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John Burn: Pet hate is risk averse bureaucracy

BMJ 2013; 347 doi: (Published 14 November 2013) Cite this as: BMJ 2013;347:f6736


John Burn, 61, put clinical genetics on the map in his native northeast England, and his eloquence makes him an inspiring cheerleader for the subject. He set up the first consultant led service in Newcastle upon Tyne in 1984 and later (with others) created the Centre for Life in the city. His research now focuses on hereditary cancer, particularly Lynch syndrome (hereditary non-polyposis colorectal cancer), and his team has shown that aspirin can halve the risk of cancer in carriers of the gene. He also plays drums in a rock band.

What was your earliest ambition?

As a child, to be like my dad . . . and be able to drive the car. I used to sit on his knee to steer in our back street. Professionally, …

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