Dr Duncan Odom
Dr Duncan Odom heads a research group at the Cancer Research UK Cambridge Institute. He and his team are unpicking the molecular ‘nuts and bolts’ of cells to find out more about the genes involved in cancer and how these change over time.
The DNA making up genes is a code, providing the instructions for cells to make proteins. But the human genome contains information to make around 25,000 proteins and cells don’t need all of these proteins all of the time. So they’re equipped with special molecules whose job it is to control whether genes are turned on or off.
Dr Odom and his team are studying this system in normal and cancerous liver cells to find out whether these genetic switches influence the evolution of cancer and the huge amount of genetic variation seen in many tumours. This will give us a better understanding of the genetic diversity of cancer as a whole, helping scientists find new ways to tackle the disease.