On Friday 18th March, we hosted an event to mark the closure of the MRC Mammalian Genetics Unit (MGU) and, as MRC Harwell and MGU Director Steve Brown put it, to “reflect with enormous pride on the transformative research and the real difference we have made”.
As well as current members of staff and students, we were joined by around 85 former colleagues who had worked here at some point over the last 30 years, so there was a lot of catching up to be done between the approximately 250 attendees! Luckily we were able to enjoy one of the first bright, sunny days of spring, so, although the event was held at our Advance training centre and we had a marquee set up outside, many people took the opportunity to have their lunch together outside.
After lunch, Steve gave a short speech to highlight research areas and international collaborations to which MGU had made crucial contributions, to remember former colleagues who are sadly no longer with us, and to thank everyone for their hard work over the years.
“We’ve never wavered or held back in our imagination, or in our ambition; rising to many of the scientific challenges that face genetics and genomic medicine.”
After unveiling our new plaque celebrating the ground-breaking research and achievements of MGU since it opened in 1996, Steve was surprised to be presented with a gift that had been made by the MRC Harwell workshop and the sculptor, Jenny Pickford, who had previously created the Advance sculpture. Thanking everyone, Steve commented, “It’s been the proudest and the most enjoyable period of my life, working here, with all of you.”
We were also pleased to be able to celebrate that one of our Research Support Assistants, Andrew Blease, had recently obtained his PhD from the Open University! Congratulations Andrew!