Genomics CEO Peter Donnelly receives British knighthood

Donnelly has received the award for services to the understanding of human genetics in disease at this year's Queen's birthday honours

Peter Donnelly

Peter Donnelly, the Chief Executive Officer of Genomics, has received the Knight Bachelor medal in the Queen's Birthday honours 2019, for services to the understanding of human genetics in disease. Donnelly also serves as Professor of Statistical Science at the University of Oxford.

Donnelly has dedicated his career to statistics and genetics, through the leadership of many pioneering national and international human genetics studies, and the development and application of sophisticated statistical methods to large-scale genomic data. In 2014, he co-founded Genomics plc to harness genomic data to transform healthcare.

Genomics has since become a leader in the field of genomic analysis to improve understanding of human disease, both to aid the discovery and development of new medicines and to better target clinical care.

A recognition not just of my work but also that of the outstanding researchers I have collaborated with over many years in pursuit of new insights into human genetics and its role in common diseases

"I feel thrilled and tremendously honoured to have been awarded a knighthood by Her Majesty The Queen," said Donnelly. "This honour is a recognition not just of my work but also that of the outstanding researchers I have collaborated with over many years in pursuit of new insights into human genetics and its role in common diseases."

Queen's birthday honours

The Queen's Birthday Honours, released annually since the mid-19th century, recognises the achievements of extraordinary people from all aspects of life in the UK and across the Commonwealth. This year's event coincides with the Queen's 93rd "official" birthday on 7 June.

A total of 1,073 people have been recognised this year, including Oscar-winning actress Olivia Colman, made CBE, and rockstars Elvis Costello and Feargal Sharkey, both honoured with OBEs.

The citation for Donnelly's knighthood reads: "He has also made a significant contribution to the quality of research across his sector through many advisory roles. As Chief Executive of Genomics plc, he continues to be a leading figure in the UK life sciences sector, leading cutting edge research and supporting new opportunities for drug discovery and for the use of genetics in clinical medicine.

He is an outstanding ambassador for the UK life sciences sector, engaging the public with his work in genomics and on the genetic history of the UK

"He is an outstanding ambassador for the UK life sciences sector, engaging the public with his work in genomics and on the genetic history of the UK. Additionally, as Chair of the Royal Society's Machine Learning Group, he has played a key role in developing public policy in this area."

Donnelly is a citizen of the UK and his native Australia. At Genomics, he has developed the largest database of its kind in the world, linking genetic variants at 14 million positions in our DNA to over 10,000 measurements on people, including disease outcomes, biomarkers, and molecular and cellular traits.

The citation concludes."The company uses sophisticated statistical and machine learning tools to interrogate the data to learn about the connections between genetics and disease.

"Genomics plc uses this approach in precision health and predictive disease prevention, through polygenic risk scores, and in drug discovery, to identify new drug targets and to assess the likely efficacy and safety of novel medicines."

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