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Southampton professor announced as new Chair of the Human Genetics Commission

Published: 29 January 2009
Professor Montgomery
The new Chair of the Human Genetics Commission (HGC)

Health and Science Ministers have announced the appointment of Professor Jonathan Montgomery as the new Chair of the Human Genetics Commission (HGC), the independent advisory body on developments in human genetics and their impacts on individuals and society.

Professor Montgomery, professor of Health Care Law at the University of Southampton and Chair of Hampshire Primary Care Trust, has served in non-executive director posts on NHS Trust boards since 1992 and as a Trust Chair from 1998, before moving to chair a Strategic Health Authority from 2004–06. He has also been Chair of the Southampton Local Research Ethics Committee and is the author of a leading textbook on Health Care Law.

Health Minister Dawn Primarolo said: “There is enormous potential benefit from the wider use of genetic science within healthcare, medical research and other important fields. The Human Genetics Commission helps ensure the proper use of this new genetics knowledge.

“I am delighted that Professor Montgomery is going to lead the Commission into a new era of important work, identifying and meeting the ethical challenges in this area.”

Professor Montgomery said: “I am delighted to take up the Chair of the Human Genetics Commission at a time when our understanding of the human genome is beginning to deliver real benefits to individuals and society.

“The Commission is widely respected for the way in which it has identified and considered important issues arising from genetics, and for engaging the public in its deliberations. I look forward to the challenges ahead and to building on the excellent work of Baroness Helena Kennedy and Sir John Sulston.”

The Human Genetics Commission’s members include experts in clinical and research genetics, consumer affairs, ethics, law, industry and those with experience in genetic conditions. Established in 1999, the Commission reports to Health and Science Ministers and the Devolved Administrations of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. A key role of the HGC is to promote public debate.

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