Interview with Professor Gareth Sanger conducted by Professor Tilli Tansey, for the History of Modern Biomedicine Research Group, 08 December 2016, in the School of History, Queen Mary University of London. Transcribed by Mrs Debra Gee, and edited by Professor Tilli Tansey and Dr Apostolos Zarros.
Professor Gareth Sanger BSc PhD DSc FBPhS FRSB (b. 1953) received his BSc and PhD degrees in physiology from the Universities of Newcastle and Manchester (1974 and 1977), later returning to Manchester to be awarded his DSc in 1998. He worked as a postdoctoral fellow at King’s College Hospital Medical School, London, where he was among the first to examine the functions of some of the newly discovered prostanoids on the human isolated gut. A move to industrial research led to his identification of a novel serotonin (5-HT) receptor-mediated function in the gut, later named by others as the 5-HT4 receptor. Parallel research led to the identification of the role of the 5-HT3 receptor in the mechanisms of emesis and to new drugs to treat severe emesis, for which he was jointly awarded the 1998 Discoverers Award by the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA). Within industry he held various roles within the “discovery science” arm of the business, exploring multiple research areas and new drug targets, placing several novel compounds into development. In 2008 he was elected Fellow of the British Pharmacological Society (FBPhS), and in 2009 he joined Queen Mary, University of London as Professor of Neuropharmacology. He was elected Fellow of the Royal Society of Biology (FRSB) in 2013. His research focus is on the use of human gastrointestinal tissues for translational neuropharmacology, the consequences and mechanisms of advanced age on human bowel functions and on the mechanisms of disordered gastric movements during nausea. His first paper after establishing this new laboratory won a “highly commended” award from NC3Rs (National Centre for the Replacement, Refinement & Reduction of Animals in Research) for promoting a culture shift in the use of human tissues for functional research. He has published more than 150 peer-reviewed manuscripts, served on editorial boards, teaches on BSc, MSc and MBBS courses and sits on advisory boards for gastrointestinal (GI) research within the pharmaceutical industry.
The History of Modern Biomedicine Research Group is funded by the Wellcome Trust, which is a registered charity (no. 210183). The current interview has been funded by the Wellcome Trust Strategic Award entitled “Makers of modern biomedicine: testimonies and legacy” (2012-2017; awarded to Professor Tilli Tansey).
The interview is part of the History of the Modern Biomedicine Interviews (Digital Collection).
Access to the transcript of this video interview and its related material:
History of Modern Biomedicine Interviews (Digital Collection), items e2017138-e2017152.
Access to the transcript of a longer, audio interview:
Example of how to cite: Tansey E M (intvr); Yabsley A (prod) (2017) Gareth, Sanger: 01 - A child by the coast; studying marine zoology at Newcastle (08-Dec-2016). History of Modern Biomedicine Interviews (Digital Collection), item e2017139. London: Queen Mary University of London.
Note: Video interviews are conducted following standard oral history methodology, and have received ethical approval (reference QMREC 0642). Video interview transcripts are edited only for clarity and factual accuracy. Related material has been deposited in the Wellcome Library.
© The Trustee of the Wellcome Trust, London, 2017.
Professor Sanger has contributed to Wellcome Witness Seminars on The Discovery, Use and Impact of Platinum Salts as Chemotherapy Agents for Cancer and Drugs Affecting 5-HT Systems.