Bill Ollier is Professor of Immunogenetics at Manchester University and is based in the Centre for Integrated Genomic Medical Research within Population Health. He also currently holds the position of Director of R&D for Salford Royal NHS Foundation Trust. He is an honorary Professor at the University of Salford and has previously held Visiting Professorships at UC SanDiego USA and in the University of Liverpool.
He graduated from the University College of Wales, Aberystwyth in 1973 with a BSc in Zoology and was awarded a PhD from the University of London in 1980 for his research into renal transplant rejection. He was made a Fellow of the Royal College of Pathologists in 2000.
He moved from the Royal London Hospital Medical College to the University of Manchester in 1988 to establish genetic epidemiology laboratories within the internationally renowned Arthritis Research Campaign’s Epidemiology Research Unit. Professor Ollier’s research has now spanned over 40 years and he has over 600 peer reviewed research publications. His research has focused on tissue compatibility and the genetic basis of immune response. He was Chairman of the British Society for Histocompatibility and Immunogenetics between 1994 to 1999.
Over the last 20 years Professor Ollier’s research interests have focused on investigating the genetic basis of common complex disorders. These have centred primarily on rheumatic, inflammatory, autoimmune and neurocognitive disorders. He has also been a pioneer of using genetic studies of diseases in pedigree domestic dog breeds to provide a comparative approach to identifying human homologous disease genes.
Professor Ollier was one of a small number of UK scientists who proposed the initiation of a new large UK longitudinal health cohort to study the contributions of genes and environmental factors to the development of common diseases. This evolved into UK Biobank and he has maintained a close input into this initiative through his long-term role on the UK Biobank Board of Directors. He was also a founder Board member of the international Public Population Projects in Genomics (P3G) and he has played a major role in a number of major international longitudinal health studies.