Wolf Reik to head Altos Institute of Science in Cambridge

Wolf Reik to head Altos Institute of Science in Cambridge

Wolf Reik to head Altos Institute of Science in Cambridge

Key points:

  • Professor Wolf Reik will move to lead the new Altos Cambridge Institute of Science.
  • Professor Reik has spent 34 years at the Institute, serving as Head of the Epigenetics Programme from 2008-2020 and as Acting Director and then Director from 2020-2021.

An announcement by Altos Labs today launches the new life science company and describes its executive team and its three Institutes of Science, including the Altos Cambridge Institute which will be led by Professor Wolf Reik, FRS, FMedSci.

Professor Reik is a leading expert in the epigenetics field and has led a research team at the Institute since 1987, holding the position of Head of the Institute’s Epigenetics Programme from 2008-2020. During his time at the Institute he has also held wider leadership positions, most recently Acting Director and then Director of the Institute.

Professor Reik stepped down as Institute Director in July 2021 and will take up his position at Altos later this year.

Dr Simon Cook, Interim Director of the Babraham Institute said: “Whilst we are sorry to say goodbye to Wolf, we are excited to see him step into this new endeavour, which seeks to build on new understanding of the fundamental principles of human biology to improve health and wellbeing. As scientists committed to that aim, we can’t fail to be excited by this opportunity and we wish Wolf every success.”


Professor Reik biography

Professor Reik originally qualified as a medic at the University of Hamburg and undertook his MD thesis with Rudolf Jaenisch. In 1985 he joined Azim Surani’s lab at the AFRC Animal Research Station in Cambridge as an EMBO Fellow. Wolf’s career at the Babraham Institute (then named the Institute of Animal Physiology) started in 1987 when a 6-year fellowship from the Lister Institute of Preventive Medicine allowed him to establish his first independent research group and he became a group leader at the Institute in 1989.

Professor Reik held the position of Head of the Institute’s Epigenetics Programme from 2008-2020, was Associate Director from 2004-2020, and Acting Director and then Director of the Institute from 2020-2021.

In addition to his role at the Institute, Professor Reik is also associate faculty at the Wellcome Sanger Institute and Cambridge Stem Cell Institute, Honorary Professor of Epigenetics at the University of Cambridge and a member of the Centre for Trophoblast Research, University of Cambridge.

Professor Reik is a member of EMBO and the Academia Europaea (elected in 2003 and 2011, respectively), and a Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences (2003) and of the Royal Society (2010).



Press contact:

Dr Louisa Wood, Head of Communications, on louisa.wood@babraham.ac.uk due to working remotely

For Altos Labs: Morgan Warners, morgan.warners@fgh.com

Image description:

Professor Wolf Reik. Image courtesy of Keith Heppell and the Cambridge Independent.

Additional/related resources:

Read the announcement from Altos Labs: Altos Labs launches with the goal to transform medicine through cellular rejuvenation programming

Reik lab research pages

Latest Reik lab research news: 6 September 2021, The Spatial Mouse Atlas: new insights into cell fate

News, 2 July 2021: Professor Wolf Reik steps down as Institute Director

About the Babraham Institute

The Babraham Institute undertakes world-class life sciences research to generate new knowledge of biological mechanisms underpinning ageing, development and the maintenance of health. Our research focuses on cellular signalling, gene regulation and the impact of epigenetic regulation at different stages of life. By determining how the body reacts to dietary and environmental stimuli and manages microbial and viral interactions, we aim to improve wellbeing and support healthier ageing. The Institute is strategically funded by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC), part of UK Research and Innovation, through Institute Strategic Programme Grants and an Institute Core Capability Grant and also receives funding from other UK research councils, charitable foundations, the EU and medical charities.


The Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) is part of UK Research and Innovation, a non-departmental public body funded by a grant-in-aid from the UK government.

BBSRC invests in world-class bioscience research and training on behalf of the UK public. Our aim is to further scientific knowledge, to promote economic growth, wealth and job creation and to improve quality of life in the UK and beyond.

Funded by government, BBSRC invested £451 million in world-class bioscience in 2019-20. We support research and training in universities and strategically funded institutes. BBSRC research and the people we fund are helping society to meet major challenges, including food security, green energy and healthier, longer lives. Our investments underpin important UK economic sectors, such as farming, food, industrial biotechnology and pharmaceuticals.