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The Mary Lyon Centre senior management team:

Dr Sara Wells


Dr Sara Wells is the Director of the Mary Lyon Centre at MRC Harwell Institute, in her role she oversees and coordinates mouse genetics projects and animal welfare.

She first became interested in genetics at the age of 16 and went on to study Genetics at the University of Sheffield. In the 90s when transgenic technology really took off, she moved to the National Institute for Medical Research to study for a PhD using genetic engineering techniques in rodents. Following a post-doctoral research period at the University of Bristol, she moved to MRC Harwell in 2002.

Sara is driven by the continually changing field of genetics, its advancements and challenges. In particular genome editing and its possibilities for improving pre-clinical models, automated phenotyping and how it is going to change how we characterise genetically altered animals.

Sara is a member of various national groups and committees including the LASA council (Laboratory Animal Science Association) and the animal welfare and ethical review bodies for two other establishments (one academic, one pharmaceutical). Sara is keen to promote technological opportunities which promise to be able to reduce and refine the work undertaken in animal research.


Dr Martin Fray


Dr Martin Fray is the Head of Biological Resources and Deputy Director of the Mary Lyon Centre at MRC Harwell. Martin’s principle role is to lead the Biological Resources Group which is responsible for the cryopreservation, recovery and dissemination of unique mouse strains around the world.

He completed a BSc and PhD at University of Nottingham, followed by period working as a Post Doc at the University of Reading and as a research scientist at the Institute for Animal Health. Martin’s university training was focused on applied biology which leant towards reproductive biology. As a natural extension to this, he developed a career in reproductive biology.

Martin is motivated by the pressing need for a better understanding of gene function and the causes of genetic disease. The work that Martin’s group undertakes supports this global effort, especially in the area of procedural refinement where advances and development of their techniques have led to a significantly reduced number of mice being used in IVFs, and a reduction in the need to ship live mice when passing mouse strains between institutions.

His ultimate aim is to provide an efficient and comprehensive service to the wider community that allows investigators to focus their resources on producing high quality science.


Dr Lydia Teboul


Dr Lydia Teboul is the Head of Molecular and Cellular Biology at the Mary Lyon Centre at MRC Harwell. Her responsibilities include managing services for genome engineering, expression analysis and embryo phenotyping, as well as providing an advisory role to other teams requiring expertise in molecular biology.

Inspired to become a biologist from an early age by Commandant Cousteau, Lydia went on to complete a Masters in Molecular and Cellular Biology and Magister in Pharmacology before embarking on a PhD in Biological Science at the University of Nice. Following this, Lydia carried out postdoctoral research at both the National Institute for Medical Research and Institute of Cancer Research.

Lydia feels privileged to have carved out a career in the field of molecular biology, which has been in perpetual revolution since the beginning of her career and continues to feed her curiosity.

Lydia’s group has consistently implemented current and new laboratory protocols on a large scale to offer molecular services to the research community. In particular, she is driven by the advances in the area of functional genomics, such as new methods to modify the genome, capturing the complexity of large numbers of individual genomes and the acquisition and mining of large phenotyping datasets (from the cellular to the population level).


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