Michael Stratton

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Michael Stratton

Michael Rudolf Stratton

(1957-06-22) 22 June 1957 (age 62)[1]
EducationHaberdashers' Aske's Boys' School
Alma materUniversity of Oxford (BM BCh)
University of London (PhD)[2]
Known for
Judith Breuer (m. 1981)
Awards Louis-Jeantet Prize for Medicine (2013) [4]
Scientific career
InstitutionsWellcome Trust Sanger Institute
Institute of Cancer Research
Guy's Hospital
University of Oxford[1]
ThesisRole of genetic alterations in the genesis of human soft tissue tumours and medulloblastoma (1990)
Doctoral studentsNazneen Rahman[5][6][7][8]
Ludmil Alexandrov[9]

Sir Michael Rudolf Stratton, FRS FMedSci FRCPath (born 22 June 1957) is a British clinical scientist and the third director of the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute. He currently heads the Cancer Genome Project and is a leader of the International Cancer Genome Consortium.[10][11][12][13][14][15][16][17][18][19]


Stratton was educated at the independent Haberdashers' Aske's Boys' School and obtained a Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery degree from the University of Oxford where he was a student of Brasenose College, Oxford. He completed his clinical training at Guy's Hospital before training as a histopathologist at the Hammersmith and Maudsley Hospitals in London.[citation needed] He obtained a PhD while working on Medulloblastomas[2] in the molecular biology of cancer at the Institute of Cancer Research, awarded by the University of London in 1990.[2]

Career and research[edit]

Stratton has held clinical posts at Guy's Hospital, Westminster Hospital, Hammersmith Hospital and the Royal Marsden Hospital.[1] He took up a Faculty appointment and now holds a Professorship at the Institute of Cancer Research. He joined the Sanger Institute in 2000 and was promoted to deputy director in 2007. In May 2010, he was appointed director, succeeding Allan Bradley.[20]

Stratton's research interests[21] are in the area of genetics of cancer. In 1994 he assembled a research group that localised BRCA2,[22][23][24][25][26] a major breast cancer susceptibility gene that repairs chromosomal damage, to chromosome 13.[27] The following year his team identified the gene and, in doing so generated a megabase segment of high-quality human genome sequence.[28][29] His subsequent work has involved the identification of more moderate cancer susceptibility genes such as CHEK2,[30] ATM[31] and PALB2[32] each of which play a role in some breast cancers. He has additionally identified genes implicated in the development of skin, testis, colorectal and thyroid cancers, Wilms tumour and Peutz–Jeghers syndrome.[33]

At the announcement of the completion of the Human Genome Project in 2000, Stratton discussed using genome sequences to revolutionise cancer treatment.[29] He and Andy Futreal had already initiated the Cancer Genome Project at the Sanger Centre, as it was then known, to use genome-wide analysis to find somatic mutations in human cancers.[34] According to fellow cancer researcher Chris Marshall, doing so prior to the completion of the human genome sequence was an "audacious idea."[35] The aims of the project are to identify new cancer genes, to understand how cancers develop and to study how the structure of genomes influence cancer. In 2002 and 2004, Stratton's team discovered mutations in the BRAF[36] and ERBB2[37] genes in approximately 60 per cent of malignant melanomas and 4 per cent of non-small-cell lung cancers respectively.[33]

In 2009, Stratton and colleagues reported the first complete cancer genomes, from a lung tumour and a melanoma.[29][38] They also analysed the genomes from 24 different breast tumours and found a diversity of DNA abnormalities, indicating that cancers can be divided in more subcategories than previously thought.[38][39] Stratton's team maintain the Catalogue of Somatic Mutations in Cancer (COSMIC) database, a set of online resources available to the scientific community.[40] He is also one of the lead researchers in the International Cancer Genome Project, a £600 million, multi-national project to sequence 25 000 cancer genomes, from 50 different types of cancer.[33] Stratton's research has been funded by the Wellcome Trust and the Medical Research Council (MRC).[41]

