History

Image: Genome Research Limited

History
Opening of the Campus in 1994

At the time of its official opening by the Princess Royal in 1994, the Wellcome Genome Campus was already home to the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute (then called the Sanger Centre), the Medical Research Council’s Human Genome Mapping Project Resource Centre, the European Molecular Biology Laboratory’s European Bioinformatics Institute (EMBL-EBI).

Wellcome funded the establishment of the Sanger Centre in 1993 and chose Hinxton as the home for its new genome research institute. Shortly after, EMBL-EBI located on the same site, and the two institutes formed a natural fit, consolidating expertise, facilities and knowledge in one place and enabling both to contribute a major role in the Human Genome Project - a global collaboration to sequence the first ‘reference’ human genome.

One third of the human genome was sequenced for the first time at the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, and the precious data was stored and shared through EMBL-EBI. This was the largest single contribution of any centre to the Human Genome Project, making the Campus and its collaborations uniquely important in the history of genomics.

Since the announcement of the completion of the draft human genome in 2000, and final completion in 2003, rapid progress in sequencing technology has enabled new and exciting areas of Science to be opened up for exploration. At its opening in 1994, the Campus housed approximately 400 employees. This has grown to over 2,600 people employed at the Wellcome Genome Campus today, making the Campus a densely concentrated and globally significant cluster for biodata and genomics expertise.

Genome Research Limited

The Wellcome Genome Campus site is owned by Genome Research Limited (GRL), established in 1992 as a wholly owned subsidiary of Wellcome. It is under the auspices of GRL that the Campus has grown to include several internationally-recognised research-based, learning and engagement, and commercial organisations, such as Connecting Science and the BioData Innovation Centre.

Before 1993

The first recorded owner of the estate, in 1506, was the college of Michaelhouse in Cambridge but it wasn’t until the early eighteenth century that the first building – a modest hunting and fishing lodge – was erected by Captain Joseph Richardson of Horseheath. It became a gentleman’s retreat with well stocked trout ponds and fields full of partridge.

The current Hall was built by John Bromwell Jones in 1748 and remains today as the central three-storey block on the Campus. Opposite the house were stables, a kitchen garden and an orchard, all of which still exist, albeit in altered form.

By 1800 ownership of the Hall and estate had passed to the Green family, who remained until 1920, when the Hall was sold to the Robinsons. During the Second World War, the Hall was used for billeting American soldiers, stationed at the local airbase at Duxford.

In 1953 the Hall and grounds were sold to Tube Investments plc for research laboratories, which closed in the late 1980s. The site remained under their ownership until it was sold to the Genome Research Limited in 1992.

Campus Timeline
  • BioData Innovation Centre

    BioData Innovation Centre opens offering new space for translation and industry at the Wellcome Genome Campus.

    2016
    Connecting Science Launched

    Connecting Science is launched, bringing together Advanced Courses and Scientific Conferences, the Conference Centre, Public Engagement, and Society and Ethics Research under one programme.

    Conference Centre

    Conference Centre refurbishment in the kitchen garden of Hinxton Hall completed.

    2015
    Congenica

    Congencia is launched as a spin-out from the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute.

    2014
    Wellcome Genome Campus

    Wellcome Genome Campus is selected as the location for Genomics England's centralised sequencing facility and the Wellcome Trust announced that it was investing £27 million in the new facility.

     
    Open Targets

    Open Targets launches and locates in the EMBL-EBI South Building.

     
    ELIXIR

    ELIXIR launches with the goal to create a distributed infrastructure for life-science information, support innovation in big data biology and professional training to close the computational biology skills gap.

     
    EMBL-EBI

    EMBL-EBI South Building opens at the Wellcome Genome Campus offering new translation and industry space.

    2013
    Genomics England

    Secretary of State for Health, Jeremy Hunt, announced the establishment of Genomics England, a wholly owned company of the Department of Health to deliver the 100,000 genomes project and to create a genome medicine service within the NHS.

     
    Prime Minister

    The Prime Minister, announced plans for NHS England to sequence 100,000 genomes including the genomes of people with rare diseases, infectious diseases and cancer.

    2012
    UK funding

    UK provides funds for new EMBL-EBI building and running of data centres.

    2011
    EU funds ELIXIR

    East wing opens at EMBL-EBI & European Commission funds ELIXIR - the Pan-European research infrastructure for biological information.

    2007
    Morgan Building

    Soutfield extension project phase 1 completed including the Morgan Building with new Sanger Institute Data Centre, new research support facilities, new laboratories and the Cairns Pavillion including new Campus sports, catering and social facilities.

