David Bentley on Francis Collins
  David Bentley     Biography    
Recorded: 14 May 2004

I interact quite closely with Francis Collins now. I did to some extent during the genome. Clearly during the human genome, Francis is again another leader. Again another leader. There was never one leader in this project, but Francis is one of those people who led from a rather different point of view. He wasn’t a leader of a genome center. He wasn’t a leader from the terms of generating data, which made him in one sense a more neutral person and certainly the human genome benefited from enormously from that style of coordination. Coordination of the individual leaders from different countries. And since then clearly those skills have really developed very strongly. And the same coordinating role, perhaps, a rather stronger leadership has become part of many other projects.

I think Francis—like others, Francis in particular is in a position to try to continue the spirit of cooperation across international boundaries. I think it’s more difficult to achieve now. It does always require a number of individuals to make it work. But clearly one should not be put off from trying and Francis tries on many projects to draw people in both nationally and internationally. And I think it’s important that people should do that. Few people are trying to do that.

David Bentley, molecular biologist and geneticist, is currently Vice President and Chief Scientist of DNA Sequencing at Illumina, Inc., a commercial developer of genetic analysis tools and systems.

Educated at the University of Cambridge (M.A. in biochemistry) and the University of Oxford (Ph. D.), Dr. Bentley was a postdoctoral fellow, lecturer, and senior lecturer at Guy's and St. Thomas's Hospital in London from 1991 to 1993 where he studied mutations that cause genetic diseases, and a Senior Lecturer in the Division of Medical & Molecular Genetics at the University of London.

In 1993 he was brought to Sanger Centre (now known as Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute) as a founding member and head of human genetics by his mentor, John Sulston. Dr. Bentley led Sanger in their major contributions to the Human Genome Project, The Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms (SNP) Consortium, and the International Haplotype Mapping (HapMap) Project. Dr. Bentley left Wellcome in 1985 to join commercial sequencer, Solexa, Inc., as Chief Scientist where he was responsible for the Company’s DNA sequencing applications development and projects. Solexa was acquired by Illumina in 2007.