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Life Fellow

Hilary Burton is a qualified medical practitioner and Consultant in Public Health Medicine. She was a Consultant in Public Health Medicine and subsequently, from 2010 to 2017, Director of the PHG Foundation, a non-profit organisation with a special focus on how genomic and other technologies can provide more effective personalised healthcare and improve population health http://www.phgfoundation.org/. The organisation is now a linked charity of the University of Cambridge. Now retired, Hilary continues as an Associate at PHG Foundation.

She qualified in medicine at the University of Oxford in 1976, following which she completed postgraduate training in general practice and public health medicine. She worked as a Consultant in Public Health Medicine in Cambridge Health Authority, specialising in children’s health services.

In 1997, she became one of the founder members of the PHG Foundation. This organisation focused on the emerging area of genomics: in particular, its potential use to improve health and health services. The Foundation worked in a multi-disciplinary manner, integrating an understanding of basic molecular research, epidemiology, clinical practice and the many ethical, legal and social issues involved in implementation of genomics. These led to more than 70 policy reports (available on the PHG Foundation website), mainly directed towards UK Government and Department of Health, and making recommendations on the many issues around the use of genomics in medicine and public health.

Hilary’s personal work within the programme included consideration of genetic testing within carrier, antenatal and newborn screening programmes; the introduction of genetic testing within mainstream areas of medicine such as cardiology, ophthalmology and cancer; and the use of genetic susceptibility testing in breast cancer screening. She published more than 60 research publications in these areas. During her time at the PHG Foundation she was closely involved in genomics policy work in the UK. In 2011/2 she sat on the UK Government Human Genomics Strategy Group. She was a member of the UK Genetic Testing Network Clinical and Scientific Advisory Group, the Joint Committee on Genomic Medicine of the Medical Royal Colleges, the Council of the British Society for Genetic Medicine and the Health Education England Genetics Advisory Board.

She became a Fellow of Hughes Hall in 2010. She was a member of College Council and served as Pro-Vice President and Vice President between 2015 and 2020.