Press about John Sulston
- Sir John Sulston awarded the 2002 Nobel Prize (press release from the Sanger Centre)
- The public servant: John Sulston
- British Scientists share 2002 Nobel Prize
- John Sulston: One man and his worm from The Guardian
|Non-profit organization positions|
|Director of the Sanger Institute