Sir Paul Nurse to head world-leading centre for biomedical research and innovation
15 July 2010
The Nobel laureate Sir Paul Nurse is to become the first Director and Chief Executive of the UK Centre for Medical Research and Innovation (UKCMRI) planned for central London. For the past two years, Sir Paul has been chairing the UKCMRI Scientific Planning Committee which has been advising on the development of the institute. He will take up his post on 1 January 2011.
UKCMRI has been founded by four of the UK’s largest and most successful scientific and academic institutions; the Medical Research Council (MRC), Cancer Research UK, UCL (University College London) and the Wellcome Trust. It will carry out research of the highest quality using the latest technology to advance understanding of human health and disease.
Based at Somers Town alongside St Pancras International in the London Borough of Camden, the project represents a substantial investment in the future growth of one of the UK’s leading sectors.
Sir Paul Nurse said:
“I am honoured to have the opportunity to head UKCMRI as it takes shape as one of the foremost biomedical research institutes in the world. This is a time of extraordinary opportunity in our quest to understand the causes of health and disease. UKCMRI will have a key role in developing our understanding and ability to tackle many of the most significant diseases that affect people and their families.”
Sir Leszek Borysiewicz, Chief Executive of the Medical Research Council said:
“The UKCMRI project has attracted an inspirational leader with the drive to cultivate a unique environment for research and innovation. Paul has an outstanding international reputation and has already been instrumental in developing the research vision for UKCMRI. As Director and Chief Executive he will lead the creation of a truly groundbreaking biomedical research institute.”
A Nobel Prize-winning biologist, Sir Paul has been elected the next President of the Royal Society. He is currently President of the Rockefeller University, New York, which he joined in 2003.
Before moving to the United States, Sir Paul spent more than three decades working in the UK, where he was born. He was Director General of the Imperial Cancer Research Fund (ICRF) and played a major role in the merger of ICRF with the Cancer Research Campaign which together formed Cancer Research UK – which he went on to lead as Chief Executive.
His research focuses on controls of cell division and cell shape in yeast. It led to the identification of cyclin-dependent kinases as the key regulator molecules controlling the process by which cells make copies of themselves, a discovery that is important for understanding growth, development and cancer.
In addition to the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, which he shared with Tim Hunt and Lee Hartwell in 2001, Sir Paul has won the Albert Lasker Award for Basic Medical Research, the Copley Medal of the Royal Society, as well as other awards and medals. Sir Paul was honoured with a knighthood for services to cancer research and cell biology in 1999 and is a foreign associate of the United States National Academy of Sciences.
UKCMRI will initially build on the complementary skills and research interests of two of the founders' research institutes, the MRC National Institute for Medical Research (NIMR) and the Cancer Research UK London Research Institute (LRI), together with UCL scientists focusing on physics, computing, engineering, imaging and chemistry. Sir Paul will head a scientific leadership team which will include Richard Treisman, Director of Cancer Research UK’s LRI, and Jim Smith, Director of MRC NIMR. They will work with Sir Paul Nurse over the coming years to ensure the institute continues to make a real difference to the life chances of millions of people around the world.
Dr Jim Smith the MRC National Institute for Medical Research (NIMR) said:
“I’m delighted we will be working even more closely with Paul in the years ahead. He is an extraordinary and visionary scientist who has the skills and experience to bring together two of the country’s foremost biomedical institutions with partners from UCL and beyond.”
For more information on the project