Currently Head of Cancer and Immunogenetics Laboratory at the Weatherall Institute of Molecular Medicine since 1996. I have a BA in mathematics and did my Ph.D. in population genetics under Sir Ronald Fisher at Cambridge University. I then did post- doctoral work in molecular biology under Joshua Lederberg at Stanford and then was on the faculty of the Genetics Department in the Stanford University Medical School from 1962 until 1970, ending up as a Full Professor. I returned to England in 1970 to become Professor of Genetics at Oxford University, and then in 1979 became Director of Research, and later Director General, of the Imperial Cancer Research Fund. I was Principal of Hertford College Oxford from 1996-2005. In 1974 I was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society, a Foreign Member (now International Member) of the US National Academy of Sciences in 1981 and was Knighted in 1986 for my contributions to science. I was amongst the earliest to suggest the human genome project and in 2013 was awarded a Royal Medal from the Royal Society for seminal contributions to population genetics, gene mapping and understanding of familial genetic disease.

Research Interests

My current major research interests are in (i) the fundamental genetics and biology of colorectal cancer and their potential applications, and ii) the characterisation and population distribution of genetic diversity in human populations. My laboratory uses a panel of well characterised colorectal cancer (CRTC) derived cell lines to study the molecular basis of control of differentiation in CRC and explore the nature of the tumour micro- environment using mesenchymal and other normal cells derived from biopsy material. We are also developing T cell attracting bispecific monoclonal antibodies for CRC immunotherapy. I have recently written on models that relate the ageing process to cancer and which predict the reasons for the decline in function of adult tissue stem cells. Another long standing area is effective study of complex human multifactorial diseases and the approaches need to find their molecular basis.

Membership Type

International Member

Election Year


Primary Section

Section 41: Medical Genetics, Hematology, and Oncology

Secondary Section

Section 26: Genetics