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MRC Cancer Unit


Student Fundraiser For Cancer Research - July 2020

*NOW*, the crowdfunding campaign of the Etn TRANSMIT project starts in July. Proud of our PhD student Christina Schmidt from the Frezza lab, who is part of this campaign to support cancer patient associations whilst bringing scientific research closer to patients. Support this great effort - NOW!

Student Fundraiser July 2020




The Art of Science competition - 2020

With perhaps  a little more space and time for creativity in these ‘unprecedented’ times, the Graduate Society have launched the annual Science meets Art competition: The Art of Science 2020  may provide a welcome chance to destress in these tough times and keep you occupied during lockdown!




Annual Retreat 2019



First Hutch Post-Doc and PhD Retreat- 18 October




It’s BBQ time! This year’s Hutch Summer BBQ is happening at Fitzwilliam College on the 26th of July.

With over 80 people attending and good weather forecast it’s bound to be a great evening with lots of food, drinks, music and games!



The PhD and Postdoc societies organise a range of talks covering the different career paths in science related fields.





The annual MRC Festival of Medical Research will run from 13-23 June 2019.

MRC-funded research establishments will be showcasing and discussing their work through events and activities planned at MRC-funded units, centres and institutes across the UK. Examples of some events include open days, public lectures/debates, activity days, workshops, interactive seminars and quizzes. 

The objectives of the MRC festival are to: 

  1. Engage the MRC community to increase understanding of the MRC's strategic aims and their own contribution to these
  2. Build trust in medical research by sharing MRC-funded research with audiences
  3. Increase awareness and understanding of the benefits of medical research to society

The MRC Cancer Unit will host its Schools Open Day as part of this on June 19

Sixth Form students from local schools will visit the Unit and perform hands-on experiments as well as interact with our staff and graduate students to gain a flavour of life at a research organisation and opportunities that arise through training in research and science.

March 24, 2019: 3:30pm - 4:15pm -- The origins of cancer: what's in our genes and what isn't?

Cambridge Academy for Science and Technology, Robinson Way (Close to the Junction of Robinson Way and Long Road), CB2 0SZ

AshokCancer will affect about one in three humans at some point in our lives. A person’s risk of developing cancer is influenced by the genes that she or he inherits. For example, the inheritance of certain ‘faulty’ genes can greatly increase cancer risk. There is also mounting evidence that cancer risk is affected by non-genetic factors, such as our diet and environment. How genetic and non-genetic factors act together to influence a person’s risk of developing cancer is not well understood.

Professor Ashok Venkitaraman discusses how recent research is providing new insights into this important problem, and how this new knowledge might be used to detect or even prevent cancer.


March 24, 2019: 2:30pm - 3:15pm -- Artificial-intelligence-assisted discovery in the battle against cancer and other diseases

Cancer Research UK, Cambridge Institute, Li Ka Shing Centre Robinsons Way, CB2 0RE


Current biomedical research is generating vast quantities of data in a global effort to understand and treat a diverse collection of diseases. In order to make sense of these data-sets and extract useful biomedical knowledge, multidisciplinary interactions between biologists, data-scientists, engineers and mathematicians is necessary. Consequently, development of computational and mathematical methods to mine these vast data-sets is becoming extremely important. Machine learning & Deep Learning are Artificial Intelligence methods that can learn patterns and help solve these difficult scientific problems.

These technologies are helping develop computational algorithms that mine and analyse biomedical big-data, leading to exciting discoveries and design of new treatments. Dr Shamith Samarajiwa, MRC Cancer Unit, delves into some of these AI and data-science technologies and how they are improving healthcare in cancer and other diseases. It will also highlight how the integration of clinical and other scientific data such as genome sequencing is driving a revolution in machine intelligence that will improve early detection of disease, diagnostics and treatment.

March 24, 2019: 1:15pm - 2:00pm -- The cell: a living computer in a droplet of water

Cancer Research UK, Cambridge Institute, Li Ka Shing Centre Robinsons Way, CB2 0RE

Alessandro2Imagine to be in front of a traffic light, you are about to cross and the green light starts to blink. Do you cross? Do you always stop, or does your choice depend on how late/early you are for an appointment? Does this depend on your age, the younger you are, the faster you can cross, or the more likely you are to take risks?

Right from brainless bugs such as bacteria and yeasts, to each of the three trillion cells making up our bodies, each cell continually takes critical decisions about proliferation, migrations, metabolisms and cell behaviour. However, once in a while, genetic mutations occur. Like typos that change the meaning of a sentence in a book, these errors change how cells decide leading to uncontrolled growth.

Although cells have mechanisms to correct these errors or to avoid the consequences that these errors may lead to, rarely, wrong decisions are made and perpetuated… and cancer is triggered. Dr Alessandro Esposito, MRC Cancer Unit, explores how the cell, a tiny droplet of water, takes decision to support life and how scientists probe the ‘brain of the cell’ to understand cellular decisions in physiological and pathological conditions.


March 24, 2019:  Cambridge Science Festival



November 30, 2018:  Hutchison MRC Centre Annual Retreat




The event will take place at Moller Centre, Churchill College

July 19, 2018: The Annual Hutch Summer Barbecue





June 14 - 24, 2018:  MRC Festival of Medical Research


The MRC Cancer Unit will be celebrating the Festival through showcasing the value and importance of the Units research underpinned by its mission, at an engagement event with our local parliamentarian and  through an Open Day aimed at grass-root engagement with 4 local high schools with a view to inspiring the next generation of world class researchers.

  •  June 15 -  Visit by Dr Heidi Allen, MP South Cambridgeshire
  •  June 19 -  The MRC Cancer Unit's Schools Open Day





March 25, 2018:  Cambridge Science Festival at the Biomedical Campus

Spring is in the air and so is celebrating Science! ScienceFest2017
This Sunday, 25 March, the Cambridge Science Festival comes to the Cambridge Biomedical Campus to conclude a fantastic two weeks of events.

Researchers from the Hutchison MRC Research Centre will be showcasing a host of activities at the Cambridge Academy for Science and Technology,  Robinson Way, CB2 0SZ from 11.00am to 3.00pm.

There will be lots of things to see and do aimed at both the young and old and everyone in between and a chance to learn all about the importance of early in Cancer!


 February 6, 2018: The MRC Cancer Unit Annual Lecture

  • 2.30 pm onwards, Clifford Albutt Lecture Theatre, Cambridge Biomedical Campus.

  • delivered by Professor Joan Brugge, Director of the Harvard Ludwig Cancer Center and Professor of Cell Biology at Harvard Medical School, USA.


Find out more...



Nov 3, 2017: Hutch Annual Retreat

A day of stimulating scientific discussions involving all research groups within the Research Centre, followed by a pizza and quiz evening; to be held at the Møller Centre, Churchill College. Poster competitions to be held at the Hutchison MRC Research Centre on the 2nd Nov.

Find out more...



Aug 24, 2017: The Annual Hutch Summer Barbecue


July 27, 2017:  BR-exodus is here!




June 27, 2017: Measuring Metabolic Engines & Fuels with the Seahorse XF Analyzer - (a hands-on workshop) 


Work in Progress’ talks - 2020