Dr Sara Wells, MBE!

2 min read

Our Director, Dr Sara Wells has been awarded an MBE in HM The King’s Birthday Honours List 2024 for services to medical research.

A hugely deserved recognition of a career dedicated to science support that is having a remarkable impact on scientific advancement and preclinical research. We are bursting with pride!

On receiving the news she said: “I was really surprised and thrilled to be given this award. I work with amazing teams, working hard to give the best support for research science and this is in recognition of all of their efforts”

Dr Sara Wells is the Director of the Mary Lyon Centre at MRC Harwell and the Director of the MRC Centre for Macaques at Porton Down. She holds a joint appointment at the Francis Crick Institute as Chief Biological Resources Facility Officer.

Dr Wells grew up in Margate, Kent, where she attended a local grammar school.

She always knew she was interested in science and obtained a first-class BSc in Genetics from the University of Sheffield. She went on to do a PhD at the MRC National Institute for Medical Research, Mill Hill, working on the ‘Expression of Neuroendocrine Genes in Transgenic Rats’.

Sara soon realised that her real interest was in supporting research projects and enabling great science through the provision of the highest standards of services for researchers.  

This interest has driven her career choices since the early 2000s when she joined the MRC Harwell Institute as Head of Transgenics and Mutagenesis. In that role, she helped shape the newly built Mary Lyon Centre (MLC) where she became Scientific Manager in 2004, the opening year, Head of Operations in 2009 and Director in 2013.

During this time Sara has supported countless high impact projects in preclinical genetics, forged strong relationships with the biomedical research community throughout the UK and internationally, held many prestigious positions in organisations and learned societies promoting scientific research standards of integrity and reproducibility and has become, with the MLC, a recognised reference point in the field of preclinical mouse genetics including in policy and legislation. Her commitment to the best use of animals in research and welfare has been a constant theme of any activity she has been involved with.

She has travelled this remarkable professional trajectory whilst remaining entirely truthful to her roots of Margate gal, making her a most atypical presence in high leadership meetings. Along the way, she has been an incredibly supportive colleague to many: a trusted partner to Directors, a caring mentor to countless of her juniors, spotting talent, always encouraging and courageously honest in her guidance, incredibly supportive to those needing her, whether at the peak of their career or a junior position.

The guiding thread of her career is one of personal commitment, strength and honesty, together with an unwavering enthusiasm for Genetics and genuine curiosity. All of this makes her a rare role model and someone to whom we owe recognition and thanks.

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