Stephen West: Biography

Stephen West was born near Hull, Yorkshire, in 1952. He studied biochemistry at Newcastle University before moving to the USA to carry out post-doctoral work with Paul Howard-Flanders in the Department of Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry at Yale University. In 1985, he moved back to the UK to set up a research group at the Imperial Cancer Research Fund's new Clare Hall Laboratories at South Mimms (which became the Cancer Research UK London Research Institute in 2002 and the Francis Crick Institute in 2015). He is now a Senior Group Leader at the Crick.

Stephen West has been a leader in the fields of genetic recombination and DNA repair for the past three decades. As his work crosses the boundaries between basic research studies of DNA repair and tumourigenesis, he is a frequent keynote speaker at major international meetings. Steve plays an active role in the organisation of international conferences, and co-organised the biannual EMBO workshop on Genetic Recombination and the Maintenance of Genome Stability (1992-2010). He now organises this meeting with support from ABCAM (2014 and 2016). He also organised the first Annual EMBO Conference (with Hans Clevers) in 2009.

Steve's research centres on mechanisms of genetic recombination and DNA strand break repair. In particular, he has defined relationships between defective DNA repair processes and human diseases such as inheritable breast cancer and neurological disorders.

Professional experience

  • 2015- present: Senior Group Leader, Francis Crick Institute
  • 2007-2015: Deputy Director, Clare Hall Laboratories,
    London Research Institute, UK
  • 1989-2015: Senior Group Leader, London Research Institute
    (formerly Imperial Cancer Research Fund), UK
  • 1999-present: Honorary Professor, University College London, UK
  • 1985-1989: Senior Scientist, Imperial Cancer Research Fund, UK
  • 1983-1985: Research Scientist, Department of Therapeutic Radiology, Yale University, USA
  • 1978-1983: Research Associate, Department of Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry, Yale
  • 1977-1978: Research Associate, Department of Biochemistry, Newcastle University, UK

Prizes and awards

  • 2015: The Genome Stability Network Medal
  • 2012: The Genetics Medal
  • 2011: Breast Cancer Campaign, 'Team of the Year'
  • 2010: GlaxoSmithKline Prize and Medal of the Royal Society
  • 2009: Swiss Bridge Prize Award for Cancer Research
  • 2008: Novartis Medal and Prize from the Biochemical Society
  • 2007: Louis-Jeantet Prize for Medicine
  • 2002: Leeuwenhoek Medal of the Royal Society
  • 2001: Swiss Bridge Prize Award for Cancer Research

Academic distinctions/societies

  • 2011: Elected Fellow of the European Academy of Cancer Sciences
  • 2000: Elected Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences
  • 2000: Elected Member of the Academia Europaea
  • 1995: Elected Fellow of the Royal Society
  • 1994: Elected Member of EMBO

Editorial activities

  • 2014-present: Board of Reviewing Editors, e-Life
  • 2001-present: Editorial Board of DNA Repair
  • 2000-present: Editorial Board of EMBO Reports
  • 1996-present: Editorial Board of EMBO Journal
  • 1995-1999: Editorial Board of Nucleic Acids Research
  • 1996-1998: Associate Editor of Genes to Cells

Stephen West
+44 (0)20 379 62071

  • Qualifications and History
  • 1977 PhD in Biochemistry, Newcastle University, UK
  • 1978 Research Associate, Department of Therapeutic Radiology, Yale University, USA
  • 1985 Established lab at the Imperial Cancer Research Fund, UK (in 2002 the Imperial Cancer Research Fund became Cancer Research UK)
  • 2015 Group Leader, the Francis Crick Institute, London, UK