In August 2018 it was reported that an investigation was under way into allegations of bullying of staff and gender discrimination made against senior management of the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, including Stratton[42]. The independent investigation, carried out by the barrister Thomas Kibling from Matrix Chambers, concluded in October 2018 and cleared Stratton of any wrongdoing.[citation needed] The public report stated that the allegation of bullying was "misplaced, unwarranted and misconceived", while also listing areas for improvement in the workings of the Sanger Institute[43][44]. Some of the claimants disputed these findings.[45]

Awards and honours[edit]

Stratton was elected a Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences (FMedSci) in 1999, elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 2008, elected to EMBO Membership in 2009[3] and was awarded the Lila Gruber Cancer Research Award in 2010. He was knighted in the 2013 Birthday Honours for services to medical science.[46][47] His nomination for the Royal Society reads:


  1. ^ a b c d Anon (2015). "Stratton, Prof. Michael Rudolf". Who's Who. ukwhoswho.com (online Oxford University Press ed.). A & C Black, an imprint of Bloomsbury Publishing plc. doi:10.1093/ww/9780199540884.013.U36509. (subscription or UK public library membership required) (subscription required)
  2. ^ a b c Stratton, Michael Rudolf (1990). Role of genetic alterations in the genesis of human soft tissue tumours and medulloblastoma. london.ac.uk (PhD thesis). University of London. OCLC 940324613.
  3. ^ a b "EMBO welcomes 66 leading life scientists as members". biochemist.org. Archived from the original on 17 August 2014.
  4. ^ Louis-Jeantet Prize
  5. ^ Rahman, Nazneen (1999). Localisation and characterisation of the familial tumour gene, FWT1 (PhD thesis). University of London. EThOS uk.bl.ethos.314056.
  6. ^ "Royal Marsden: Professor Nazneen Rahman". Archived from the original on 2 February 2015.
  7. ^ Rahman, N; Arbour, L; Tonin, P; Renshaw, J; Pelletier, J; Baruchel, S; Pritchard-Jones, K; Stratton, M. R.; Narod, S. A. (1996). "Evidence for a familial Wilms' tumour gene (FWT1) on chromosome 17q12-q21". Nature Genetics. 13 (4): 461–3. doi:10.1038/ng0896-461. PMID 8696342.
  8. ^ Rahman, N; Abidi, F; Ford, D; Arbour, L; Rapley, E; Tonin, P; Barton, D; Batcup, G; Berry, J; Cotter, F; Davison, V; Gerrard, M; Gray, E; Grundy, R; Hanafy, M; King, D; Lewis, I; Ridolfi Luethy, A; Madlensky, L; Mann, J; O'Meara, A; Oakhill, T; Skolnick, M; Strong, L; Stratton, M. R. (1998). "Confirmation of FWT1 as a Wilms' tumour susceptibility gene and phenotypic characteristics of Wilms' tumour attributable to FWT1". Human Genetics. 103 (5): 547–56. doi:10.1007/pl00008708. PMID 9860296.
  9. ^ Alexandrov, Ludmil (2014). Signatures of mutational processes in human cancer (PDF). sanger.ac.uk (PhD thesis). University of Cambridge. OCLC 1064595163. EThOS uk.bl.ethos.708130.
  10. ^ Michael Stratton's publications indexed by the Scopus bibliographic database. (subscription required)
  11. ^ Michael Stratton's publications in Google Scholar
