Sir John Burn

Professor of Clinical Genetics
Newcastle University


Sir John Burn is Professor of Clinical Genetics at Newcastle University. He is medical director and head of the Institute of Human Genetics, and lead clinician for the National Health Service North East.

After 30 years as the leader of a highly successful NHS service and Human Genetics research institute he now combines his clinical and teaching role with being chief investigator of CAPP, the international Cancer Prevention programme, genetics lead for the UK National Institute of Health Research, medical director of the medical device company, QuantuMDx ltd., and co-chair of the Scientific Advisory Board of the Human Variome Project. He was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II in 2010 for services medicine and healthcare.

Professor Sir John Burn have currently two major areas of research:  

  1. The CAPP programme has now succeeded in establishing that aspirin significantly reduces the risk of cancer in people with Lynch syndrome, the major form of hereditary colorectal cancer.  We are now poised to transform the clinical management of cancer in all people with a family history. The CaPP3 trial, a dose non-inferiority study to determine the optimal dose of aspirin for cancer chemoprevention in Lynch Syndrome, is now open and recruiting. We are also exploring the development of a cell based vaccine focused on the frameshift proteins resulting from slippage in microsatellites in these tumours.

  1. The second major direction will be to develop a new technology in genotyping and gene sequencing using the concept of using nanowires to detect the electrical impedance changes associated with nucleotide binding.  Our start-up company, QuantuMDx Ltd has received second round funding and now holds a world exclusive licence for any diagnostic use of nanowires, nanotubes or nanoribbons. 

Sir Brun holds an impressive list of professional accomplishments, among them are:

  • Knighted for services to Medicine and Healthcare in 2010

  • Chief Investigator of the International Cancer Prevention Programme (CAPP)

  • Honorary Consultant Clinical Geneticist, Newcastle Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

  • Non-executive director to NHS England and Deputy Chair to the Specialist Commissioning Committee of NHS England

  • Director of the Collaborative Group on Genetics in Healthcare, NIHR CRN Genetics Speciality (Dept of Health)

  • Co-Chair to the UK Rare Diseases Register and Genomics Databases Advisory Group (Dept of Health)

  • Co-Chair of the International Scientific Advisory Committee to the Human Variome Project and Company Board Member of the non-for profit holding company, Global Variome Ltd (Newcastle, UK). HVP/GV is a recognised NGO of UNESCO.

  • Co-chair to the BRCA Challenge of the Global Alliance for Genomics and Health (GA4GH)

  • Chairman of QuantuMDx Group Ltd 

  • Medical Director of Northgene Ltd

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