Professor Ashok Venkitaraman
Ashok is the Ursula Zoellner Professor of Cancer Research at the University of Cambridge, and the Director of the Medical Research Council (MRC) Cancer Unit. He trained in medicine at the Christian Medical College, Vellore, India, before completing his PhD at University College London. Ashok was a faculty member at the Medical Research Council’s Laboratory of Molecular Biology in Cambridge, before appointment to the Zoellner Professorship in 1998.
Ashok is widely recognized for his contributions to understanding the genetics and biology of cancer, particularly in elucidating the impact of genome instability on carcinogenesis and cancer therapy. His research has not only illuminated the fundamental mechanisms governing genome repair, replication and segregation during cell division, but has also provided insight into their connections with cancer pathogenesis and treatment.
Translation of these insights to clinical practice is a major focus in Ashok’s current work. He has been instrumental in establishing initiatives that link chemists, physicists, structural biologists, cancer biologists and clinicians in Cambridge and elsewhere, with the aim to pioneer innovative new approaches for the discovery and early clinical development of next-generation medicines.
Ashok was elected a Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences, London, in 2001 and a Member of the EMBO European academy, Heidelberg, in 2004.