Dr Nicholas McGranahan awarded Cancer Research UK’s Pontecorvo prize

26 July 2016

The Pontecorvo prize is awarded to CRUK-funded students "who have produced outstanding PhD theses and made the greatest contribution to scientific knowledge in their field".

Nicholas is a postdoc with Professor Charles Swanton, who describes him as a "rare breed" due to the interdisciplinary nature of his work. He has research interests in both mathematics and cancer biology, and completed his PhD in cancer bioinformatics at UCL's centre for interdisciplinary research in the medical and life sciences - the Centre for Mathematics, Physics and Engineering in the Life Sciences and Experimental Biology (CoMPLEX).

According to their announcement the CRUK judging panel were extremely impressed with the impact of Nicholas' work, including his outstanding publication record. In five years he has delivered work that has led to a total of 25 papers and two patents. He has co-authored in journals such as Cancer Discovery, Journal of Pathology, Nature, Nature Genetics and Science Translational Medicine, with several first author papers resulting from his PhD.

Nicholas's most exciting contributions have been major new insights into the mechanisms of cancer branched evolution and genomic instability. He has helped to set new and interesting directions for TRACERx - a multi-million pound programme and CRUK's largest single investment in lung cancer research.

"I felt very privileged to be nominated for this prestigious prize and it was therefore a great honour and pleasant surprise to be selected as the winner. I had a fantastic and rewarding experience working in Charlie Swanton's group during my PhD and was fortunate to be involved in a great deal of exciting work. There is no doubt this work would not have been possible without the generous support from CRUK and I hope I can build upon this research in the future." - Dr Nicholas McGranahan

"Nicky is a truly remarkable individual with a stellar career ahead of him." - Prof Charles Swanton

It's worth pointing out that if you've worked with a PhD student who is submitting a thesis in 2016, you can nominate them for the next Pontecorvo Prize. Nominations will open in the autumn and close in March 2017.

  • Dr Nicholas McGranahan, postdoc at the Crick, has been awarded Cancer Research UK's Pontecorvo prize.
  • The Pontecorvo prize is awarded to CRUK-funded students "who have produced outstanding PhD theses and made the greatest contribution to scientific knowledge in their field".