Professor Ewan Birney

BBSRC Council member

Professor Ewan Birney is a member of the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) Council.

Ewan is Director of EMBL-EBI, and runs a small research group. He played a vital role in annotating the genome sequences of human, mouse, chicken and several other organisms. He led the analysis group for the ENCODE project, which is defining functional elements in the human genome. Ewan’s main areas of research include:

  • functional genomics
  • assembly algorithms
  • statistical methods to analyse genomic information (in particular information associated with individual differences)
  • compression of sequence information

Ewan completed his PhD at the Wellcome Sanger Institute with Richard Durbin. He has received a number of prestigious awards including:

  • the 2003 Francis Crick Award from The Royal Society
  • the 2005 Overton Prize from the International Society for Computational Biology
  • the 2005 Benjamin Franklin Award for contributions in open source bioinformatics

Ewan was elected a Fellow of The Royal Society in 2014 and a Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences in 2015.

Ewan is a non-executive Director of Genomics England, and is a consultant and advisor to a number of companies, including Oxford Nanopore Technologies and GSK. He is also the Chair of the Global Alliance for Genomics and Health (GA4GH).

Period of appointment: 1 April 2019 to 31 March 2026.

Last updated: 25 August 2023

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