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Dr Andrea Sottoriva wins Cancer Research UK Future Leaders in Cancer Research Prize

Dr Andrea Sottoriva's Cancer Research UK Future Leader prize is announced at NCRI 2016


Dr Andrea Sottoriva has been awarded a Cancer Research UK Future Leaders in Cancer Research Prize at this year’s National Cancer Research Institute (NCRI) Conference in Liverpool.

This prize recognises scientists early in their career whose significant contribution to cancer research demonstrates their potential to become world-class leaders in their field.

Dr Sottoriva, Leader of the Evolution Genomics and Modelling Team and the Chris Rokos Fellow in Evolution and Cancer at The Institute of Cancer Research, London, was nominated for his cutting-edge research at the ICR, which uses genomics and computational approaches to understand how evolutionary principles drive cancer growth.

Dr Sottoriva’s lab is developing highly original mathematical and computational models to study cancer’s complex behaviour. These models could help doctors predict how a tumour is likely to evolve, and what treatments are best to stop it.

Nominated by peers

The Cancer Research UK Future Leaders in Cancer Research Prize recognises the very best researchers at the start of their careers.

Nominated by their peers and selected by an international panel of judges, the winners of this prize have produced research of international importance within 10 years of receiving their doctorate, and proved themselves capable of becoming leaders in the field.

Dr Sottoriva studied degrees in computer science and computational modelling in Italy and the Netherlands before completing a PhD in cancer genomics at the University of Cambridge in 2012.

He joined the ICR’s Centre for Evolution and Cancer in 2013, where his research focuses on using multi-disciplinary approaches incorporating mathematical modelling to understand cancer as a complex system driven by evolutionary principles.


Professor Mel Greaves, Director of the Centre for Evolution and Cancer at the ICR, nominated Dr Sottoriva for the award. In a video message played to the conference, he said: "In a nutshell, there are three reasons why I think Dr Andrea Sottoriva is well deserved of winning this prestigious award.

"Firstly he has an infectious enthusiasm for his subject. He's inspirational for all those who work with him - both young students and post-docs and senior researchers such as myself. Secondly, he's a superb communicator, both to the lay public and his peers. And thirdly, he thinks outside of the box, he's a very very creative thinker, which is why his research is transformational and not just incremental. I'm very confident Andrea has a glittering future as a leader in cancer research."

The announcement was made alongside the award of the Lifetime Achievement in Cancer Research Prize to Professor Stan Kaye, Consultant Medical Oncologist at The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust and Emeritus Professor at the ICR, for his lifelong commitment to early-phase clinical trials.

Watch: Professor Stan Kaye reacts to receiving the Lifetime Achievement in Cancer Research Prize from Cancer Research UK.

Dr Sottoriva was one of three researchers to be honoured with the Cancer Research UK Future Leaders in Cancer Research Prize at the NCRI 2016 prize ceremony.

Dr Georgios Lyratzopoulos from University College London and Dr Florian Markowetz at the Cancer Research UK Cambridge Institute were also awarded prizes.

Dr Sottoriva was unable to attend the ceremony because of the birth of his daughter, so Professor Paul Workman, Chief Executive of the ICR, accepted the prize in his absence and praised Andrea’s research to uncover how cancer evolves.

The ceremony concluded with a plenary session from Professor Kaye, in which he reflected upon his groundbreaking 40 year research career.

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