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Media Release
For Immediate Release

Melbourne, 23 August — The Human Variome Project International Coordinating Office are pleased to announce that Professor Sir John Burn, Deputy Chair of the Project’s International Scientific Advisory Committee will be delivering the 2013 R Douglas Wright Lecture at the University of Melbourne on Tuesday, 3 rd September, 2013.

Professor Sir Burn is currently the lead clinician for the UK National Health Service (North East), and genetics lead for the UK National Institute of Health Research. He was previously a director of the Institute of Genetic Medicine at The University of Newcastle-Upon-Tyne (2005-2010), and president of the European Society of Human Genetics (2007).

Professor Burn is widely regarded in the field of monogenic disorders particularly in establishing the genetic basis of a neurodegenerative disorder called neuroferritinopathy, and the major form of hereditary colorectal cancer called the Lynch syndrome. He led the study that demonstrated the use of aspirin in reducing the risk of colorectal and other cancers in persons with Lynch syndrome, and leads an international consortium investigating chemoprevention in persons with hereditary non-polyposis colon cancer.

He is currently exploring cell-based vaccines for colorectal cancer, and is involved in a startup company which aims to develop the use of nanowires, nanotubes and nanoribbons in genotyping and gene sequencing.

The R Douglas Wright Lecture series is an annual lecture presented by the R Douglas Wright group of the University of Melbourne in memory of R Douglas Wright (1907-1990), Professor of Physiology and University Chancellor (1980 – 1989).

Sir John’s lecture, “The diagnosis, treatment and prevention of genetic disease” will examine how new technologies and an increasing understanding of the genetic determinants of both rare and common disease are starting to turn the noise of the approximately 3 million mostly irrelevant variants predicted to occur in each of us into a useful clinical signal.

These signals, uncovered by cheap DNA testing performed in minutes can lead to better direct interventions and dramatic improvements in our health.

The R Douglas Wright Lecture
Tuesday 3 September, 2013
6.00pm – 7.00pm
The Auditorium, Melbourne Brain Centre, Ground Floor
Kenneth Myer Building
30 Royal Parade (corner Genetics Lane)
The University of Melbourne

Admission is free. Bookings are required (


About the Human Variome Project

The Human Variome Project is an international consortium of scientists and health professionals working to improve global health through the free and open sharing of genetic variation information.

The Human Variome Project acts as an umbrella organisation across multiple countries, institutions and initiatives. It works to encourage communication and collaboration around it central vision—the improvement of global health through the sharing of genomic knowledge.

The Human Variome Project has four roles: to establish and maintain the standards, systems and infrastructure necessary for the worldwide collection, curation, interpretation and sharing of information across the genome; to advocate and promote ethical behaviour in the field of medical genetics and genomics; to share knowledge about our genome and its function in determining health; and to assist individuals and nations build their capacity to address genetics aspects of individual and global health.

Media Contact:
Timothy D. Smith 
+61 (0)419 357 589



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