Professor Mel Greaves
Faculty Team Leader and Founding Director
Professor Mel Greaves trained in evolutionary biology and zoology (BSc) and immunology (PhD) at University College London and at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm before focusing his research on cancer and leukaemia in the mid-1970s at the Imperial Cancer Research Fund in London.
In 1984, he established the Centre for Cell and Molecular Biology of Leukaemia at The Institute of Cancer Research, London. In 2013, he founded the ICR's Centre for Evolution and Cancer. His laboratory has a longstanding interest in uncovering the natural history, evolutionary biology and causation of childhood leukaemia.
They have used twins with concordant leukaemia, archived neonatal blood spots and frozen cord blood to trace back the origins of leukaemia to its earliest stages and its initiating lesions. They also use single cell genetics and xeno-transplantation to determine clonal architecture, phylogeny and the genetic diversity of stem cells.
In collaboration with epidemiologists, they have pursued an evolutionary ‘mismatch’ hypothesis that explains the role of infections in triggering childhood leukaemia.
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