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Tomas Lindahl, MD, FRS

Tomas Lindahl, MD, FRS

Francis Crick Institute
London, United Kingdom

Class of 2017

An internationally recognized leader in cancer research, Dr. Lindahl has contributed pioneering work that has advanced the understanding of the molecular mechanisms associated with DNA damage and repair in various organisms. He is celebrated for his discovery of the process of base excision repair and for isolating and characterizing several key components of the DNA repair machinery.

Dr. Lindahl’s investigations into DNA instability led him to discover and define the function of DNA glycosylases including uracil-DNA glycosylase (UDG). He demonstrated that these enzymes are essential for catalyzing the removal of damaged or mispaired DNA bases and that defects in these enzymes occur in various cancers. Specific to UDG, he discovered that this enzyme is responsible for the removal of uracil that may be incorrectly incorporated into DNA, either through misincorporation or deamination of cytosine during DNA replication. In addition to DNA glycosylases, Dr. Lindahl was the first to isolate and describe mammalian DNA ligases and DNA repair methyltransferases, including the unusual factor that removes mutagenic 6-methylguanine by transfer of the methyl group to a protein cysteine residue.

Dr. Lindahl’s collective work has had an immeasurable impact on the field of cancer research by providing novel insights into the inherent molecular weaknesses that exist within tumor cells. These findings guide the development of selective chemotherapeutic agents that function by modulating DNA repair pathways.

Career Highlights

2015 Nobel Prize in Chemistry
2010 Copley Medal, The Royal Society, London, United Kingdom
2010 Elected Fellow, European Academy of Cancer Sciences
2009 UK Genome Stability Network Medal
2008 Prix Étranger, French National Institute of Health and Medical Research
2007 Royal Medal, The Royal Society, London, United Kingdom
1999 Foreign Member, Royal Norwegian Society of Sciences and Letters, Trondheim, Norway
1998 Founding Fellow, Academy of Medical Sciences, United Kingdom
1998 Foreign Member, Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters, Oslo, Norway
1989 Elected Member, Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences
1989 Elected Member, Academia Europaea
1988 Elected Fellow, The Royal Society, London, United Kingdom
1977 Svedberg Prize, Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences
1976 Elected Member, European Molecular Biology Organization