Richard Marais, PhD, is the director of the Cancer Research UK Manchester Institute. He is a world-leading expert in the causes of melanoma, the most dangerous form of skin cancer. Much of his work has focussed on the role of the protein kinase BRAF in melanoma progression, and he uses this knowledge to develop novel therapeutic strategies for melanoma patients. He has shown that oncogenic BRAF drives cell growth and this work has led to the discovery of new drugs that are effective in this disease.
Professor Marais obtained a first class BSc in genetics and microbiology from University College, London (1985), and pursued a doctoral degree in comparative studies on protein Kinase C isotypes at the Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research (1989). He pursued postdoctoral research fellowships at the Imperial Cancer Research Fund, London (1989-1993) and The Institute of Cancer Research (ICR) in London (1993-1997). It was at ICR that Professor Marais focussed his studies on BRAF and melanoma. He progressed to team leader of the Signal Transduction Team (1998), professor of molecular oncology (2007), deputy chair of the Section of Cell and Molecular Biology (2008), and head of the Division of Cancer Biology (2011). He was appointed director of the Cancer Research UK Manchester Institute in 2012, where he also runs the Molecular Oncology Group.
Professor Marais has received numerous prizes and awards for his work, including the Society for Melanoma Research Estella Medrano Memorial Award for outstanding contributions to melanoma research (2011). He is an elected fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences (2007), a fellow of the European Academy of Cancer Sciences (2009), an EMBO member (2009) and a member of Academia Europaea (2015).
He is the current president of the European Association for Cancer Research (2014-2016) and as part of his tenure in this role will bring the biannual scientific EACR meeting to Manchester in July 2016. He is on the board of directors for the American Association for Cancer Research, and on the board of the European CanCer Organisation. Finally, he is an editor on numerous learned journals and has organized several international cancer conferences.