Scientist in charge: Frances Balkwill
I am Professor of Cancer Biology at Barts Cancer Institute, Queen Mary University of London where I lead the Centre for Cancer and Inflammation. I study the links between cancer and inflammation being especially interested in translating knowledge of cancer biology into new biological treatments for cancer, and in the role that inflammatory cytokines play in cancer promotion. My main disease focus is serous ovarian cancer. Fran runs a research centre of approximately 35 scientists, postgraduate students and clinicians. The Centre is divided into three groups, Cytokines and Cancer led by Fran, Tumour Microenvironment led by Clinician Scientist Thorsten Hagemann, and a B cell Biology Group run by Melania Capasso.
I am an author on over 235 scientific papers and reviews and has written and edited a number of academic books on her subject. In 2006 she was made a Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences, being elected a member of its Council later in the same year. Fran is a frequent plenary and keynote speaker at international meetings such as Gordon and Keystone conferences and the American Association for Cancer Research, AACR.
I am also actively involved in communication of science to non-specialist audiences, especially young people. I am Director of the Centre of the Cell, a £4 million biomedical science centre for children, educational website and outreach project in East London. There have been more than 84,000 participants in Centre of the Cell activities since opening in September 2009. Centre of the Cell received the 2010 Museums and Heritage Award for the best educational initiative on the UK and the 2012 EngageU award for best European University Public Engagement work. My science communication work has been recognised by the award of the 2004 EMBO prize for communication in the Life Sciences and the 2005 Royal Society Michael Faraday Prize, in recognition of Fran’s ‘outstanding work in communicating the concepts, facts and fascination of science in a way that appeals to children of all ages backgrounds and nationalities, while at the same time maintaining a distinguished research career’. In 2009 I was awarded an Honorary Fellowship of the British Science Association.
Together with illustrator/designer Mic Rolph, I have also written thirteen science books for children on cell and molecular biology with titles such as Enjoy Your Cells and The Egg and Sperm Race. These books have been translated into at least twelve foreign languages with over half a million copies sold worldwide.
I am a non-parliamentary board member of the Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology, POST, Chair of UAR (Understanding Animal Research) and serves on Breakthrough Breast Cancer, MRC and ERC grant committees. In 2008 I was awarded an OBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list.
Early Stage Researcher: Eleonora Li Causi (Italy)
Appointed from 1 July 2013 till 1 July 2016
Early Stage Researcher: Agata Krygowska (Poland)
Appointed from 1 August 2013 till 1 August 2016