Robert Brown is Professor of Translational Oncology and has a joint post between Imperial College London and The Institute of Cancer Research (ICR). He is Principal Investigator of the Cancer Research UK research programme, Pharmacodynamics and Drug Resistance, and is Co-Principal Investigator in the Ovarian Cancer Action Research Centre.
Professor Brown works on epigenetics and drug resistance research, with a particular focus on ovarian cancer. Working closely with clinical trials groups, in particular the Scottish Gynaecological Clinical Trials Group, he and his team have shown that in ovarian cancer, aberrant DNA methylation and epigenetic silencing of genes in tumours before chemotherapy can predict response to chemotherapy, while acquired methylation of other genes at the time of relapse following chemotherapy is associated with patient survival. He facilitates preclinical analysis and clinical trials of compounds which can reverse epigenetic silencing, and is using molecular biomarker assays to aid the clinical use of these compounds. Furthermore, he is identifying cancer specific epigenetic changes and developing novel compounds which target these changes. Recently, he has initiated studies on identifying such targets in ovarian tumour stem/sustaining cells.
He is a member of the Cancer Research UK New Agents Committee, Cancer Research UK Biomarker & Imaging Discovery & Development Committee, and the Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research Clinical Trials Committee. He is also Chair of the National Cancer Research Institute (NCRI) Biomarker and Imaging Clinical Studies Group.
He graduated from Edinburgh University with a BSc in Biological Sciences and did his PhD at the Medical Research Council (MRC) Radiobiology Unit, Harwell. Following a Postdoctoral Fellowship at the German Cancer Research Centre Heidelberg, he worked at the Beatson Laboratories Glasgow for many years, becoming Director of Laboratory Research in the Centre for Oncology and Applied Pharmacology, Glasgow University, before moving to his current post.