Michael Stratton is a cancer geneticist leading research to understand the DNA changes that cause cancer in order to improve its prevention, diagnosis and treatment. His most famous discovery was identification of the BRCA2 breast cancer gene, which is now used in predictive tests in women with a family history of the disease.
Most cancer-causing genetic mutations arise spontaneously in human cells during our lives, while some people also have cancer-driving mutations in their genome, inherited from one or both parents. Michael has discovered several inherited mutations and in 2000 set up the Cancer Genome Project at the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute to comprehensively catalogue the spontaneous ‘somatic’ mutations that cause human cancer.
Through the Cancer Genome Project, important somatic mutations have been discovered for malignant melanoma, breast, lung, renal, bone and other cancers. Michael became Director of the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute in 2010 and was knighted in 2013 for services to medical science.