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Ian David Hickson

Ian David Hickson



FULL Name:  Ian David Hickson                        Date of Birth:  19th August, 1957

Educational Qualifications


GCE Advanced Level, 1975:  Physics (grade B), Chemistry (grade A), Biology (grade A)

School Prizes:  Governors Prizes, 1971 and 1973 (O level results)

 2. University

  • Bachelor of Science, University of Newcastle upon Tyne (Biochemistry Honours. 2.1)  1978.
  • Doctor of Philosophy, ICI CASE Studentship with Prof. P.T.Emmerson and Dr. K. Powell, Universities of Newcastle and Leicester /ICI Laboratories Billingham/Alderley Park  1982.


Professor of Molecular Aging, Department of Cellular and Molecular Medicine, University of Copenhagen, Denmark.

Program Leader for Molecular Aging, Center for Healthy Aging, University of Copenhagen, Denmark.

 RELEVANT previous Posts

  • University Lecturer  (Endowed Post)  1983-1989
    Cancer Research Unit, University of Newcastle upon Tyne Medical School, UK
  • University Research Lecturer, University of Oxford, UK            1994-1999
  • ICRF Senior Scientist and then promoted to Principal Scientist  1989-1999     Department of Medical Oncology, University of Oxford, Weatherall Institute of Molecular Medicine, John Radcliffe Hospital, Oxford, UK.
  • Deputy Director, Cancer Research UK Oxford Cancer Centre, University of Oxford, John Radcliffe Hospital, Oxford, OX3 9DS, UK.                   1999-2009
  • Professor of Molecular Oncology, Weatherall Institute of Molecular Medicine, University of Oxford, Oxford, OX3 9DS, UK.2010.               1999-2010


  • Consultant to Aventis (Rhone-Poulenc Rorer) France       1999-2002
  • Consultant to UCB/Celltech          2005-date
  • Co-participant in drafting guidelines on cancer prevention for the International Agency for Research on Cancer (Lyon, France)          1995
  • Member of the Cancer Research UK Research and Management Group 1997-2002
  • Member of the Cancer Research Campaign Project Grants comittee 1997-2001
  • Deputy Chairman, Cancer Research Campaign Project Grants Committee 2001-2002
  • Deputy Chairman, Cancer Research UK Projects Committee  2002-2009
  • Chairman of the Cancer Research UK Library Committee  1999-2004
  • Chairman of the Cancer Research UK Studentships Committee   2003-2004
  • Member of the Weatherall Institute of Molecular Medicine Management Group 2000-2010
  • Member of the Editorial Board of DNA Repair and Oncology Research   2001-date
  • Member of the review panel for applications to the EORTC Translational Research Advisory Committe            2002-date
  • Member of Scientific Advisory Board of The Danish Centre for Molecular Gerontology, Aarhus, Denmark      2003-date
  • Member of the Scientific Advisory Panel of Nature Communications   2009-date
  • Organizer of a cross-faculty Copenhagen Chromosome Biology Interest Group 2010-date
  • Elected Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences (UK)  2010
  • Elected Fellow of the Royal Society (UK)          2010
  • Elected Member of the ‘Faculty of 1000’ in Biology   2010
  • Elected Member of The European Molecular Biology Organization (EMBO)  2011


(i) Undergraduate

I previously lectured to pre-clinical medical undergraduates (Clinical Oncology) and gave occasional undergraduate lectures in Physiological Sciences and at the Dunn School of Pathology, University of Oxford.

(ii) Postgraduate

I supervise and provide training for both junior clinicians and science graduates.  All of the PhD students studying in my group have completed their studentship within four and a half years and have successfully graduated.

PhD Students (1989-2011) Stella Davies, Paul Hoban, Craig Robson, Sally Davies, Andrew Fry, Daniel Hochhauser, Lisa Walker, Nicholas Wells, Gil Barzilay, Christopher Tomkins, Richard Isaacs, Dominic Rothwell, Xiaoqi Wang, Ines Sandri, Ronjon Chakraverty, Julia Karow, Jeremy Braybrooke, Adele Goodwin, Thomas Oakley, Chit-Fang Cheok, Srinivasan Madhusudan, Nicola Levitt, Hien Ping Ngo, Wai-Kit Chu and Kok Lung Chan, Miranda Payne, Phiilip North and Thomas Ashton.

