Our new Chief Scientific Officer gets to work
With Christmas upon us, we’re delighted to announce that Professor Matt Brown – our new Chief Scientific Officer – has taken up his position and is hard at work.
Matt is an internationally renowned clinician-scientist and was previously Director of the Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust NIHR Biomedical Research Centre, and Professor of Medicine at King’s College London, which he remains.
He has an extensive background in genomics, with a particular interest in ankylosing spondylitis, rheumatoid arthritis and osteoporosis, as well as rare genetic musculoskeletal diseases, and cancer genomics. As a champion of diversity and inclusion, his work has involved sensitive engagement with indigenous communities on healthcare research and genomics.
Featured on this week’s ‘The G Word’ podcast, his colourful back story includes how his father’s career as a paediatrician in Sydney – with a specialisation in cystic fibrosis – sparked his interest in genomics. In the podcast, Matt admits he helped his busy father out by impersonating him during a (remote) genomics education program by the Royal Australian College of Physicians.
“They found there was somebody there who was quite clearly not an adult physician who was doing the course,” Matt recalls. “But they put up with the fact that for six months they had all of this correspondence, backwards and forward from me, pretending to be my dad doing this course.”
Matt describes his new role at Genomics England as “a dream come true”.
“The ability to actually influence genomic medicine services and near-patient genomic research globally is very attractive and it’s the biggest impact I can make on human health” he says.
“Genomics has matured enough – both in terms of capabilities and our understanding of disease – so we find we’re at a point where it should be widely implemented in clinical practice across rare diseases, across common heritable diseases and across cancers to improve patient diagnosis and patient management.”
“Genomics England is unique in being able to carry that forward. It’s got the right combination of the right environment within the health care system. We’ve got high-level political support and a joined-up group of clinicians and scientists who are all heading in the same direction.”