Francis Crick Institute group leader Veronica Kinsler has been awarded a flagship National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Research Professorship, receiving £1.88 million for research into targeted therapies for congenital melanocytic naevi and melanoma.
The NIHR professorship award aims to promote effective translation of research and strengthen public health and care research leadership.
Veronica Kinsler, group leader of the Mosaicism and Precision Medicine Laboratory, is one of five researchers to recently be awarded this prestigious professorship. There are now 54 leading health and care researchers who have received this highly competitive award.
Her research focuses on congenital melanocytic naevus (CMN) syndrome, a rare disorder of extensive moles on the skin from birth, abnormalities of the brain and an increased risk of the skin cancer melanoma. This condition is untreatable, and where melanoma arises in childhood, it is currently universally fatal.
The focus of Veronica’s NIHR Professorship is to continue to develop novel targeted and personalised therapies for CMN syndrome, using knowledge of the genetic basis of the condition that her lab have developed over the years. Due to similarities between the genetics of CMN and both common moles and melanoma, the targeted therapies they hope to develop during this programme could also help treat skin cancers.
Veronica says: “This grant success is the result of hard work from the whole lab team over recent years, and earlier funding from Caring Matters Now charity and the Wellcome Trust. We are delighted that the NIHR have chosen to support this work – this is the first NIHR Research Professorship in the field of Dermatology, and one of very few in rare disease. Most importantly, the grant offers hope of treatments to patients with CMN syndrome and their families.”
NIHR awards are open to researchers from any professional background, with awards made to health economists, statisticians, engineers and psychologists in previous rounds. Worth up to £2 million over five years, successful applicants for the Research Professorships benefit from a package of extensive support, including a leadership and development programme and the opportunity to request a sabbatical.