    2005
    Wetlands

    Work began on creating a 15 acre Wetlands Nature Reserve at the Wellcome Genome Campus. Some 15,000 tonnes of soil were moved to create a series of ponds and around 10,000 tees and shrubs were planted.

    2003
    Human genome Project

    Human Genome Project Completed - Reference human genome.

     
    Cairnes Pavillion

    Initial outline planning consent received for the 'Southfield' extension to the Wellcome Genome Campus.

    2002
    ENSEMBL

    Ensembl launches as a collaboration between EMBL-EBI and the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute.

    2000
    EU Flag

    European Union limits the patenting of gene sequences.

    1998
    Celera Genomics

    A private company in the USA (Celera Genomics) announces it will take on the task of sequencing the human genome.

     
    Conference Centre

    Conference Centre opens

     
    Sulston Building

    New buildings were constructed for the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute and EMBL-EBI, including the Sulston Building and EMBl-EBI main buildings.

    1996
    Bermuda Agreement

    Bermuda meeting where the 'Bermuda Agreement' principles on open access distribution to the public domain with 24 hours of sequencing was established.

     
    EMBL-EBI

    Michael Ashburner joins Graham Cameron at EMBL-EBI and EMBL-EBI is established at the Wellcome Genome Campus.

    1994
    Hinxton Signpost

    The decision is taken to locate EMBL-EBI in Hinxton. Graham Cameron moves from Germany to set up EMBL-EBI at the Wellcome Genome Campus.

    1993
    Wellcome Trust Shield

    The Sanger Centre is established under directorship of John Sulston and moves onto Hinxton site now known as the Wellcome Genome Campus - 80 people on site.

     
    Molecular Biology

    Metallurgy laboratories restyled into those more suited to molecular biology.

    1992
    Hinxton Hall

    Wellcome Trust purchases Hinxton Hall and 55 acres of adjacent park land.

     
    Advanced Courses

    Wellcome Trust Advanced Courses is established.

    1988
    Capco

    Tube Investments closed its laboratories and the site was purchased by Capital and Counties Plc who had plans for a business park.

    1980
    Tube Investments

    Hall and grounds was sold to Tube Investments plc which erected metallurgy research laboratories in the gounds and converted the Hall into office space.

    1953
    US

    During the Second World War Hinxton Hall was used for billeting American soldiers stationed at the local airbase at Duxford.

    1944
    Robinsons

    Hinxton Hall Estate passes from the Greens to the Robinson family.

    1920
    Mulberry Tree

    Mulberry tree planted in Hinxton.

    1900
    Pompeiian Parlour

    Completion of Hinxton Hall Pompeiian parlour with Roman-style frescos and murals.

    1831
    Hinxton

    Hinxton High Street diverted and houses demolished for parklnd.

    1800
    Hinxton Hall

    First Hinxton Hall (central three storey block of Hinxton Hall) built as a family home by John Bromwell Jones.

    1748
    Domesday Book

    The village of Hinxton is listed in the Domesday Book of 1086 as Hestitona.

    1086
    Anglo Saxon Farmstead

    Anglo Saxon Farmstead or Hamlet established to the South of Hinxton Hall Estate.

    600 - 700 AD
    Bronze Age Burial

    Bronze Age burial at the Hinxton Hall Estate.

    1368 - 1212 BC
    Archaeological Dig

    Neolithic pit and shaft constructed near Hinxton Hall.

    4000-2000 BC
    HipSci

    Human Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells Initiative (HipSci) is set up by Wellcome Trust and MRC with the aim to generate over 500 Induced Pluripotent Stem cell lines from healthy volunteers and several hundred lines from individuals with genetic disease.

    2013
    Sir Mike Stratton

    Professor Sir Mike Stratton, Director of the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, Chief Executive Officer of the Wellcome Genome Campus and Fellow of the Royal Society (FRS) is knighted by the Queen.

     
    Genetic variation

    1000 Genomes Project presents integrated map of genetic variation.

    2012
    ICGC

    International Network of Cancer Genome Projects (ICGC) launches with the goal to generate comprehensive catalogues of genomic abnormalities in tumors from 50 different cancer types of importance across the globe.

    2010
    Neanderthal

    Neanderthal Genome Project shows evidence of widespread interbreeding between modern human and Neanderthals.

     
    UK10K

    The UK10K project was established to sequence the genomes of 10,000 people, both healthy and affected by disease. The conditions included very rare disorders inherited in families, and more common diseases such as autism, schizophrenia and obesity.

