Stephen West

Stephen West

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Qualifications and history

  • 1977-1978: Research Associate, Department of Biochemistry, Newcastle University
  • 1978-1983: Research Associate, Department of Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry, Yale
  • 1983-1985: Research Scientist, Department of Therapeutic Radiology, Yale University, USA
  • 1985-1989: Senior Scientist, Imperial Cancer Research Fund
  • 1999-present: Honorary Professor, University College London
  • 1989-2015: Senior Group Leader, London Research Institute (formerly Imperial Cancer Research Fund)
  • 2007-2015: Deputy Director, Clare Hall Laboratories, London Research Institute
  • 2015- present: Senior Group Leader, Francis Crick Institute
  • 2016 – present: Visiting Professor, Imperial College, London

Stephen West was born in Hessle, Yorkshire, in 1952. He studied biochemistry at Newcastle University before moving to the USA to carry out post-doctoral work with Paul Howard-Flanders in the Department of Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry at Yale University. In 1985, he moved back to the UK to set up a research group at the Imperial Cancer Research Fund's Clare Hall Laboratories at South Mimms (which became the Cancer Research UK London Research Institute in 2002 and the Francis Crick Institute in 2015). He is now a Senior Group Leader at the Crick.

Stephen West has been a leader in the fields of genetic recombination and DNA repair for the past three decades. As his work crosses the boundaries between basic research studies of DNA repair and tumourigenesis, and he is a frequent keynote speaker at major international meetings. Steve plays an active role in the organisation of international conferences, and currently organizes the biannual ‘Recombination Mechanisms’ conference. He also organised the first Annual EMBO Conference (with Hans Clevers) in 2009, and is coorganiser of a number of DNA repair conferences in Europe and Asia.

Steve's research centres on mechanisms of genetic recombination and DNA strand break repair. In particular, he has defined relationships between defective DNA repair processes and human diseases such as inheritable breast cancer and neurological disorders.

Prizes and awards

  • 2015: The Genome Stability Network Medal
  • 2012: The Genetics Medal
  • 2011: Breast Cancer Campaign, 'Team of the Year'
  • 2010: GlaxoSmithKline Prize and Medal of the Royal Society
  • 2009: Swiss Bridge Prize Award for Cancer Research
  • 2008: Novartis Medal and Prize from the Biochemical Society
  • 2007: Louis-Jeantet Prize for Medicine
  • 2002: Leeuwenhoek Medal of the Royal Society
  • 2001: Swiss Bridge Prize Award for Cancer Research

Academic distinctions/societies

  • 2016: Elected Foreign Associate of the National Academy of Sciences USA
  • 2011: Elected Fellow of the European Academy of Cancer Sciences
  • 2000: Elected Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences
  • 2000: Elected Member of the Academia Europaea
  • 1995: Elected Fellow of the Royal Society
  • 1994: Elected Member of EMBO

Editorial activities

  • 2014-present: Board of Reviewing Editors, e-Life
  • 2001-present: Editorial Board of DNA Repair
  • 2000-present: Editorial Board of EMBO Reports
  • 1996-present: Editorial Board of EMBO Journal
  • 1995-1999: Editorial Board of Nucleic Acids Research
  • 1996-1998: Associate Editor of Genes to Cells