David Bentley on Surprises in the HGP: Scaling Up
  David Bentley     Biography    
Recorded: 14 May 2004

Certainly, it was clearly surprising how fast the field moved. Once it got over the initial agony as to how to do it and who was going to do it and what structures were required. It was never slow enough to be truly frustrating. I think perhaps when you’re in the thick of it, in the middle of the period of the human genome project, just as things scaled up—time and time again they scaled up. The rules changed very rapidly. What formed, I think, were incredibly strong alliances, strong teams and the demand on all aspects, not just our professional scientific abilities, but suddenly having to learn to build teams, or to organize teams or to look at data in totally new ways, and to draw deep on the commitment and the personal qualities. Everything got poured into it in one way or another to really make it work. It was exciting to be in [that] position and the demands were at times very great. And that was surprising.

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.