Landscape view of the Hinxton Hall Conference Centre complex from lawn beside it. Blue sky and spring feel.

Dr Ireena Dutta appointed Interim Director of Wellcome Connecting Science

Date: 1 May 2024

Professor Julian Rayner steps down after a decade.

Headshot of Julian Rayner
Prof Julian Rayner

Today marks a significant day in the history of Wellcome Connecting Science, with its first ever Director, Professor Julian Rayner, stepping down. Julian will now focus on his position as Director of the Cambridge Institute for Medical Research at the University of Cambridge, and continue leading his malaria research group. Dr Ireena Dutta, who has been with Connecting Science since 2014, and was formerly the Associate Director for Programme and Strategy, will take on the position of Interim Director.

Connecting Science was formed a decade ago, and brought together a number of existing groups to form a cohesive programme that focussed on learning, training, and engagement, and addressed both professional and public audiences. In 2016, it expanded to include a newly-formed group focussing on ethics and societal perspectives. As part of the Wellcome Sanger Institute, its mission is to enable everyone to explore genomic science and its impact on research, health and society.

Since its inception, Connecting Science has reached over 100,000 research and health professionals and over 100,000 young people, in over 100 countries, with digital and in-person activities; supporting learning, understanding, and careers of people in every continent with the exception of Antarctica. The reach of our learning-focussed website, Your Genome, extends this to millions. These numbers are an impressive legacy, driven by the excellent work of many team members, and guided by the commitment and incredible enthusiasm of Julian.

Moving forward, as Professor Matt Hurles leads the Sanger Institute with a renewed strategy and vision, genomics advances continue at pace, and Wellcome invest in the expansion of our campus, there are likely to be new opportunities and challenges for Connecting Science and its Interim Director.


Headshot of Dr Ireena Dutta“It has been a privilege to work with Julian over the last nine years, and to see how Connecting Science has developed and evolved to respond to a changing research landscape. I’m looking forward to continuing to work with amazing colleagues, including the Director of the Sanger Institute, to ensure that learning, training, and engagement remain a key part of how we deliver tangible benefits from genomics knowledge.”

– Dr Ireena Dutta, Interim Director, Wellcome Connecting Science