The US National Academy of Sciences (NAS) has elected John Diffley, Associate Research Director at the Francis Crick Institute, as a member in recognition of his distinguished and continuing achievements in cancer research.
The Academy not only honours scientists of distinction, but is also an active, working Academy that addresses important matters in science and provides advice on problems where scientific insights are critical.
Originally from New York, John worked at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory before coming to the UK to start his own research group at Cancer Research UK’s Clare Hall Laboratories and now the Francis Crick Institute, where he helps coordinate the institute’s science leadership.
His research focuses on how cells copy their DNA and how mistakes in this process can lead to cancer. By studying the molecular ‘machines’ that copy DNA in yeast and human cells, his team have discovered many different mechanisms that ensure DNA is accurately copied every time a cell divides.
This work on DNA replication cycles provides important insight into how normal cells divide to keep the body healthy. And what goes wrong when cells divide out of control as cancer develops.
When he was informed of the news, John said: “Mostly, I am just so thankful for the amazing group of scientists who have been through my lab over the past thirty years. They were really responsible for the work that led to this election. It is also very special to be recognised by one’s ‘mother country’. I look forward to celebrating with my lab and my family both here and in the U.S. – probably by zoom!”
Paul Nurse, Director of the Crick said: "Congratulations to John for this much deserved honour. It is very good to see John recognised in this way by the Science Academy of his country of birth.
“I’m pleased that he’ll join colleagues representing the Crick at the forefront of international science leadership.”