Alan Ashworth is president, University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center; senior vice president for cancer services, UCSF Health; a professor of medicine, division of hematology / oncology, department of medicine; and E. Dixon Heise Distinguished Professor in Oncology. He took up this appointment in January 2015. Previously, he was chief executive officer of the Institute of Cancer Research in London, U.K.
One of Alan’s major contributions to cancer research has been his work on genes involved in cancer susceptibility. He was a key part of the team that in 1995 discovered the gene BRCA2, which is linked to an increased risk of some types of cancers. Ten years later, Alan identified a way to exploit genetic weaknesses in cancer cells including mutated BRCA1 and BRCA2, leading to a new synthetic lethal approach to cancer treatment, which is now approved for clinical use. His current research focuses on leveraging basic biology into personalized cancer medicines.
Alan is an elected member of EMBO, a Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences and a Fellow of the Royal Society. He has been the recipient of a number of scientific prizes and awards, including The European Society of Medical Oncology Lifetime Achievement Award, the David T. Workman Memorial Award of the Samuel Waxman Cancer Research Foundation, the Meyenburg Foundation’s Cancer Research Award, the Basser Global Prize and the Genetics Society Medal.