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Leading geneticist knighted

11 January 2010
Appeared in BioNews 540
A leading UK geneticist has received a knighthood in the New Year's Honours list for services to medicine. Professor John Burn, director of the Institute of Human Genetics, helped to establish the International Centre for Life in Newcastle.

Last July, researchers at the Centre for Life grew human sperm from stem cells and created the first human-animal hybrid embryos in 2008.

'I've worked with a lot of very impressive people and I tend to get put out front and get a lot of credit for what they've done,' Professor Burn told BBC News, adding: 'But we've built the Centre for Life and we've got a big research institute where we've done lots of good stuff.'

In 2000, Professor Burn helped produce the Donaldson Report which recommended a change in the law to enable scientists to use human embryos as a source of stem cells. His previous research found that folic acid should be taken during pregnancy to help prevent spina bifida. He continues to research the prevention and treatment of hereditary cancers.

Last year, he was made the chairman of the Clinical Genetics speciality group at the National Institute of Health Research and he is an associate board member of the North East England Stem Cell Institute.

'John has made a great contribution to the study of human genetics and its application to medicine, as well as to public understanding of the subject', a spokesman for Newcastle University said. 'It is a great honour for the university as well as Professor Burn and we congratulate him'.

SOURCES & REFERENCES
Biography and publications list
Newcastle Biomedicine |  27 April 2007
Centre for Life - Science Village
International Centre for Life |  4 January 2010
Knighthood for leading geneticist
BBC News |  31 December 2009
Professor John Burn, of Newcastle University, is to receive a knighthood
The Northern Echo |  31 December 2009
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