Julian Downward: Biography

Julian David Harry Downward FRS (born 25 October 1960) is a British biochemist.

Julian obtained his bachelor's degree in natural sciences from Cambridge University and then studied for his PhD in biochemistry in the laboratory of Michael Waterfield at the Imperial Cancer Research Fund in London, where he established in 1984 a link between a retroviral gene (v-erbB) and a cellular growth regulatory protein, the EGF receptor, leading to an ISI 'citation classic' publication.

In 1986, he moved to Robert Weinberg's laboratory at the Whitehead Institute at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, MA, where he began work on the role of Ras proteins in human cancer.

In 1989 he started his own lab at the Imperial Cancer Research Fund in London, which became Cancer Research UK in 2002 and is now part of the Francis Crick Institute. The lab has provided critical insights into the molecular mechanisms of function and regulation of oncogenic proteins of the Ras family and their importance in human tumours.

Julian has a long held interest in functional genomics, coordinating a number of programmes in this area. He holds honorary professorships at University College London and at St Bartholomew's Hospital Medical School, London. He has published over 150 papers in international scientific journals. He was elected to the membership of the European Molecular Biology Organisation in 1995 and was made a Fellow of the Royal Society in 2005. He belongs to the Editorial Boards of the journals Cell, Science and Molecular Cell.

Julian Downward

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  • Qualifications and history
  • 1986 PhD in Natural Sciences, Imperial College, London University, UK
  • 1986 Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, USA
  • 1989 Established lab at the Imperial Cancer Research Fund (in 2002 the Imperial Cancer Research Fund became Cancer Research UK)
  • 2015 Associate Research Director, the Francis Crick Institute, London, UK