Current Students: Sara Bursomanno, Nicolai Larsen, Christian Nielsen, and Giang Nguyen. 


In my capacity as Deputy Director of the Cancer Research UK Oxford Cancer Centre, I represented the University Department of Medical Oncology and the Cancer Centre on several committees within the University and Cancer Research UK.  I performed numerous management and administrative functions within the Department, including allocation of research space, control of research budgets and selection of staff at all levels, including group leaders.  I was one of the 6-strong Management Group that was responsible for advising the Director on many aspects of the running of The Weatherall Institute of Molecular Medicine (WIMM). 

Since moving to the University of Copenhagen, I have taken over the position of Program Leader for the Molecular Aging Program of the Nordea Center for Healthy Aging. I also sit on the 6-strong Steering Committee of the Center.


In the period 1990-2010 I have acted as a co-examiner of 21 Oxford University D.Phil candidates and of 37 Ph.D candidates from other UK Universities.  I am a member of the panel of external examiners for the M.Res. programme at the MRC Clinical Sciences Centre, Imperial College Medical School, London.


Reviewer of grant applications for the Medical Research Council (UK), the Wellcome Trust, Cancer Research UK, the National Institutes of Health (USA), the Dutch Cancer Society, the Association for International Cancer Research and the National Science Foundation (USA).

Reviewer of papers for a broad cross-section of molecular biology and cancer journals; including, Cell, Nature, Science, Nature Genetics, Nature Cell Biology, Molecular Cell, EMBO J., British Journal of Cancer, Journal of Biological Chemistry, Cancer Research, Molecular and Cellular Biology, Proceedings of the National Academy of Science (USA).

ORAL Scientific Presentations (BY INVITATION) 2008 to date

  • Symposia at international conferences are shown in bold type:

2008       Netherlands Cancer Institute, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.
2008      EMBO Workshop on ‘Recombination Mechanisms, Il Ciocco, Italy.
2008       Terrence Donnelly Centre, University of Toronto, Canada.
2008      International Conference on ‘DNA Topoisomerases in Biology 
              and Medicine’, 
John Innes Centre, Norwich, UK (Plenary Speaker).
2008      10th Biennial Meeting of the German Society for Research on 
              DNA Repair, 
Berlin, Germany (Symposium Speaker)
2008      1st International Meeting of the Dusseldorf Ageing Research 
Dusseldorf, Germany (Symposium Speaker)
2008      International Symposium on ‘Genome Stability and Human 
Jerusalem, Israel (Symposium Speaker)
2008      20th Annual Fanconi Anemia Research Symposium, Eugene, 
              Oregon, USA 
(Keynote Speaker).
2008      Biochemical Society Annual Symposium on ‘DNA Damage: 
              From Causes
to Cures’, Cambridge, UK (Symposium Speaker).
2009      Mini-symposium on ‘DNA Strand Break Repair in Ageing’, University 
              of Aarhus, Denmark (Symposium Speaker).
2009       Institute of Molecular Cancer Research, University of Zurich, Switzerland.
2009      International Conference on ‘Proteomic Characterization 
              of Macromolecular
Complexes in DNA Metabolism’, ICGEB, 
              Trieste, Italy (Symposium Speaker).

