Previous Foulkes Foundation Academy of Medical Sciences Medal winner, Professor Serena Nik-Zainal FMedSci, develops algorithms which pick up cancers missed by conventional screening and work to identify cancers that respond to certain treatments. The Fellowship of the Academy is based on exceptional contributions to the medical sciences, either in the form of original discovery or of sustained contributions to scholarship.
Professor Nik-Zainal and her colleagues discovered and characterised the specific pattern of genetic mutations that occurs within different tumours, called mutational signatures. This opened up an entirely new field of study which allowed for the study of the causes of cancers to be identified from a tumour’s DNA. Over the last few years Professor Nik-Zainal has pioneered research into the clinical applications of mutational signatures. She led the development of an algorithm that can detect specific breast cancers through their mutational signature, picking up those that are missed by conventional screening methods and has continued to develop her work focussing on the clinical benefits to improve patient outcomes. Professor Serena Nik-Zainal is also leading a project to develop the necessary tools and infrastructure that will allow for large-scale, national clinical application of mutational signature research. Professor Nik-Zainal’s work will lead to more targeted therapies for patients with various cancers, taking the fundamental research through to the development of algorithms, showing their effectiveness in trials, and finally through to the real impacts in treatment for people with cancer.
Professor Nik-Zainal commented:
“This is a huge honour for me and a really wonderful recognition of the work from our team. We are thrilled and indebted to all our inspiring collaborators, supporters, and patients, that have shared in our passion and joined us on our path bringing cancer genomics toward patient benefit.”
Professor Tischkowitz commented:
“I heartily congratulate Serena on her election to the Fellowship of the Academy of Medical Sciences, a highly prestigious and thoroughly deserved accolade in recognition of her outstanding contribution to the field of cancer genetics.”
Read the Fellowship of the Academy of Medical Sciences announcement here: Outstanding biomedical and health researchers elected to Academy of Medical Sciences Fellowship | The Academy of Medical Sciences (acmedsci.ac.uk)