Professor Bryan Sykes (1947-2020)

Published on
Friday 11 December 2020
In Memoriam

It is with great sadness that the College has been informed of the death of Professor Byran Sykes (1947-2020), Emeritus Fellow and former Vicegerent, who died on 10 December 2020 aged 73. 

Bryan was a Member of Common Room (1981-85), Research Fellow (1985-88), Governing Body Fellow (1988-2004), Senior Research Fellow (2004-14) and Emeritus Fellow (2014-20). He was Vicegerent from 2004-2006.

Originally a medical geneticist specialising in inherited bone disease, Professor Bryan Sykes had in recent years been researching what DNA can tell us about the human past. His work has encompassed the first recovery of DNA from ancient bone, the colonisation of Polynesia, the fate of the Neanderthals, the early settlement of Britain and the link between genetics and surnames. He was the founder and chairman of University spin-out, Oxford Ancestors, which helps individuals explore their genetic roots using DNA.