2009      New Zealand Society for Oncology Annual Meeting ‘Targeting Cancer
              Therapy’ Palmerston North, New Zealand (Plenary Speaker).
2009      EMBO Meeting on Helicases and NTP-Driven Motors’, Les Diablerets, 
              Switzerland (Symposium Speaker).
2009      FASEB Conference on ‘Genetic Recombination and Genome 
              Rearrangements’ Snowmass, CO, USA (Symposium Speaker).
2009      2nd International Cancer Biology Symposium ‘Cancer: Found in 
              Translation’, Belfast, UK (Symposium Speaker).
2009       Cancer Research UK London Research Unit, Clare Hall 
              Laboratories, London, UK.
2009      15th Annual Symposium of The Danish Cancer Society, 
              Copenhagen, Denmark (Symposium Speaker).
2009      13th German Signal Transduction Society Meeting, Weimar, 
              Germany (Keynote Lecturer).
2009      25th Radiation Biology International Symposium, Kyoto, Japan 
              (Symposium Speaker and Chairman).
2010      Abcam International Conference on ‘Maintenance of Genome 
              Stability’ Antigua, West Indies (Symposium Speaker).
2010       Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, New York, USA.
2010       National Institute on Aging, Baltimore, USA.
2010       National institutes of Health, Bethesda, USA.
2010      EMBO Meeting on ‘Recombination and Connections to SUMO and 
              Ubiquitin Modifications’ Il Ciocco, Italy (Symposium Speaker 
              and Chairman).

2010       The Tracy and Ruth Storer Endowed Lecture in The Life Sciences, 
              University of California at Davis, USA.
2010       Danish Cancer Society, Copenhagen, Denmark.
2010       Biotech Research and Innovation Centre, University of
              Copenhagen, Denmark.
2011      Keystone Symposium on ‘DNA Replication and Recombination’, 
              Keystone, CO, USA (Symposium Speaker).
2011       Distinguished Seminar Speaker Series, CNIO, Madrid, Spain.
2011      4th EU-USA Conference on ‘DNA Base Damage and Repair’, Oslo, 
              Norway (Symposium Speaker).
2011       Biozentrum, University of Basel, Switzerland.
2011      8th European Cytogenetic Conference, Porto, Portugal 
               (Symposium Speaker)

2011      European Environmental Mutagen Society Annual Meeting, 
              Barcelona, Spain (Symposium Speaker).
2011      FASEB Conference on ‘Helicases and Nucleic Acid Translocases’, 
              Steamboat Springs, CO, USA (Symposium Speaker).
2011       Institute of Biochemistry and Biophysics, University of Warsaw, Poland.
2011       Dept. of Biochemistry, Eötvös University, Budapest, Hungary.
2011      National Cancer Research Institute Annual Meeting, Liverpool, 
              UK (Session organizer, speaker and Chairman).
2011      International conference on Current Trends in Biomedicine - 
              ‘The enemy within: endogenous DNA damage as a source of cancer 
              and ageing’ Baeza, Spain (Symposium Speaker).
2011       Department of Genetics, University of Leicester, UK
2012       MRC Protein Phosphorylation Unit, University of Dundee, Scotland, UK
2012      Abcam International Conference on ‘Maintenance of Genome 
              Stability’ Nassau, Bahamas (Symposium Speaker).
2012      Department of Biology, University of Aarhus, Denmark
2012      Swiss Meeting on ‘Genome Stability’, Weggis, Switzerland 
              (Keynote Lecturer).

2012      3rd Erling Seeberg Conference on DNA Repair, Trondheim, 
              Norway (Symposium Speaker).


2002      Keystone Symposium on ‘DNA helicases, Cancer and Aging’
             Tahoe City, California, USA (jointly with Dr J. Campisi).
2003      EU Research and Training Network meeting on ‘Genome stability
             and cell cycle checkpoints’, Oxford, UK. 
2007      Keystone Symposium on ‘Genome Instability and Repair’,
             Breckenridge, Colorado, USA (jointly with Drs. N. Maizels and D. Roth).


UK Patent Application number 9703633.9 filed 21/02/97 (cancer therapy).  Inventors: Ian Hickson and Sue Edwards.  Subsequent PCT application filed 21/02/98.

US Patent Application number P24044 filed 24/07/2001 (inhibitors of DNA repair as anticancer agents).  Inventors: Ian Hickson and Timothy Hammonds.