  12. ^ International Cancer Genome Consortium; Hudson, T. J.; Anderson, W; Artez, A; Barker, A. D.; Bell, C; Bernabé, R. R.; Bhan, M. K.; Calvo, F; Eerola, I; Gerhard, D. S.; Guttmacher, A; Guyer, M; Hemsley, F. M.; Jennings, J. L.; Kerr, D; Klatt, P; Kolar, P; Kusada, J; Lane, D. P.; Laplace, F; Youyong, L; Nettekoven, G; Ozenberger, B; Peterson, J; Rao, T. S.; Remacle, J; Schafer, A. J.; Shibata, T; et al. (2010). "International network of cancer genome projects". Nature. 464 (7291): 993–8. doi:10.1038/nature08987. PMC 2902243. PMID 20393554.
  13. ^ Mattison, J; Kool, J; Uren, A. G.; De Ridder, J; Wessels, L; Jonkers, J; Bignell, G. R.; Butler, A; Rust, A. G.; Brosch, M; Wilson, C. H.; Van Der Weyden, L; Largaespada, D. A.; Stratton, M. R.; Futreal, P. A.; Van Lohuizen, M; Berns, A; Collier, L. S.; Hubbard, T; Adams, D. J. (2010). "Novel candidate cancer genes identified by a large-scale cross-species comparative oncogenomics approach". Cancer Research. 70 (3): 883–95. doi:10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-09-1737. PMC 2880710. PMID 20103622.
  14. ^ Futreal, P. A.; Coin, L; Marshall, M; Down, T; Hubbard, T; Wooster, R; Rahman, N; Stratton, M. R. (2004). "A census of human cancer genes". Nature Reviews Cancer. 4 (3): 177–83. doi:10.1038/nrc1299. PMC 2665285. PMID 14993899.
  15. ^ Rapley, E. A.; Crockford, G. P.; Teare, D; Biggs, P; Seal, S; Barfoot, R; Edwards, S; Hamoudi, R; Heimdal, K; Fossâ, S. D.; Tucker, K; Donald, J; Collins, F; Friedlander, M; Hogg, D; Goss, P; Heidenreich, A; Ormiston, W; Daly, P. A.; Forman, D; Oliver, T. D.; Leahy, M; Huddart, R; Cooper, C. S.; Bodmer, J. G.; Easton, D. F.; Stratton, M. R.; Bishop, D. T. (2000). "Localization to Xq27 of a susceptibility gene for testicular germ-cell tumours". Nature Genetics. 24 (2): 197–200. doi:10.1038/72877. PMID 10655070.
  16. ^ Hemminki, A.; Markie, D.; Tomlinson, I.; Avizienyte, E.; Roth, S.; Loukola, A.; Bignell, G.; Warren, W.; Aminoff, M.; Höglund, P.; Järvinen, H.; Kristo, P.; Pelin, K.; Ridanpää, M.; Salovaara, R.; Toro, T.; Bodmer, W.; Olschwang, S.; Olsen, A. S.; Stratton, M. R.; de la Chapelle, A.; Aaltonen, L. A. (1998). "A serine/threonine kinase gene defective in Peutz-Jeghers syndrome". Nature. 391 (6663): 184–7. doi:10.1038/34432. PMID 9428765.
  17. ^ Patterns of mutation in human cancer genomes – video of a seminar given by Stratton at the Royal Society.
  18. ^ Every human 'could get their own genome sequence' – Interview with Stratton on BBC's the Today Programme
  19. ^ "Feature: Professor Mike Stratton – how I got into cancer genetics 'Wellcome News' issue 66". 2011. Archived from the original on 20 March 2012.
  20. ^ "Professor Mike Stratton appointed new Director". Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute. Archived from the original on 2 February 2013.
  21. ^ List of publications from Microsoft Academic
  22. ^ Roth, S; Kristo, P; Auranen, A; Shayehgi, M; Seal, S; Collins, N; Barfoot, R; Rahman, N; Klemi, P. J.; Grénman, S; Sarantaus, L; Nevanlinna, H; Butzow, R; Ashworth, A; Stratton, M. R.; Aaltonen, L. A. (1998). "A missense mutation in the BRCA2 gene in three siblings with ovarian cancer". British Journal of Cancer. 77 (8): 1199–202. doi:10.1038/bjc.1998.202. PMC 2150153. PMID 9579822.
