Professor Gerard Evan is one of the world’s foremost experts in oncogenes – the genes that drive the development of cancer. Over the years he has played a vital role in identifying some of these genes, and revealing how they fuel the disease.
Dr. Evan received his bachelor’s degree in biochemistry from the University of Oxford, U.K., in 1977 and his doctorate in molecular immunology from the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology, Cambridge, U.K. He was a postdoctoral fellow at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF), then Royal Society Napier professor at the Imperial Cancer Research Fund in London, and distinguished professor of cancer research at UCSF from 1999-2010, moving to Cambridge, U.K., in 2009.
Evan’s abiding interest is the transcription factor Myc, which is aberrantly regulated in almost all human cancers and serves as a hub that drives many features of cancer including tumor growth, invasion, inflammation and blood supply. Many scientists think that drugs targeting Myc could be a good way to treat cancer. However, Myc also serves many different roles in healthy cells as well as in cancer cells. Evan and his team are working to understand exactly how Myc works within the body, both in healthy tissue and in several types of cancer, including lung and pancreatic cancers. His group is also using innovative ways of testing how effective inhibiting Myc would actually be in treating cancers, as well as searching for other genes that work with Myc, since they could also be good targets for future cancer treatments.
Scientists across the globe have recognized Professor Evan’s contribution to cancer research. He is a member of the European Molecular Biology Organization, the U.K. Academy of Medical Sciences, and the Royal Society – the U.K.’s scientific academy.