Cambridge genomics pioneers celebrate 20 years of making science work for health

20 September 2017

Tuesday 19 September saw PHG Foundation celebrate 20 years as pioneers for the use of genomics to improve health in the UK. The celebration took place at a gala dinner, held at Trinity College and attended by colleagues and friends of PHG Foundation Chair and founder, Dr Ron Zimmern. 

An associate member of Cambridge University Health Partners, the charity was originally established by Dr Ron Zimmern in 1997 as the founding centre for public health genomics in the UK, work that grew to include wider medical applications of genomics and other technologies. Cambridge's global strength as a centre for life sciences innovation and medical excellence has been a pivotal part in the success of the highly regarded policy think-tank.

PHG Foundation’s instrumental work in raising awareness of the benefits genomics can deliver for health is well acknowledged by government - most recently by the National Data Guardian for our work on data sharing consent and with our contribution to the Chief Medical Officer’s annual report this summer, Generation Genome.

Speaking at the 20th anniversary celebratory dinner, held at Trinity College, Dr Ron Zimmern, said:

This occasion is a watershed for the PHG Foundation. We can truly say, with the recent focus of government policy on the role of genomics and allied technologies in healthcare, that we have completed what I set out to do when I established what was then the Public Health Genetics Unit in 1997. This was to help ensure that genetics would become a central element of health policy. As we move on to the next phase, we shall be working even more closely with the University. We shall help to bridge the gap between the sciences and the humanities. In future years, as science develops, the humanities and social sciences will without a doubt be as important to this endeavor as the sciences themselves.

The Vice Chancellor of University of Cambridge, Leszek Borysiewicz was among the speakers at the dinner.