  23. ^ Connor, F; Smith, A; Wooster, R; Stratton, M; Dixon, A; Campbell, E; Tait, T. M.; Freeman, T; Ashworth, A (1997). "Cloning, chromosomal mapping and expression pattern of the mouse Brca2 gene". Human Molecular Genetics. 6 (2): 291–300. doi:10.1093/hmg/6.2.291. PMID 9063750.
  24. ^ Bignell, G; Micklem, G; Stratton, M. R.; Ashworth, A; Wooster, R (1997). "The BRC repeats are conserved in mammalian BRCA2 proteins". Human Molecular Genetics. 6 (1): 53–8. doi:10.1093/hmg/6.1.53. PMID 9002670.
  25. ^ Lancaster, J. M.; Wooster, R; Mangion, J; Phelan, C. M.; Cochran, C; Gumbs, C; Seal, S; Barfoot, R; Collins, N; Bignell, G; Patel, S; Hamoudi, R; Larsson, C; Wiseman, R. W.; Berchuck, A; Iglehart, J. D.; Marks, J. R.; Ashworth, A; Stratton, M. R.; Futreal, P. A. (1996). "BRCA2 mutations in primary breast and ovarian cancers". Nature Genetics. 13 (2): 238–40. doi:10.1038/ng0696-238. PMID 8640235.
  26. ^ Hutchinson, E. (2001). "Richard Wooster on cancer and the Human Genome Project". The Lancet Oncology. 2 (3): 176–8. doi:10.1016/S1470-2045(00)00261-8. PMID 11902570.
  27. ^ Wooster, R.; Neuhausen, S.; Mangion, J.; Quirk, Y.; Ford, D.; Collins, N.; Nguyen, K.; Seal, S.; Tran, T.; Averill, D.; Et, A. (1994). "Localization of a breast cancer susceptibility gene, BRCA2, to chromosome 13q12-13". Science. 265 (5181): 2088–2090. doi:10.1126/science.8091231. PMID 8091231.
  28. ^ Wooster, R.; Bignell, G.; Lancaster, J.; Swift, S.; Seal, S.; Mangion, J.; Collins, N.; Gregory, S.; Gumbs, C.; Micklem, G.; Barfoot, R.; Hamoudi, R.; Patel, S.; Rices, C.; Biggs, P.; Hashim, Y.; Smith, A.; Connor, F.; Arason, A.; Gudmundsson, J.; Ficenec, D.; Kelsell, D.; Tonin, P.; Timothy Bishop, D.; Spurr, N. K.; Ponder, B. A. J.; Eeles, R.; Peto, J.; Devilee, P.; Cornelisse, C. (1995). "Identification of the breast cancer susceptibility gene BRCA2". Nature. 378 (6559): 789–792. doi:10.1038/378789a0. PMID 8524414.
  29. ^ a b c Chrissie Giles (24 June 2010). "Great expectations: human genome research". Wellcome News. Wellcome Trust. Retrieved 24 June 2010.
  30. ^ Meijers-Heijboer, H; Van Den Ouweland, A; Klijn, J; Wasielewski, M; De Snoo, A; Oldenburg, R; Hollestelle, A; Houben, M; Crepin, E; Van Veghel-Plandsoen, M; Elstrodt, F; Van Duijn, C; Bartels, C; Meijers, C; Schutte, M; McGuffog, L; Thompson, D; Easton, D; Sodha, N; Seal, S; Barfoot, R; Mangion, J; Chang-Claude, J; Eccles, D; Eeles, R; Evans, D. G.; Houlston, R; Murday, V; Narod, S; et al. (2002). "Low-penetrance susceptibility to breast cancer due to CHEK2(*)1100delC in noncarriers of BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutations". Nature Genetics. 31 (1): 55–9. doi:10.1038/ng879. PMID 11967536.
  31. ^ Renwick A, Thompson D, Seal S, et al. (August 2006). "ATM mutations that cause ataxia-telangiectasia are breast cancer susceptibility alleles". Nat. Genet. 38 (8): 873–5. doi:10.1038/ng1837. PMID 16832357.
  32. ^ Rahman, N; Seal, S; Thompson, D; Kelly, P; Renwick, A; Elliott, A; Reid, S; Spanova, K; Barfoot, R; Chagtai, T; Jayatilake, H; McGuffog, L; Hanks, S; Evans, D. G.; Eccles, D; Breast Cancer Susceptibility Collaboration (UK); Easton, D. F.; Stratton, M. R. (2007). "PALB2, which encodes a BRCA2-interacting protein, is a breast cancer susceptibility gene". Nature Genetics. 39 (2): 165–7. doi:10.1038/ng1959. PMC 2871593. PMID 17200668.
