David Bentley on Alternative Career Paths
  David Bentley     Biography    
Recorded: 14 Apr 2004

I suspect if I wasn’t a scientist I would have wanted to go into medicine. It’s perhaps a fairly natural choice seeing as within the human genome one almost starts to bridge the two fields. But certainly I think it’s tremendous to be able to perhaps care or improve an affliction or illness. Or even if not to directly cure an affliction, to understand it or else to perhaps try to understand or share the burden of coping with it. And I think that that is an important aspect. It’s an important aspect of medicine. It’s also an important aspect of any area of life.

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.