Molecular and cellular medicine remit and scope

The molecular and cellular medicine portfolio supports inter-disciplinary studies involving general molecular and cell biology, cancer research, exposure science and complementary disciplines, including:

Structural biology and biophysics

Understanding the atomic organisation of molecules and macromolecular complexes, and functional and dynamic interactions between molecules, subcellular components, cells and biological systems.

Molecular and functional genetics, epigenetics, genomics

Understanding gene regulation and functional genetics.

Developmental (excluding neurobiology) and stem cell biology, and regenerative medicine

Understanding the mechanisms of development, differentiation, growth and regeneration at the molecular, genetic and cellular levels.

Molecular haematology

Investigating the  aetiology, diagnosis, treatment, prognosis, and prevention of blood diseases.

Chemical biology

Development and application of chemical techniques, tools and analysis to study and manipulate biological systems.

Medical bioinformatics (including biostatistics, computational biology and systems biology)

Development and application of analytical approaches to understand mechanisms of human disease – from the cellular level through to the whole disease phenotype.

Integration of data across differing degrees of resolution, dynamic scales and heterogeneity, and interpretation of very large and rich data sets, using genomics, proteomics, metabolomics, imaging and clinical data.


Basic biology, translational research and epidemiology; includes the therapeutic use of radiation in treating cancer and the adverse health effects of exposure to radiation.

Toxicology and adverse health effects of environmental exposures

Exploring the pathways and mechanisms through which toxic insults (xenobiotics, adverse drug reactions, radiation etc) cause ill health. Developing and applying measurements of exposure and effect to improve our understanding of how the environment interacts with biology and impacts on health.


Understanding the mechanisms of drug action to improve efficacy and targeting (including through stratification), and to minimise adverse / off-target effects.

New technologies

Development and application of new technologies to biomedicine, including nanotechnology and gene therapy.

Research relating to particular organ systems or diseases (with the exception of cancer, leukaemia and molecular haematology) is normally managed through our other research boards.

Science contacts

If you have a query about scientific aspects of your research proposal, please contact the MRC Programme Manager shown below against your scientific area:

Please note, should you wish to contact any of the below detailed MRC Programme Managers by telephone, please telephone the MRC Research and Funding Policy Delivery Team; 01793 416 440, and we will be happy to provide you with the telephone contact information of the relevant MRC science contact.

Programme Manager for cell biology, physical sciences and research facilities

Dr Karen Brakspear –

Scientific patch:

  • Cell biology (excluding neurobiology) with potential relevance to disease*
  • Physical sciences interface (including interdisciplinary technology development)
  • Large multi-user research facilities

* Applications relating to particular organ systems or diseases (with the exception of cancer, leukaemia and molecular haematology) should be normally directed to our other research boards.

Programme Manager for structural studies and bioinformatics

Dr Megan Dowie -

Scientific patch:

  • Structural biology and biophysics
  • Nanotechnology and applications of other new technologies to biomedicine
  • Methodology development for gene therapy
  • Medical bioinformatics (including biostatistics, computational biology and systems biology)

Programme Manager for genetics, epigenetics, genomics and large cohort studies

Dr Lindsay Wilson -

Scientific patch:

  • Genetics, epigenetics and genomics with potential relevance to disease - applications relating to particular organ systems or disease (with the exception of cancer, leukaemia and molecular haematology) should be normally directed to our other research boards.
  • Large, cross-cutting cohort studies

Programme Manager for stem cells, developmental biology, regenerative medicine and haematology

Scientific patch:

  • Stem cell research (cross-cutting)
  • Regenerative medicine
  • Developmental biology (excluding neurological development)
  • Haematology

Programme Manager for environmental health, pharmacology and toxicology 

Dr Tim Cullingford -

Scientific patch:

  • Toxicology
  • Pharmacology
  • Chemical Biology
  • Occupational medicine
  • Environmental factors affecting health (including health effects of environmental change)

Programme Manager for cancer

Dr Mariana Delfino-Machin -

Scientific patch:

  • Cancer biology
  • Radiobiology/radiological science
  • Genome stability (in relation to the development of cancer)
  • Translational and clinical research in cancer
  • Cancer epidemiology

Programme Manager for methodology and clinical research

Dr Samuel Rowley -

Head of Molecular and Cellular Medicine

Dr Nathan Richardson -