Glasgow is set to become a world class centre for cancer research with the announcement of a dynamic new director of the Beatson Institute and an accompanying £10 million programme of investment.
Dr Karen Vousden was lured from one of America’s top research centres by the promise of state-of-the-art laboratories and the opportunity to work with Scotland’s finest cancer researchers.
The initiative, which will provide facilities for 100 more scientists, was only possible following a unique partnership between the University of Glasgow, Cancer Research UK and the Beatson Institute.
Dr Vousden and her team intend to build on Glasgow’s excellent scientific reputation to develop an outstanding research programme, underpinning efforts to speed up the delivery of new cancer treatments to patients in the city and beyond.
She is leaving her high-profile position in the US as Chief of the Regulation of Cell Growth Laboratory at the National Cancer Institute in Maryland. She has a reputation for her imaginative thinking and strong leadership qualities, as well as for the high calibre of her science.
Dr Vousden, who originally trained and worked in London, says: “This is an extremely exciting time to be rejoining the cancer research community in the UK. The merger to form Cancer Research UK has sparked a wave of enthusiasm and commitment and there are unparalleled opportunities for research and collaboration.”
Her research has focused on p53, the so-called ‘guardian of the genome’. She is particularly excited at the prospect of working with Sir David Lane, the discoverer of p53, who has built a world class reputation for his Cancer Research UK team in Dundee.
She adds: “By working closely with colleagues throughout Scotland, I’m optimistic that the Beatson Institute can take Glasgow forward as a player on the world stage and make a real difference for cancer patients.”
While her recruitment will give the Beatson Institute a fresh impetus, the multimillion pound investment programme will also transform its infrastructure and research facilities.
Plans are in progress for a brand new laboratory building which will provide cutting edge facilities for 100 researchers and create an impressive complex, including a new lecture theatre and a centralised administrative suite.
The Principal of the University of Glasgow, Prof Sir Graeme Davies, said: “The news that Dr Karen Vousden is taking up the Directorship of the Beatson Institute for Cancer Research in Glasgow is extremely welcome. Her ability and leadership will enhance the already considerable research strengths of the Institute and the collaborations which already exist between the Beatson and medical and biological scientists in the University.”
“This is a research field which is not only producing groundbreaking and exciting scientific advances but is of immense importance to society in general and the West of Scotland in particular.”
Dr Trevor Hince, Cancer Research UK’s Director of Research Management and Planning, says: “This is an extremely important development for Scottish science. The University of Glasgow shares a vision with Cancer Research UK, to build on the Beatson Institute’s international reputation.
“Thanks to the excellent leadership of the outgoing director, Prof John Wyke, the institute is already at the forefront of research into targeted cancer treatments. This combination of new investment and fresh thinking can only help to take it forwards.”
Prof Andrew Miller, Interim Chief Executive of Cancer Research UK, says: “I’m delighted that one of the first major investments of Cancer Research UK, in partnership with the University of Glasgow, has resulted in such a distinguished cancer researcher returning to carry out her work in the UK.”
Note to Editors:
The Beatson Institute is a centre for cancer research and is not to be confused with the Beatson Oncology Centre, which is a specialist cancer unit within Glasgow’s Western General Infirmary.