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Ian Tomlinson


Professor of Cancer Genetics

  • Senior Clinical Researcher, University of Oxford
  • Fellow, Academy of Medical Sciences
  • Fellow, Royal Society


Cancer genetics is based on the study of germline variation (inherited) and somatic variation (acquired by tumours as they grow). Our work is based on the discovery of genes that predispose to cancer (germline variation), accompanied by use of the genetic data to demonstrate new mechanisms of tumorigenesis, and to identify novel evolutionary principles underlying cancer growth.


Professor Tomlinson joined the Department of Oncology from the University of Edinburgh in Autumn 2022, where Ian was the Charles and Ethel Barr Chair of Cancer Research and Director of Edinburgh Cancer Research Centre (including Cancer Research UK  Edinburgh Centre). He was previously Director of the Institute of Cancer and Genomic Sciences at the University of Birmingham, having worked before that at the Cancer Research UK London Research Institute, University of Oxford and the Institute of Cancer Research. His research interests lie in discovering and functionally characterising cancer driver genes, especially germline variants that predispose to cancer. He also has a longstanding interest in cancer evolution, derived from his PhD project in population genetics, with a specific interest in the relative contributions of selection and mutation to cancer growth. Ian's work focuses on colorectal cancer, but extends to several other cancer types. He is especially keen to integrate work across a variety of biomedical areas, including human patient cohorts and clinics, animal models of disease and biomathematics. 


Emma Jaeger, Senior Postdoctoral Researcher
Stephen Thorn, Bioinformatician
Ignacio Soriano, Post-Doctoral Research Fellow in Cancer Genetics and Evolution
Juan Fernandez-Tajes, Bioinformatician/Biostatistician/Computer Scientist
Nagore de Leon Marcos, Senior Post-Doctoral Research Fellow in Cancer Genetics
Amjad Khan, Visiting Professor of Clinical Biochemistry and Experimental Medicine