  33. ^ a b c "Mike Stratton". Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute Website. Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute. Retrieved 24 June 2010.
  34. ^ Burton, P. R.; Clayton, D. G.; Cardon, L. R.; Craddock, N.; Deloukas, P.; Duncanson, A.; Kwiatkowski, D. P.; McCarthy, M. I.; Ouwehand, W. H.; Samani, N. J.; Todd, J. A.; Donnelly, P.; Barrett, J. C.; Burton, P. R.; Davison, D.; Donnelly, P.; Easton, D.; Evans, D.; Leung, H. T.; Marchini, J. L.; Morris, A. P.; Spencer, C. C. A.; Tobin, M. D.; Cardon, L. R.; Clayton, D. G.; Attwood, A. P.; Boorman, J. P.; Cant, B.; Everson, U.; Hussey, J. M. (2007). "Genome-wide association study of 14,000 cases of seven common diseases and 3,000 shared controls". Nature. 447 (7145): 661–678. doi:10.1038/nature05911. PMC 2719288. PMID 17554300.
  35. ^ Karen Hopkin (1 June 2009). "On the MAP". The Scientist. Retrieved 24 June 2010.
  36. ^ Davies, H.; Bignell, G. R.; Cox, C.; Stephens, P.; Edkins, S.; Clegg, S.; Teague, J.; Woffendin, H.; Garnett, M. J.; Bottomley, W.; Davis, N.; Dicks, E.; Ewing, R.; Floyd, Y.; Gray, K.; Hall, S.; Hawes, R.; Hughes, J.; Kosmidou, V.; Menzies, A.; Mould, C.; Parker, A.; Stevens, C.; Watt, S.; Hooper, S.; Wilson, R.; Jayatilake, H.; Gusterson, B. A.; Cooper, C.; Shipley, J. (2002). "Mutations of the BRAF gene in human cancer" (PDF). Nature. 417 (6892): 949–954. doi:10.1038/nature00766. PMID 12068308.
  37. ^ Stephens P, Hunter C, Bignell G, et al. (September 2004). "Lung cancer: intragenic ERBB2 kinase mutations in tumours". Nature. 431 (7008): 525–6. doi:10.1038/431525b. PMID 15457249.
  38. ^ a b Mark Henderson (24 December 2009). "Breast cancer is not a single disease, scientists discover". The Times. Retrieved 24 June 2010.
  39. ^ Stephens PJ, McBride DJ, Lin ML, et al. (December 2009). "Complex landscapes of somatic rearrangement in human breast cancer genomes". Nature. 462 (7276): 1005–10. doi:10.1038/nature08645. PMC 3398135. PMID 20033038.
  40. ^ Forbes SA, Tang G, Bindal N, et al. (January 2010). "COSMIC (the Catalogue of Somatic Mutations in Cancer): a resource to investigate acquired mutations in human cancer". Nucleic Acids Res. 38 (Database issue): D652–7. doi:10.1093/nar/gkp995. PMC 2808858. PMID 19906727.
  41. ^ "UK Government research grants awarded to Michael Stratton". Research Councils UK. Archived from the original on 15 April 2015.
  42. ^ Marsh, Sarah; Devlin, Hannah (29 August 2018). "Bosses at leading UK science institute accused of bullying staff". the Guardian. Retrieved 29 August 2018.
  43. ^ "Result of independent investigation into whistleblowing allegations released". Sanger Institute. 31 October 2018. Retrieved 31 October 2018.
  44. ^ Thomas Kibling (31 October 2018). "Thomas Kibling's Investigatory Report" (PDF). Sanger Institute. Retrieved 31 October 2018.
  45. ^ "Sanger whistle-blowers dispute findings that cleared management of bullying".
  46. ^ "No. 60534". The London Gazette (Supplement). 15 June 2013. p. 2.
  47. ^ Michael Stratton, cancer gene scientist, knighted, BBC News, 14 June, 3013
  48. ^ "EC/2008/40: Stratton, Michael Rudolf". London: The Royal Society. Archived from the original on 20 January 2014.
Non-profit organization positions
Preceded by
Allan Bradley
Director of the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute