New Institute Director appointed

We are delighted to announce that Professor Owen Sansom has been appointed as the next Director of the Cancer Research UK Beatson Institute, with immediate effect. Owen has been Interim Director for the past year, since the departure of Karen Vousden to take up the role of Chief Scientist of CRUK. Everyone at the Beatson Institute joins in congratulating Owen on this appointment and looks forward to working with him to drive the Institute to ever greater levels of success.


Profile of Professor Sansom

In a research career spanning just 16 years, Owen has already published over 235 papers and made major contributions to understanding some of the key molecular drivers of epithelial cancer.

Owen received his PhD from the University of Edinburgh in 2001 before continuing his postdoctoral research using in vivo models of cancer at the University of Cardiff. In 2005, he established his own laboratory at the CRUK Beatson Institute in Glasgow. Since then, Owen has been instrumental in determining the molecular hallmarks of colorectal cancer. This has included defining the roles of the tumour suppressor protein APC and the WNT signalling pathway as well as the involvement of intestinal stem cells in tumourigenesis. His laboratory uses both in vivo and 3D in vitro models to recapitulate colorectal and pancreatic cancers to investigate the molecular mechanisms underpinning tumourigenesis and to identify novel drug targets. More recently, Owen's work in pancreatic cancer has focused on using in vivo models to stratify patient therapy and to understand how combinatorial therapies targeting both the tumour and surrounding tissues may lead to better therapies.

Owen has also played an important leadership and management role at the CRUK Beatson Institute, particularly in ensuring its researchers are able to access the most sophisticated genetically engineered models of cancer. In 2011, he was appointed Deputy Director of the Institute and has been acting as Interim Director since July 2016. He also leads the CRUK Glasgow Centre, which aims to translate findings from the laboratory into the clinic for the benefit of cancer patients.

In 2007, Owen won the BACR/AstraZeneca Young Scientist Frank Rose Award in recognition of his contributions to translational cancer research and in 2012 he was awarded the CRUK Future Leaders in Cancer Research Prize for his outstanding achievements. He was also elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh in 2012 and a Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences in 2017.


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