Nobel Laureate John Sulston, one of the leading figures in deciphering the human genome, died at the age of 75, the institute announced on Friday.
Mike Stratton, the director of the Wellcome Sanger Institute, described the professor who died Tuesday as a “great man of science, a visionary leader.”
John Sulston was awarded the 2002 Nobel Prize for Medicine, together with his British colleagues Sydney Brenner and American Robert Horvitz, for their “major discoveries on the genetic regulation of organ development and programmed cell death.”
Their discoveries have been a vital contribution in studies aimed at understanding cancer.
But Sulston was perhaps best known for Britain’s key role in an international project to map the human genome and his pressure for this data to be in the public domain.
Sulston founded the Sanger Center, near Cambridge, in 1992 and directed it until 2000. The center is now one of the largest in the world devoted to human genome research.