Gordon Peters 1948-2016

It is with great sadness that we report the death of Gordon Peters, a stalwart of the former LRI's Lincoln's Inn Fields laboratories, from oesophageal cancer.  

Gordon was an undergraduate at Aberdeen, completing his doctoral thesis on T7 transcription with Richard Hayward at Edinburgh in 1974. He joined Robin Weiss' RNA Tumour Virus section at the ICRF in early 1977, after postdoctoral work with Jim Dahlberg on the priming mechanism of retrovirus reverse transcription. Here began what was to be a long collaborative partnership and lifelong friendship with Clive Dickson.

Studying transformation by mouse mammary tumour virus (MMTV), Gordon and Clive identified a common proviral integration locus, int-2, later identified as FGF-3, as a mediator of MMTV-induced transformation. Further study of the MMTV system allowed them to uncover some of the first evidence for oncogene cooperation in an animal model. They went on to demonstrate MuLV proviral insertions at the cyclin D1 locus in mouse lymphomas, one of a number of studies demonstrating that the cell cycle regulator cyclin D1 can function as an oncogene.

Gordon built on this finding, devoting the rest of his career to the study of cyclin dependent kinases and their inhibitors, particularly the INK4a/ARF locus, and their role in transformation and senescence. His studies of human INK4a-deficient cells demonstrated that unlike in mice, senescence is dependent on INK4a but not ARF. He retired in 2013.

Gordon was quietly spoken, rigorous and meticulous, and throughout his time at LIF was a generous and supportive mentor to many postdocs and grad students, both in his lab and others'. His encyclopaedic knowledge of tumour virology, cell cycle regulation, and oncogenesis meant that he was always in demand to provide an opinion about any new or contentious finding, which he unfailingly did in an objective manner, often leavened with his dry Scots humour.

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