     
    Sir Mike Stratton

    Professor Sir Mike Stratton is appointed as the Director of the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, succeeding Dr Allan Bradley.

     
    First Cancers

    First cancer genomes (malignant melanoma and lung cancer) are sequenced, identifying catalogues of genetic mutations compared with healthy tissues.

    2009
    Morgan Building

    Southfield extension project phase 1 completed including the Morgan Building with new Sanger Institute Data Centre, new research support facilities, new laboratories and the Cairns Pavillion including new Campus sports, catering and social facilities.

    2005
    Genome Wide Study

    First Genome Wide Association Study Published.

     
    COSMIC

    Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute launches catalogue of Somatic Mutations in Cancer (COSMIC).

    2004
    Human Genome Project

    Human Genome Project Completed - Reference human genome.

    2003
    Southfields

    Initial outline planning consent received for the 'Southfield' extension to the Wellcome Genome Campus.

    2002
    Mouse Genome

    Draft sequence of the mouse genome and the malaria parasite genome sequenced.

     
    Human Genome

    Draft Human Genome published in the public domain.

    2001
    Allan Bradley

    Dr Allan Bradley was appointed as Director of the Sanger Institute, succeeding John Sulston.

    2000
    Drosophila

    Drosophila (fruit fly) genome sequenced.

     
    ENSEMBL

    Ensembl launches as a collaboration between EMBL-EBI and the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute.

     
    EU Limit

    European Union limits the patenting of gene sequences.

    1998
    BRCA2

    Myriad Genetics applies to patent the breast cancer gene BRCA2.

     
    C elegans

    C elegans (nemotode worm) sequenced, first genome of a multicellular organism.

     
    Sulston

    New buildings were constructed for the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute and EMBL-EBI, including the Sulston Building and EMBl-EBI main buildings.

    1996
    Hinxton

    The Sanger Centre is established under directorship of John Sulston and moves onto Hinxton site now known as the Wellcome Genome Campus - 80 people on site.

    1993
    Molecular Biology

    Metallurgy laboratories re-styled into those more suited to molecular biology.

    1992
    Expressed Tags

    Expressed sequence tags are described.

    1991
    Human Genome Project

    Human Genome Project launches.

    1990
    Open Targets

    Open Targets launches and locates in the EMBL-EBI South Building

     
    ELIXIR

    ELIXIR launches with the goal to create a distributed infrastructure for life-science information, support innovation in big data biology and professional training to close the computational biology skills gap.

     
    EMBL-EBI

    EMBL-EBI South Building opens at the Wellcome Genome Campus offering new translation and industry space.

    2013
    Gorilla

    Gorilla genome sequence gives insight into hominid evolution: Scally et al.

    2012
    UK funding

    UK provides funds for new EMBL-EBI building and running of data centres.

    2011
    ICGC

    International Network of Cancer Genome Projects (ICGC) launches with the goal to generate comprehensive catalogues of genomic abnormalities in tumors from 50 different cancer types of importance across the globe.

    2010
    UK10K

    The UK10K project was established to sequence the genomes of 10,000 people, both healthy and affected by disease. The conditions included very rare disorders inherited in families, and more common diseases such as autism, schizophrenia and obesity.

     
    ENSEMBL Genomes

    Ensembl Genomes launches: a resource for non-vertebrate species. Gene Expression Atlas launches.

    2009
    PubMed

    ChEBI database of chemical interactions launches and UK PubMed Central project begins.

    2007
    EU funds ELIXIR

    East wing opens at EMBL-EBI & European Commission funds ELIXIR - the Pan-European research infrastructure for biological information.

     
    Human genome Project

    Human Genome Project Completed - Reference human genome.

    2003
    Array Express

    ArrayExpress genomic data repository launches.

    2002
    Uniprot

    Swiss-Prot and TrEMBL become the freely available UniProt.

    2001
    ENSEMBL

    Ensembl launches as a collaboration between EMBL-EBI and the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute.

    2000
    InterPro

    InterPro protein family database launches.

    1999
    EU Flag

    European Union limits the patenting of gene sequences.

    1998
    Celera Genomics

    A private company in the USA (Celera Genomics) announces it will take on the task of sequencing the human genome.

     
    Protein Databank

    MSD, now the Protein Databank in Europe launches. The Translated EMBL Nucleotide Sequence Data Library, TrEMBL launches.

    1996
    Sulston Building

    New buildings were constructed for the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute and EMBL-EBI, including the Sulston Building and EMBl-EBI main buildings.

     
    Bermuda Agreement

    Bermuda meeting where the 'Bermuda Agreement' principles on open access distribution to the public domain with 24 hours of sequencing was established.

