The US National Academy of Sciences (NAS) has elected Karen Vousden, Group Leader at the Francis Crick Institute, and Tomas Lindahl, Emeritus Group Leader at the Crick, as Foreign Associates for their continuing achievements in original research.
Election to the National Academy is a rare event for scientists in the UK, and Karen and Tomas' election to the NAS is a wonderful recognition of their work at the Crick and beyond.
Karen's research focuses on the tumour suppressor protein p53, which plays an important role in cancer prevention. Her lab is interested in understanding the role of p53 in metabolism, and finding ways to target these pathways for potential cancer therapies.
When she was informed of the news, Karen said: "I'm delighted to be elected to the National Academy of Sciences, especially alongside Tomas Lindahl who is a scientific hero of mine. The election is a great honor for me and it reflects the hard work and dedication of all the fantastic scientists who have worked with me over the years, and who deserve much of the credit."
Karen conducted her postdoctoral training at the Institute of Cancer Research in London and National Cancer Institute (NCI) in the USA. She then became head of the Human Papillomavirus group at the Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research in London before moving back to the NCI in 1995. In 2002 she returned to the UK to become the Director of the Cancer Research UK Beatson Institute in Glasgow, moving back to London in 2016 to take up the role of Chief Scientist at Cancer Research UK and Group Leader at the Crick.
In her career, Karen has received numerous awards for her work including election to the Royal Society, the Academy of Medical Sciences, EMBO, and the European Academy of Sciences. She was awarded the Royal Medal from the Royal Society of Edinburgh in 2009 and was made a Commander of the British Empire for services to clinical science in 2010.
Tomas was thrilled to be elected as an NAS Foreign Associate, particularly at the same time as Karen, saying: "I have admired her outstandingly successful research and administration in Glasgow, and I am confident she will be doing at least equally well in London."
Tomas has had a long and successful career in the field of DNA damage and repair, culminating in being jointly awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for mechanistic studies of DNA repair in 2015.
After completing his postdoctoral training at Princeton and Rockefeller universities, Tomas became professor of medical chemistry at the University of Gothenburg in 1978. He moved to the UK in 1981 where he joined the Imperial Cancer Research Fund, later re-named Cancer Research UK. He was the first Director of Cancer Research UK's Clare Hall Laboratories from 1986 to 2005 and continued in research until 2009.
Tomas is a fellow of the Royal Society, and won Royal Society's Royal Medal in 2007, the Copley Medal in 2010 and the INSERM Prix Etranger in 2009.
Paul Nurse, Director of the Crick said: "Congratulations to Karen and Tomas on their election to the US-based National Academy of Sciences as a Foreign Associates, a highly distinguished honour. Their respective contributions to the fields of cancer metabolism and DNA repair have been enormous and this accolade recognises their achievements in these areas."
This year the National Academy elected 84 new members and 21 Foreign Associates in recognition of their distinguished and continuing achievements in research. Names were released on 2 May 2018.