Sir John Sulston's recognition of the value of the nematode worm c. elegans as an experimental organism and his achievement in mapping the developmental lineage of all its 959 somatic cells led to his first Gairdner Award with Sydney Brenner in 1991. He went on to sequence the c. elegans genome in collaboration with Robert Waterston; completed in 1998, this was the first animal genome to be sequenced. He has played a major role in the Human Genome Project, both personally and through the Sanger Centre, which he founded in 1993 for the mapping and sequencing of the human and other genomes and served as Director from 1992-2000.
Dr. Sulston has spent virtually his entire career at the University of Cambridge. He earned a BA in organic chemistry and a PhD, spent three years as a postdoctoral fellow at the Salk Institute and then returned to Cambridge as a member of the Laboratory of Molecular Biology. He has received numerous honors and in 2001 was knighted in the New Year's Honour list.