Focus: Growth factors

'Open for Dicovery', our current exhibition, features the work of Crick scientist Julian Downward. Scroll down for detailed information about his current research, related news stories and events, and recommended reading.

Science in conversation: Generations

Featured scientist: Julian Downward

Julian Downward in the Oncogene Biology Laboratory

Julian Downward in the Oncogene Biology Laboratory (Click to view larger image)
© Thomas Farnetti / 2017 / Wellcome

Julian Downward is an Associate Research Director at the Francis Crick Institute and Group Leader of the Oncogene Biology Laboratory. He has a long held interest in functional genomics, coordinating a number of programmes in this area.

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 Crick. 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.

The Oncogene Biology Laboratory investigates the mechanisms by which cells respond to external signals that regulate their proliferation and survival, in particular the signalling pathways along which information is transferred leading from cell surface receptors to events in the cell nucleus, and how these are altered during the process of malignant transformation.

Read more about the research of the Oncogene Biology Laboratory.

Find out more

Upcoming events

The Francis Crick Institute Flagship lectures are open to scientists from other institutes and universities in and around London.

The upcoming lectures related to this topic are:

  • 18 May 2017 - Asifa Akhtar, Max Planck Institute of Immunobiology and Epigenetics
  • 1 June 2017 - Ruslan Medzhitov, Yale
  • 15 June 2017 - Adrian Bird, University of Edinburgh
  • 7 September 2017 - Patrick Cramer, Max Planck Biophysical Chemistry, Gottingen 

Get more information about the Flagship lectures.

Suggested reading


Weston, KM (2014) Blue Skies and Bench Space, Cold Spring Harbor, NY: Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press.


Downward, J (2015)
RAS synthetic lethal screens revisited: Still seeking the elusive prize? Clinical Cancer Research 21, 1802-1809  

Fritsch, R and Downward, J (2013)
SnapShot: Class I PI3K isoform signaling. Cell 154, 940-940 e941 

Weigelt, B and Downward, J (2012)
Genomic determinants of PI3K pathway inhibitor response in cancer. Frontiers in Oncology 2, 109

Downward, J. et al. (1984)
Close Similarity of Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor and v-erb-B Oncogene Protein Sequences, Nature, 307, pp521-27

Waterfield, MD. (2007)
Cracking the Mild, Difficult and Fiendish Codes Within and Downstream of the EGFR to Link Diagnostics and Therapeutics, Biochemical Society Transactions, 35: 1, pp1-6.

Waterfield, MD. et al. (1983)
Platelet-derived Growth Factor is Structurally Related to the Putative Transforming Protein p28sis of Simian Sarcoma Virus, Nature, 34: pp35-39.

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