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Eminent cancer researchers elected to Royal Society Fellowship

Two world-leading scientists at The Institute of Cancer Research, London, have been made Fellows of the Royal Society – one of the greatest honours in UK science.

Professor Paul Workman, Chief Executive of the ICR, and Professor Jonathon Pines, Head of Cancer Biology, have been elected for their outstanding contributions to cancer research.

Election to the Royal Society Fellowship is one of the highest accolades a researcher can receive and recognises individuals for their scientific excellence and substantial contributions to research endeavours.

The election of two Fellows in one year is also a reflection of the quality of the ICR’s research – ranging from the fundamentals of cancer biology, led by Professor Pines, to the discovery of new treatments, which is Professor Workman’s expertise.

Professor Workman is the ICR’s Chief Executive. He has been a pioneer in the field of targeted cancer drugs, is a passionate advocate of personalised molecular medicine and is an enthusiastic practitioner of multidisciplinary cancer drug discovery and team science.

He has successfully built drug discovery teams in the academic, pharmaceutical and biotechnology sectors, and has driven the discovery of numerous drugs and chemical probes, including inhibitors of protein kinases, PI3 kinase and the molecular chaperone Hsp90.

Professor Workman said: “This is a wonderful recognition of the work of members of my lab team at the ICR, together with the contributions made by numerous colleagues and collaborators who have worked with me over my career. I'd also like to thank the admin and facilities staff whose contribution to science often goes unrecognised, and all those who have funded and supported the ICR and my own research. Most importantly, thanks to my wife and family for their invaluable support.

“I’m also very happy to see this recognition of the science of drug discovery, and the importance of multidisciplinary team science.”

'Deeply honoured'

Professor Pines is Head of the ICR’s Division of Cancer Biology. His research focuses on understanding how cells divide – in particular how the machinery that controls cell division is regulated in different parts of the cell over time.

He was the first to clone cyclin B – an essential protein that regulates how cells divide – and has rigorously explored how cells regulate cell division to find new ways to target cancer.

Professor Pines said: “I am deeply honoured to be elected to the Royal Society. Reflecting on this, I am exceedingly grateful to my mentors who set me on my scientific path and continued to offer their critical but generous guidance, my colleagues who helped and encouraged me to strike out in new directions, and my team, whose achievements this honour recognises. It also highlights the vital contribution that fundamental science makes to cancer research.”

Luke Johnson, Chairman of the ICR, said: “These two elections to the Royal Society Fellowship in one year highlight outstanding scientific achievement, and are an endorsement of the ICR’s excellence across the breadth of cancer research, from fundamental cancer biology to the discovery of novel cancer treatments.

“Both of these scientists are driving forces behind our next research strategy; Professor Workman as our Chief Executive and Professor Pines as the leader of our programme of fundamental cancer research. It bodes well for our aim to exploit our knowledge of cancer biology to create innovative treatments for patients.”

The Fellowship of the Royal Society is made up of the most eminent scientists, engineers and technology experts across the UK and the Commonwealth. Each year, the Royal Society elects up to 52 new Fellows chosen from all sectors of science. 

The ICR now has four Fellows of the Royal Society among current staff, with Professor Mel Greaves, Director of the Centre for Evolution and Cancer, and Professor Julian Downward, who has a joint post between the ICR and The Francis Crick Institute, being the others. In addition, Professor Peter Rigby, the ICR’s Professor Emeritus of Developmental Biology, is also a Fellow.


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