Professor Richard Marais, Director of the Cancer Research UK Manchester Institute and Chair of this year’s NCRI Cancer Conference Scientific Committee, tells us about his career in cancer research so far, what the 10th Conference means to him and what he likes to do for fun.

What inspired you to forge a career in cancer research?

I did genetics and microbiology at university and, on the advice of a university lecturer, I applied for a PhD position at the Imperial Cancer Research Fund (ICRF), which is now the Cancer Research UK London Research Institute. I have been working in cancer ever since. So it was good advice from a university lecturer that inspired me.

What have you been working on most recently?

I have been working on how ultraviolet light induces melanoma, and trying to understand the mechanisms to resistance in targeted therapy in melanoma patients.

What do you perceive to be the biggest challenges in cancer research?

Tumour heterogeneity and the ability of tumours to evolve to against targeted therapies.

What does the 10th NCRI Cancer Conference mean to you?

The last ten years have been very significant as there have been such enormous changes in the way we do cancer research and treat cancer patients, and the NCRI Cancer Conference has grown up with that. The Conference reflects what has been happening in cancer research over the last ten years, both in the UK and globally.

What are you looking forward to most about this year’s Conference?

I am eager to see the 10th Conference celebratory ‘Whither’ talks. The idea of these talks is to see what has happened in different areas of cancer research in the last ten years, and to take a look at what will be happening or what could happen in the future over the next ten years.

What do you do for fun?

Cycling and trying not to think of work too much. I have just cycled through India for ten days, which was fun.


For more on the interview with Professor Richard Marais, and other members of the Scientific Committee, visit the NCRI Cancer Conference website.

► 2014 NCRI Cancer Conference website