UCL Cancer Institute


Pontecorvo Prize awarded to Dr Nicholas McGranahan

27 July 2016

Nicky McGranahan…


This year’s Cancer Research UK Pontecorvo prize for Best PhD Thesis has been awarded to Dr Nicholas McGranahan, who is currently a postdoc with Professor Charles Swanton (UCL Cancer Institute and the Francis Crick Institute). ​This prestigious prize is awarded to Cancer Research UK-funded students who have produced outstanding PhD theses and made the greatest contribution to scientific knowledge in their field.

Professor Swanton describes Dr McGranahan as him as a "rare breed" due to the interdisciplinary nature of his work. He has research interests in both mathematics and cancer biology, and completed his PhD in cancer bioinformatics at UCL's centre for interdisciplinary research in the medical and life sciences - the Centre for Mathematics, Physics and Engineering in the Life Sciences and Experimental Biology (CoMPLEX).

"Nicky is a truly remarkable individual with a stellar career ahead of him." says Professor Swanton.

The Cancer Research UK judging panel were extremely impressed with the impact of Nicholas' work, including his outstanding publication record. In five years he has delivered work that has led to a total of 25 papers and two patents. He has co-authored in journals such as Cancer Discovery, Journal of Pathology, Nature, Nature Genetics and Science Translational Medicine, with several first author papers resulting from his PhD.

His most exciting contributions have been major new insights into the mechanisms of cancer branched evolution and genomic instability. He has helped to set new and interesting directions for TRACERx - a multi-million pound programme and CRUK's largest single investment in lung cancer research.

Nicholas says, "I feel very privileged to be nominated for this prestigious prize and it was therefore a great honour and pleasant surprise to be selected as the winner. I had a fantastic and rewarding experience working in Charlie Swanton's group during my PhD and was fortunate to be involved in a great deal of exciting work. There is no doubt this work would not have been possible without the generous support from CRUK and I hope I can build upon this research in the future." 

Dr McGranahan was also awarded the 2016 Rosetrees Trust PhD Prize for Research Excellence. This award was open to all Rosetrees supported students who completed their PhD in 2014/2015. Nicholas will receive his prize at the Trust's PhD Symposium, 21st September 2016. 

Further information 

Cancer Research UK…

Rosetrees Trust…