Seminar Title: Exploiting DNA repair vulnerabilities in cancer
Speaker: Dr Simon J. Boulton.
Title and Organisation: Senior Group Leader, Francis Crick Institute & SVP Science Strategy, Artios Pharma Ltd.
Date and Time: Thursday 7th November 2-3pm.
Location: GSK Stevenage Lecture Theatre.
Hosted by: Andrew Powell (Crick-GSK LinkLabs)
Simon’s seminar will describe his research that has led to understanding of DNA repair mechanisms and how these mechanisms can be targeted therapeutically. Cancer cells acquire unlimited proliferative capacity by either re-expressing telomerase or inducing alternative lengthening of telomeres (ALT), which relies on telomere recombination. The seminar will focus on his research investigating the Alternative Lengthening of Telomeres (ALT) pathway and the critical regulatory mechanisms for telomere maintenance in cancer cells. He will also describe how the molecular mechanisms involved in telomere replication also regulate homologous recombination-mediated dsDNA repair.
Simon is Senior Group Leader at the Francis Crick Institute and VP of Scientific Strategy at Artios. He is also an honorary Professor at University College London and Kings College London, a Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences (FMedSci) and member of the European Molecular Biology Organization (EMBO).
Simon has a long-standing interest in the mechanisms of DNA repair. His early career achievements include the identification of non-homologous end joining (NHEJ) factors in budding yeast, and the establishment of their importance in preventing error-prone DNA repair and in maintaining telomere integrity. Over the last 15 years, Simon’s laboratory has used genetics, biochemistry and biophysical approaches to discover novel DNA repair genes and to provide molecular insights into their impact on human diseases. His work has played an important role in shaping our understanding of the process of homologous recombination (HR), a key DNA double stand break repair pathway required for the maintenance of genome stability. Loss or inappropriate utilisation of HR is a well-documented source of chromosomal instability and a key driver of tumorigenesis.
As a result of his ground-breaking work, Simon has received a number of prestigious accolades, most notably the EMBO Gold Medal and the Paul Marks Prize for Cancer Research. He has also given numerous prize lectures, including the Royal Society Francis Crick Prize lecture and the Mendel Lecture. He was recently awarded the role of Ambassador for Translation at The Francis Crick Institute. Simon established the DNA Damage Response Laboratory at Cancer Research UK, London Research Institute, Clare Hall Laboratory having completed post-doctoral fellowships at Harvard Medical School, Boston. Simon gained his PhD with Steve Jackson (founder of KuDos, who developed the first clinically approved PARP inhibitor) at the University of Cambridge.
Simon is also a Scientific Co-founder of Artios Pharma Ltd (established Q3, 2016), which is developing breakthrough cancer treatments that target DNA repair vulnerabilities to selectively kill cancer cells either as mono-therapies or in combination with existing treatments. As SVP Science Strategy, Simon helped to raise Series A and Series B financing to establish and progress the lead assets of the company. Boulton chairs the Scientific Advisory Board for Artios and is an Executive board member.