     
    EMBL-EBI

    Michael Ashburner joins Graham Cameron at EMBL-EBI and EMBL-EBI is established at the Wellcome Genome Campus.

    1994
    Hinxton Signpost

    The decision is taken to locate EMBL-EBI in Hinxton. Graham Cameron moves from Germany to set up EMBL-EBI at the Wellcome Genome Campus.

    1993
    DNA databank of Japan

    Data sharing collaboration between EMBL data library and the DNA databank of Japan (DDBJ).

    1987
    Greg Hamm

    Greg Hamm launches the first nucleotide sequence database: the EMBL Data Library.

    1982
    MRSA

    Centre for Genomic Pathogen Survevillance develops a new web based tool that can track the spread of MRSA.

    2016
    BioData Innovation Centre

    BioData Innovation Centre opens offering new space for translation and industry at the Wellcome Genome Campus.

     
    Congenica

    Congencia is launched as a spin-out from the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute

    2014
    Open Targets

    Open Targets launches and locates in the EMBL-EBI South Building.

     
    ELIXIR

    ELIXIR launches with the goal to create a distributed infrastructure for life-science information, support innovation in big data biology and professional training to close the computational biology skills gap.

     
    HipSci

    Human Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells Initiative (HipSci) is set up by Wellcome Trust and MRC with the aim to generate over 500 Induced Pluripotent Stem cell lines from healthy volunteers and several hundred lines from individuals with genetic disease.

    2013
    Genomics England

    Secretary of State for Health, Jeremy Hunt, announced the establishment of Genomics England, a wholly owned company of the Department of Health to deliver the 100,000 genomes project and to create a genome medicine service within the NHS.

     
    Prime Minister

    The Prime Minister, announced plans for NHS England to sequence 100,000 genomes including the genomes of people with rare diseases, infectious diseases and cancer.

    2012
    Genetic Variation

    1000 Genomes Project presents integrated map of genetic variation.

     
    ICGC

    International Network of Cancer Genome Projects (ICGC) launches with the goal to generate comprehensive catalogues of genomic abnormalities in tumors from 50 different cancer types of importance across the globe.

    2010
    Neanderthal

    Neanderthal Genome Project shows evidence of widespread interbreeding between modern human and Neanderthals

     
    Cancer

    First cancer genomes (malignant melanoma and lung cancer) are sequenced, identifying catalogues of genetic mutations compared with healthy tissues.

    2009
    EU funds ELIXIR

    East wing opens at EMBL-EBI & European Commission funds ELIXIR - the Pan-European research infrastructure for biological information.

    2007
    Genome Wide Publication

    First Genome Wide Association Study Published.

    2005
    COSMIC

    Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute launches catalogue of Somatic Mutations in Cancer (COSMIC).

    2004
    Human Genome Project

    Human Genome Project Completed - Reference human genome.

    2003
    Human Genome

    Draft Human Genome published in the public domain.

    2001
    Drosophila

    Drosophila (fruit fly) genome sequenced.

    2000
    ENSEMBL

    Ensembl launches as a collaboration between EMBL-EBI and the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute.

     
    EU Limit

    European Union limits the patenting of gene sequences.

    1998
    BRCA2

    Myriad Genetics applies to patent the breast cancer gene BRCA2.

     
    Celera Genomics

    A private company in the USA (Celera Genomics) announces it will take on the task of sequencing the human genome.

     
    C elegans

    C elgans (nemotode worm) sequenced, first genome of a multicellular organism.

     
    H Influenzae

    H Influenzae completely sequenced.

    1995
    Expressed Tags

    Expressed sequence tags are described.

    1991
    Human Genome Project

    Human Genome Project launches.

    1990
    DDBJ

    Data sharing collaboration between EMBL data library and the DNA databank of Japan (DDBJ).

    1987
    Greg Hamm

    Greg Hamm launches the first nucleotide sequence database: the EMBL Data Library.

    1982
    DNA

    Watson & Crick propose the double helix model of DNA.

    1953
    DNA

    DNA shown to be genetic material.

    1944
    Gregor Mendel

    Gregor Mendel's study of genetics published.

    1886
    Tree of Life

    Tree of life theory inspired by a Mulberry tree in Darwin's garden.

    1859
    Pompeiian parlour

    Completion of Hinxton Hall Pompeiian parlour with Roman-style frescos and murals.

    1831
    Wellcome Founder
    Wellcome - our founder and major funder

    The Campus is part of Wellcome, a global charitable foundation that exists to improve health for everyone by helping great ideas to thrive.

    Learn more