I was a PhD student from 1967-1971 in the Laboratory of Molecular Biology working on the initiation of bacterial protein synthesis in Francis Crick and Sydney Brenner's Divison of Molecular Genetics. I then spent 3 years at the Salk Institute as a Helen Hay Whitney Fellow working in Renato Dulbecco and Bob Holley's Labs where I co-discovered the fibroblast growth factors (FGFs) with Denis Gospodarowicz and investigated their mechanism of action. I returned to England as Staff Member at Imperial Cancer Research Fund under Renato Dulbecco and Michael Stoker and used the FGFs to isolate the first reported breast stem lines from rat and later from human sources. From 1979-1986 I was Head of Department of Cell and Molecular Biology at the Ludwig Institute in Surrey, where I isolated and characterised further rat and human benign and malignant breast cell lines and related them to the development of the breast and the pathology of breast cancer. For this I was awareded MRCPath by Research. From 1986 I have been Professor of Biochemistry in Liverpool University and used my cell lines to codiscover with Roger Barraclough the Metastasis-Inducing Proteins (MIPs). From 2000-date I demonstrated enhanced occurrence of MIPs is associated with early demise of breast cancer patients and with Roger Barraclough some of their mechanisms of action, induction and 3D structures with colleagues in Liverpool. Unlike the oncogenes of Renato Dulbecco and his followers, our MIPs do not form tumours but cooperate with the oncogenes to promote many of the common cancers to metastasise. Thus I have been lucky in my career to shed some light on this murky but life threatening aspect of cancer, with the hope that our molecular discoveries will lead to improvements in diagnosis and treatment of the commonly-occuring cancers in the future.
Prizes or Honours
- Honorary Senior Fellow (Hanah Research Institute, 2003)
- Honorary Senior Fellow (Hanah Research Institute, 2002)
- Honorary Senior Fellow (Hanah Research Institute, 2001)