Image: Professor Kristian Helin and Professor Trevor Graham
Professor Kristian Helin, Chief Executive at the ICR, London, and Professor Trevor Graham, Director of the ICR's Centre for Evolution and Cancer, have been awarded prestigious Fellowships by the Academy of Medical Sciences (AMS).
Each year, the AMS Fellowship recognises scientists who have made outstanding contributions to medicine and society through their research in a range of scientific fields. Professor Helin and Professor Graham join 58 other biomedical and health researchers across the UK who have been elected as Fellows based on their demonstration of scientific excellence and ability to advance understanding and improve public health around the world.
Benefiting increasingly more people with cancer
Professor Helin joined the ICR as Chief Executive in 2021. He has been at the forefront of research into the function of epigenetic proteins in normal cells and cancer, with his Epigenetics and Cancer lab at the ICR focused on how chromatin-associated proteins and other epigenetic factors regulate cellular processes and cancer, particularly in acute myeloid leukaemia (AML).
His discoveries have included the first identification and cloning of the E2F transcription factor, the identification of the JmjC family of lysine demethylases, and the identification of novel targets for AML therapies.
Prior to joining the ICR, Professor Helin was the Chair of Cell Biology and Director of the Center for Epigenetics Research at the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York. He was founding Director of the Biotech Research and Innovation Centre (BRIC) in Copenhagen for more than 15 years, aiding its development into a leading research centre of excellence, and in that time set up the BRIC's Center for Epigenetics.
Professor Helin said: "The election to the Academy of Medical Sciences Fellowship presents a fantastic opportunity to work with other leading researchers to further our understanding of the complex health issues we are facing globally. It's great that the ICR can continue its involvement with the Academy, both through Fellowships from this year and previous years, and I'm proud that our research is helping to make important contributions to benefit increasingly more people with cancer."
Recognising interdisciplinary cancer research
As the new Director of the Centre for Evolution and Cancer at the ICR, Professor Graham oversees the Centre's goals to uncover why we develop cancer and how it evolves to make treatment so difficult. Professor Graham also leads the Genomics and Evolutionary Dynamics Team, which studies how to improve the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of cancer by harnessing evolutionary principles and computation.
Previously Professor Graham worked at the Cancer Research UK Barts Cancer Institute at Queen Mary University of London, where he headed its Evolution and Cancer lab – the first at the institute to be led by mathematical theory. Among his research focuses are the evolutionary dynamics of colon cancer development and the prevention of drug resistance, using an interdisciplinary approach that includes evolutionary theory, mathematical modelling and bioinformatics.
Professor Graham said: "I'm delighted to be elected a Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences and to have our interdisciplinary cancer research recognised in this way. I look forward to working with the Academy, especially in their efforts to support early career researchers."
Professor Helin and Professor Graham will be formally admitted to the AMS as Fellows on 27 June.