Frederick Sanger: 1918–2013
News / Published: 20 November 2013
Fred Sanger, the double Nobel Laureate who devised the method for DNA sequencing used in the Human Genome Project and after whom the Wellcome Trust Sanger Centre is named, has died at the age of 95.
Jeremy Farrar, Director of the Wellcome Trust, said: "I am deeply saddened to learn of the death of Fred Sanger, one of the greatest scientists of any generation and the only Briton to have been honoured with two Nobel Prizes. Fred can fairly be called the father of the genomic era: his work laid the foundations of humanity's ability to read and understand the genetic code, which has revolutionised biology and is today contributing to transformative improvements in healthcare.
"We are honoured that the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, which has done so much to develop our understanding of the genome and apply it to medicine, bears his name, and that the Wellcome Library holds his papers for posterity."
Professor Sir Mike Stratton, Director of the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, said: "Fred was an inspiration to many, for his brilliant work, for his quiet determination and for his modesty. He was an outstanding investigator, with a dogged determination to solve questions that have led to transformations in how we perceive our world.
"He combined this with a drive to interest young people in science. He refused most invitations for interviews, but often helped schools and students.
"He won two Nobel Prizes, one of only four people to do so. His work for his second Prize, a method to decode DNA, has transformed our understanding of life on earth and is the foundation of developments in healthcare from understanding inherited disease to developing new cancer treatment.
"It was an honour for this Institute when Fred acceded to founding Director John Sulston's request that we be named after him. Fred's only stipulation was that 'It had better be good.'
"That typically Fred response is our inspiration and will continue to be so."