Funding for Period 1985-2005

  1. Medical Research Council  (£96,000)   DNA Repair and Genetic Recombination in E coli:  Role of the recB and recC Gene Products (joint with P.T. Emmerson)
  2. Cancer Research Campaign (£43,000)      Measurement of Mammalian Enzymes Involved in the Repair of Alkylated DNA,their Inducibility and Role in Cytotoxic Drug Resistance.
  3. Cancer Research Campaign (£103,000)      Characterisation of DNA Repair Mutants of CHO Cells which Exhibit Sensitivity to Anticancer Drugs.
  4. Cancer Research Campaign (£32,000)      Automated Synthesis of Oligonucletides (joint with P.T. Emmerson and B. Westley).
  5. Cancer Research Campaign (£118,000)      The Use of Mutant Cell Lines as Hosts for the Cloning of Human DNA Repair Genes.
  6. Science and Engineering Research Council (£69,000)      The Structure and Mechanism of Action of the E coli RecBC Protein (joint with P.T. Emmerson)
  7. Cancer Research Campaign (£84,000)      Mutagenesis, Genetic Recombination and Inducible DNA Repair in Mammalian Cell Mutants Hypersensitive to Antitumour Drugs.
  8. Medical Research Council (£119,000)      Molecular Cloning of a Human Gene Involved in DNA Repair and Mutagenesis (joint with A.L. Harris).
  9. The Brazilian Government - Clinical Research Scholarship for Dr M. Ines Sandri - Regulation of topoisomerase II gene expression in humans.  (£118,000 approx).
  10. The Medical Research Council (UK) - Clinical Training Fellowship for Dr Ronjon Chakraverty - Regulation of topoisomerase II.  (£92,000; salary plus £4,500 p.a. bench fees).
  11. Boehringer Ingelheim Fonds, Germany - Fellowship for Julia Karow - Analysis of Bloom's syndrome.  (£41,000 approx; salary).  Bench fees of £9,000 p.a. obtained by competitive bidding to the ICRF.
  12. University of Aarhus, Denmark – Short-term Fellowship for Sanne Jensen – Regulation of Topoismerase II in Human Cells.  (£7,000 approx).
  13. Imperial Cancer Research Fund - Translational Research Fellowship - ‘HAP1 as a target for antitumour agents’.  (£105,000; salary plus £9,000 p.a. bench fees).
  14. Hong Kong / UK Overseas Fellowship, British Council and Henry Lester Trust - Clinical Research Fellowship for Dr Xiaoqi Wang - Role of topoisomerase II in maintenance of genome stability.  (£75,000 approx; salary).
  15. Wellcome Trust (UK) – Prize Studentship for Chris Tomkins (originally to work with Dr A. M. Tolkovsky) – Cellular Responses to Genotoxic Stress.  (£39,000; salary and £4,000 p.a. bench fees)
  16. University of Pavia, Italy, and the European Union Training and Mobility Research Programme - Regulation of topoisomerase II in human cells - for Fulvio Guano.  (£12,000 approx and £85,000 approx.).  TMR fellowship not activated.
  17. Imperial Cancer Research Fund – Postdoctoral Fellowship (1999 competitive bidding application; £100, 000 approx, plus £9,000 p.a. bench fees).
  18. National Institutes on Aging (USA) – Support for Keystone 2002 conference on ‘DNA helicases, Cancer and Aging’ ($15,000).  Grant number CA 94351-01.
  19. National Cancer Institute (USA) – Support for Keystone 2002 conference on ‘DNA helicases, Cancer and Aging ($5,000).  Grant number CA 94351-01. 
  20. Ellison Foundation (USA) – Support for Keystone 2002 conference on ‘DNA helicases, Cancer and Aging’ ($10,000).
  21. Medical Research Council (UK) – 3 year Clinical Training Fellowship for Dr N. Levitt – Understanding the role of the Bloom’s syndrome gene product in the suppression of neoplasia. (£102,000; salary plus £4,500 p.a. bench fees).
  22. European Union (2002-2003) - Marie Curie Fellowship for Dr C. Bachrati – Regulation of the Bloom’s syndrome gene product. (approx £85,000).
  23. Imperial Cancer Research Fund (2001-2004) – 3 year Postdoctoral Fellowship (2001 competitive bidding application; £100, 000 approx, plus £9,000 p.a. bench fees).
  24. Imperial Cancer Research Fund (2001-2004) – Translational Research Fellowship - ‘Functional Significance of Polymorphisms in the XRCC3 DNA Repair Gene Associated with a High Risk of Malignant Melanoma’.  (£100, 000 approx, plus £9,000 p.a. bench fees).
  25. National Institutes of Health (USA) R21 grant number CA91267-01 (Co-Investigator with Dr Paul Watt, University of Western Australia as Principal Investigator) – ‘Tools to probe mechanisms of genome instability in cancer’.  ($200,000 approx).
  26. European Union – EC Network Award RTN2-2001-00177 ‘Genome stability and checkpoint control’.  (£115,000 approx).
  27. Cancer Research UK – 3 year Project Grant (Co-Investigator with Dr R.H. Borts as Principal Investigator) ‘Molecular and genetic analysis of the interaction between RecQ helicases and mismatch repair proteins’.  July, 2002 for 36 months (£261,000 approx).
  28. Cancer Research UK - Programme Grant 1999-2004 (£2,350,000 approx) for personnel and running costs.
  29. Cancer Research UK Development Committee – ‘Inhibitors of Human Apurinic/Apyrimidinic Endonuclease 1 (HAP1). December 2004 (£75,000 approx).
  30. Croucher Research Foundation (Hong Kong) – Fellowship for Kok Lung Chan (Regulation of the Bloom’s syndrome helicase) to study for a Ph.D (£85,000 approx.).
  31. DFG (Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft) – Postdoctoral Fellowship for Dr Anna Heidenblut (£85,000 approx).
  32. Aventis Pharma (formally Rhone Poulenc Rorer) (France) – Scientific Collaborative Agreement. (£30,000).
  33. Cancer Research UK – Project Grant (A role for BLM in promoting replication fork regression) September, 2006 for 3 years (£166,000 approx).
  34. Cancer Research UK: Programme Grant, October 2005  (£510,542 p.a. for 5 years).
  35. Cancer Research UK – PhD Studentship, October 2006 for 4 years (£130,000 approx).
  36. Cancer Research UK-China Postdoctoral Fellowship Programme – Postdoctoral Fellowship for Dr Songmin Ying, September, 2007 for 3 years (£130,000 approx).

