John is Chief Scientific Officer at Oxford Nanopore. On the Executive team, he has responsibility for all chemical and biological R&D activity within the company and particularly the design and delivery of the company’s nanopore-based sequencing technology. John drives the primary architectural designs of the chemical systems, building a disruptive system ready for launch into the marketplace.
John joined Oxford Nanopore from Solexa (2001–2007), where as Senior Director of R&D he designed and built the Reversible Terminator chemistry that now drives the Illumina HiSeq/MiSeq system. He built and managed a large, multi-disciplinary scientific team in areas including synthetic nucleotide chemistry, fluorescence chemistry, photochemistry, enzyme engineering, sample prep and chip surface chemistry. He also drove development of the full sequencing protocols and ultimately the scale-up and production of the sequencing reagents for commercial launch. The scientific work of John’s team was critical to the achievement of early sequence data that progressed to other major sequencing milestones and ultimately a full human genome. Solexa was sold to Illumina for $650m in 2007 after the successful placement of 12 instruments, and the Illumina systems are now considered the market leader.
Earlier in his career, following his Ph.D in Chemistry (Liverpool) and two years of post-doctoral work (Leeds), John held various scientific and management positions in medicinal chemistry firstly at GlaxoWellcome (four years) then at Xenova (four years), where he specialised in designing new chemical systems that interact with the biological machinery of genetic processing with applications as antiviral and anti-cancer therapeutics.