Cancer Research UK's Simon Boulton wins EMBO Gold Medal

In collaboration with Adfero

Simon Boulton, a researcher at Cancer Research UK's London Research Institute, has been awarded the 2011 European Molecular Biology Organisation (EMBO) Gold Medal.

Dr Boulton, who works at the charity's Clare Hall Laboratories, has been chosen to receive the award in recognition of his groundbreaking work on DNA repair mechanisms.

In particular, EMBO's election committee were impressed by the 38-year-old's pioneering role in establishing the nematode worm, C. elegans, as a model system to study genome instability.

Responding to news of his accolade, Dr Boulton said: "I am delighted and honoured to receive such a prestigious award."

Dr Boulton began his research into DNA repair while studying for his PhD at the University of Cambridge between 1994 and 1998, before establishing his own research group at Clare Hall Laboratories in 2002 - a move he describes as a key step in his scientific career.

He and his research group have made a number of important advances in the field of DNA repair, genome instability and cancer.

These include the discovery that cells which over-produce the ALC1 enzyme are highly susceptible to the chemotherapy drug Bleomycin - a finding that could have important implications for the treatment of liver cancer.

He also showed that, by blocking non-homologous end joining (NHEJ), it is possible to block DNA repair defects in Fanconi Anaemia cells. This observation could lead to therapies for patients with Fanconi Anaemia, an inherited condition that carries an increased risk of certain forms of cancer.

The EMBO Gold Medal is not the first award to be handed to Dr Boulton, who has already received a number of accolades, including the Biochemistry Society's Colworth Medal, the Eppendorf/Nature Award, a Wolfson Research Merit Award from the Royal Society and an Advanced Investigator Award from the European Research Council.

Dr Boulton will receive his EMBO Gold Medal and a EUR10,000 prize at the EMBO Meeting in Vienna on September 12th 2011, when he will give a talk about his research.