Current Funding

  1. NIH-Oxford University Joint Programme for PhD Students – Studentship for Miss Giang Nguyen (joint with Dr C.C. Harris, NIH) October, 2008 for 4 years (£155,000 approx).
  2. Bloom’s Syndrome Foundation – Project Grant (Towards a pharmacological cure for Bloom’s syndrome; joint with Dr Nathan Ellis, University of Chicago) January 2008 for 4 years ($100,000).
  3. LaserLab Europe – The role of PICH as a DNA tension sensor, December 2009 for 2 years (£5,000 approx).
  4. Association for International Cancer Research – Project Grant (Molecular role of PICH, a putative tumour suppressor involved in chromosome segregation) August, 2010 for 3 years (£188,669).
  5. Nordea Foundation Center for Healthy Aging – Core Support. January, 2010 for 4 years (6,000,000 DKK approx.)
  6. Danish Cancer Society – Project Grant (Identification of the role of PICH in maintenance of genome stability) January, 2011 for 3 years (4,200,000 DKK).
  7. Danish Medical Research Council (FSS) – Major Project Grant (Role of BLM in chromosome segregation and suppression of aneuploidy) January, 2011 for 3 years (7,688,952 DKK).
  8. Villum Kann Rasmussen – Block Scholarship (Role of NIP45 in the DNA damage response) November, 2011 for 2 years (1,100,000 DKK).
  9. NovoNordisk Foundation – Project Grant (Pathological consequences of a failure to unwind) January, 2012 for 2 years (600.000 DKK).

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