Stephen West

Stephen West

Principal Group Leader

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 awards2022: The Royal Medal2018: Lifetime Achievement Award in Cancer Research2015: The Genome Stability Network Medal2012: The Genetics Medal2011: Breast Cancer Campaign, 'Team of the Year'2010: GlaxoSmithKline Prize and Medal of the Royal Society2009: Swiss Bridge Prize Award for Cancer Research2008: Novartis Medal and Prize from the Biochemical Society2007: Louis-Jeantet Prize for Medicine2002: Leeuwenhoek Medal of the Royal Society2001: Swiss Bridge Prize Award for Cancer ResearchAcademic distinctions/societies2023: Elected Member of Council, The Royal Society2021: Elected International Honorary Fellow, American Academy of Arts and Sciences2016: Elected Foreign Associate of the National Academy of Sciences USA2011: Elected Fellow of the European Academy of Cancer Sciences2000: Elected Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences2000: Elected Member of the Academia Europaea1995: Elected Fellow of the Royal Society1994: Elected Member of EMBOEditorial activities2014-2016: Board of Reviewing Editors, e-Life2001-present: Editorial Board of DNA Repair2000-2022: Editorial Board of EMBO Reports1996-2020: Editorial Board of EMBO Journal1995-1999: Editorial Board of Nucleic Acids Research1996-1998: Associate Editor of Genes to Cells

Qualifications and history

Department of Biochemistry, Newcastle University, UK
Research Associate
Department of Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry, Yale University, UK
Research Associate
Department of Therapeutic Radiology, Yale University, USA
Research Scientist
Imperial Cancer Research Fund, London, UK (now Cancer Research UK)
Senior Scientist
London Research Institute, Cancer Research UK
Senior Group Leader
University College, London, UK
Honorary Professor
Clare Hall Laboratories, London Research Institute, Cancer Research UK
Deputy Director
Francis Crick Institute
Principal Group Leader
Imperial College London, London, UK
Visiting Professor

Crick Pre-Crick

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Last updated : 04 March 2024 02:07