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A new Director for the CIMR

last modified Apr 24, 2019 01:37 PM
A new Director for the CIMR

Prof Julian Rayner

We are delighted to announce that Julian Rayner will become the fourth Director of Cambridge Institute of Medical Research and Professor of Cell Biology, from 1st May 2019.  Julian is currently a Senior Group Leader at the Wellcome Sanger Institute and his research focuses on the interactions between Plasmodium parasites and human red blood cells, in order to identify new malaria drug and vaccine targets.

 After undergraduate education in New Zealand and a PhD at the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology in Cambridge, he began working on malaria cell biology as a postdoctoral fellow at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, followed by his first faculty position at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. Since 2008 he has been a Group Leader at the Wellcome Sanger Institute, during which time he and collaborators have identified an essential red blood cell invasion ligand that is now in early stage human vaccine testing, traced the origins of human malaria parasites in African apes, and carried out the first ever genome-scale experimental genetic screens in Plasmodium parasites. During his time at the Sanger Institute, Julian was Director of Graduate Studies, and was then appointed Director of Wellcome Genome Campus Connecting Science, a multidisciplinary training and engagement programme which aims to enable everyone to explore genomics and its impact on research, health and society. He is strongly committed to public engagement, which he sees as an essential part of research, and will maintain his role with Connecting Science while at the CIMR, helping to forge even stronger links between the University of Cambridge and the Wellcome Genome Campus.

Of his appointment, Julian Rayner has said, “I’m honoured and excited to take over the leadership of CIMR. The Institute has played a very significant role in the Cambridge research landscape over the past twenty years, and its list of current and past group leaders includes some of the most impactful names in UK cell biology research. I’m privileged to follow in the footsteps of Professors Gillian Griffiths and Paul Luzio, and there is particular resonance in bringing parasite cell biology back to CIMR, echoing our first Director, Professor Jenny Blackwell. I look forward to working with the amazing staff to help shape the next stages in CIMR history, and building an even more diverse, inclusive, engaged and scientifically outstanding research institute.”

Patrick Maxwell, Regius Professor of Physic and Head of the School of Clinical Medicine, said “I am absolutely delighted to welcome Julian Rayner as Director of CIMR.  The Institute includes an impressive array of world-class investigators, and has been a key driver of research programs across the whole of the School.  Julian is just the right person to build on the impressive track record and exploit the extraordinary opportunities at the intersection of human disease, genomics and cell biology.”