Mark Blaxter leads the Sanger’s Tree of Life programme, which is generating and analyzing reference genome sequences from many thousands of species across the tree of life. The initial focus has been on the eukaryotic biota of Britain and Ireland (Darwin Tree of Life Project), the genomes of symbiotic organisms (Aquatic Symbiosis Genomics project) and international initiatives under the umbrella of the Earth BioGenome Project. His research portfolio focuses on the genomics of neglected, non-model organisms and the interpretation of those genomes in ecological and evolutionary contexts (including, inter alia, parasitic and free living nematodes, tardigrades, gastropod and bivalve molluscs, butterflies, bees, flies, birds, algae, fungi and bacteria). Before joining Sanger, he was Professor of Evolutionary Genomics in the University of Edinburgh, where his research portfolio focussed on the genomics of neglected, non-model organisms, and the interpretation of those genomes in ecological and evolutionary contexts. He is a highly cited author with over 250 refereed papers. He is a fellow of the Linnaean Society of London, of the Helminthological Society of Washington, of the Royal Society for Biology and was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh in 2014.