July 1, 1952

(Edmonton, Alberta)


BMSc, University of Alberta (1975)
BM, BCh, Magdalen College, Oxford University (1979)
DM, Magdalen College, Oxford University (1980)

Awards & Honours:

2023: The Order of the Companion of Honour

2018: Personalised Medicine World Conference Award Silicon Valley

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John Bell

Pioneered advances in the era of translational research, bringing groundbreaking laboratory discoveries into the world of practical medicine

John Bell

Sir John Bell is the second Canadian, after the distinguished Sir William Osler, to occupy the prestigious Regius Professorship of Medicine at the University of Oxford. He is universally recognized as one of the leading figures in translational medicine, transforming scientific discoveries into treatments by turning “biomedical molecules into medicine.” A thought leader advancing interactions between the academic sector, industry and government, Sir John has advised Prime Ministers and governments in both Britain and Canada. He helped identify genes involved in susceptibility to diabetes mellitus, rheumatoid arthritis, and multiple sclerosis, and has elucidated T cell surface interactions involved in immune activation. He has worked on biomedical applications of genomic technologies in clinical settings and helped to develop the 100,000 genome project for Genomics England. He chaired the oversight committee for developing a Coronavirus vaccine at Oxford’s Edward Jenner Institute, founded the Wellcome Trust Centre for Human Genetics, built an entire research campus at Oxford, and has championed progressive government science policy. Sir John, described as “Chief Architect of Government Strategy for Life Sciences,” has helped bridge the worlds of pure research and clinical medicine for the betterment of world health.

Key Facts

Founded The Wellcome Trust Centre for Human Genetics in 1993, with the goal of studying the molecular basis of inherited susceptibilities to common human diseases

Founding Member of The Academy of Medical Sciences and President from 2006-2011

In 2002 became 29th Regius Professor of Medicine at Oxford University, the second Canadian to occupy this position after Sir William Osler (1905-1919)

Government Life Sciences Champion spearheading translational research between academic scientists and industry

Chair of the Scientific Advisory Committee of the Gates Foundation (2012-2020)

Founding director of three biotechnology start up companies

Professional timeline

Impact on lives today

Sir John Bell has been a proponent and champion of translational research, the drive to bring laboratory research into the service of identified and immediate human needs in the management of disease and the promotion of health. He has helped to coordinate research institutions, industry, and government in the development of life-changing and life-saving new technologies and treatments for diseases ranging from autoimmune conditions to infectious pathogens such as malaria and the Coronaviruses. The goal of translational research is to expedite the process of deriving treatments from basic research, delivering targeted innovations in health care from bench to bedside. Sir Bell has been a driving force in this still-evolving biomedical field integrating advanced research and point-of-patient care to enhance human health today.

John Bell


  • Headshot of Sir John Bell

    John Bell inducted into the Canadian Medical Hall of Fame

  • Joins the Gates Foundation Global Health Advisory Board

    Sir Bell works with a committee of his distinguished peers to provide independent assessments of the strategies and results of this wide-ranging and influential charitable initiative.

  • President of the Academy of Medical Sciences

    Sir Keith Peters, Emeritus Regius Professor of Physic, University of Cambridge, has said of Sir Bell’s presidency of the AMS that Bell became, during his tenure, the “widely esteemed recognised voice of medical research in the UK”.

  • Sir John Bell is appointed Regius Professor of Medicine, Oxford University

    Leadership in Organizational Development

    He is the second Canadian, after Sir William Osler (1905-1919) to occupy this prestigious position.

  • Academy of Medical Sciences Bldg

    Founding Member of The Academy of Medical Sciences

  • Sir John Bell founds The Wellcome Trust Centre for Human Genetics at Oxford University

    Leadership in Organizational Development

    With the goal of studying the molecular basis of inherited susceptibilities to common human diseases, research first involved family-based studies and later extended to large scale GWAS (Genome Wide Association Studies) and whole genome sequencing.

  • Is elected to the Nuffield Professorship of Clinical Medicine at Oxford University

  • Begins research fellowship at Stanford University with Dr. Hugh McDevitt

    This research work includes genetics and immunology, particularly in histocompatibility complexes dealing with relationships to genetics and T cell function in autoimmune diseases such Type 1 diabetes, inflammatory bowel diseases, Rheumatoid arthritis and multiple sclerosis.


Chief Architect of Government Strategy for Life Sciences.