Expert opinion: Professor Karen Vousden, CRUK Chief Scientist

Professor Karen Vousden, our former Director, is featured on Cancer Research UK's science blog talking about her new role as CRUK chief scientist and what she thinks will be the hot topics in research over the next 10 years.
Read the article here:

Karen Vousden appointed chief scientist

We are delighted to announce that Professor Karen Vousden has been appointed Cancer Research UK's new chief scientist, succeeding Professor Nic Jones. As chief scientist, she will be responsible for overseeing CRUK's scientific research, with a particular focus on the importance of fundamental science in developing new cancer treatments. See CRUK press release here.

Sadly, however, this means Karen will be stepping down from her role as director of the Beatson Institute, a post she has held since 2003. She will also be moving her research group to the Francis Crick Institute early next year. Meanwhile, until a new director is appointed, our current deputy director, Professor Owen Sansom will be leading the Institute.

During the past 13 years, Karen has overseen a considerable expansion of the Institute, including the move to a new, state-of-the-art building in 2008. This has enabled a number of excellent research groups focused on key aspects of cancer biology to be established here and allowed the Institute to become an internationally renowned research centre of the highest quality. Karen has also continued to run a world-leading research programme studying the tumour suppressor gene p53 and been instrumental in the establishment of the CRUK Glasgow Centre, encompassing different aspects of cancer research across the city.

Karen will be much missed by everyone here but we wish her every success in her new role and look forward to continuing interactions with her.



Professor Laura Machesky, head of the Migration, Invasion & Metastasis Laboratory, who has been elected as a Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences: Laura's group aims to understand the control and mechanisms of actin assembly in various normal and cancer cells.

Group Leader honoured

The Beatson is delighted to announce that one of its senior group leaders, Professor Kevin Ryan has been elected to become a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh. Kevin is head of the Tumour Cell Death Laboratory, which focuses on understanding the factors regulating cell viability in cancer.

A full list of 2016 RSE Elected Fellows can be found here:

SEARCHBreast Showcase

The Beatson Institute was delighted to be the venue for a recent workshop, hosted by SEARCHBreast, which showcased the contributions of complex models to breast cancer research. Speakers included Mohamed Bentires-Alj (Basel), Jos Jonkers (Amsterdam), Rob Clarke (Manchester), Matt Smalley (Cardiff), Val Brunton (Edinburgh) and Ingunn Holen (Sheffield). Kirsteen Campbell, Alessandra Riggio and Nicholas Rooney from nthe Institute, along with early career researchers from throughout the UK, also presented their work.

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More details of SEARCHBreast, a resource to facilitate sharing of archived material derived from in vivo breast cancer models, can be found here:

La Fondation La Roche-Posay publication award

Congratulations to dermatologist Dr Andy Muinonen-Martin who has received a La Fondation La Roche-Posay publication award for his PLOS Biology paper 'Melanoma cells break down LPA to establish local gradients that drive chemotactic dispersal' ( Andy was funded by a Wellcome Trust clinical research fellowship while working on this project in Prof Rob's Insall's group at the CRUK Beatson Institute.

Cancer spread is particularly prevalent in melanoma, leading to high mortality rates. In this work, Andy and his co-authors sought to understand what drives melanoma cells to migrate out of a tumour with such efficiency and what role, if any chemotaxis (where cells move in response to a chemical stimulus) plays in this. Using a chamber-based assay developed in the lab, they showed that melanoma cell dispersal occurs by positive chemotaxis as a result of outward-facing lysophosphatidic acid (LPA) gradients. Importantly, cells in vivo and in culture generate these gradients themselves by breaking down LPA. This led the authors to conclude that melanoma drives its own metastasis.

Annoucement of prize:


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Read more about the Research Groups working at the Beatson Institute.



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Find out more about our seminars including our Distinguished Seminar Programme.