Director of Research

Research Group Home Page: 

Florian Markowetz is Professor of Computational Oncology at the University of Cambridge and Senior Group Leader at the Cancer Research UK Cambridge Institute. He received a Royal Society Wolfson Research Merit Award and a CRUK Future Leader in Cancer Research prize. He holds degrees in Mathematics (Dipl. math.) and Philosophy (M.A.) from the University of Heidelberg and a Dr. rer. nat.  in Computational Biology from Free University Berlin, for which he was awarded an Otto-Hahn Medal by the Max Planck Society. He is a co-founder and director at Tailor Bio, a genomics start-up developing a pan-cancer precision medicine platform.


Our mission: “We build technologies for doctors to make better decisions faster.”

This means that our group is medically oriented, very applied (aka “translational”) and that we focus on projects for which we have a line-of-sight to real-world impact.

Core values: The success of our lab is built on our shared core values:

  • Collaboration - we work in a close scientific network and we contribute proactively to all collaborations;
  • Creativity - we do things differently -better, we think- and our approaches and questions are unique; we don’t just do what everyone else is doing;
  • Generosity - we are generous with time and support. We help each other and collaborators (without, say, immediately asking for an authorship in return);
  • People over projects - we shape the project to fit your strengths and ideas;
  • Rigour - we do things right. We walk the extra mile. If it looks like more work it probably is the right thing to do;
  • Transparency - we share code, drafts, data, and any other information freely inside and outside the group. We talk openly about your plans and projects.

Reading about the lab: If you are interested in working in our lab, please speak to current lab members and find out what life in the lab is really like. Nothing can replace these personal impressions, but the following articles can be a start to learning more about the spirit of the lab:

  1. My paper ‘You are not working for me; I am working with you’ 
  2. My paper 'All models are wrong and yours are useless: making clinical prediction models impactful for patients'
  3. My paper ‘Five selfish reasons to work reproducibly
  4. My blog post 'Why science needs continuous leadership support’. 
  5. Additional background reading: Kearns and Gardiner, 'The care and maintenance of your advisor' 

A guide to applicants: The researchers in the lab come from various backgrounds - from biochemistry to computer science - and work with a variety of techniques - from machine learning to tissue culture. If you want to see how you would fit in, send me an email with your CV. In fact, I receive inquiries about PhD or postdoc opportunities almost every day. Many of them are well written and I usually respond to them quickly.

These positive examples have several features in common:

  • Good emails address Florian by his name: 'Dear Dr. Markowetz' is fine; 'Hi Florian' is Ok if we have met; but 'Dear Most Respected Sir' or no salutation at all will lead to instant deletion.
  • Good emails explain why the applicant's background would fit into the Markowetz lab: A desire to work at a 'most glorious university' is not enough, you must explain why you think you are a good fit for this particular lab.
  • Good emails attach a CV: in English, short and concise (2-4 pages, never more), clearly organized.

If your email follows these positive examples, there is a good chance you get a response. To increase your chances even further: put '[fmlab]' into the subject line of your email. This will ensure that you land in the right email folder.

If there is an official job ad, make sure to submit your application to the official Cambridge University job site and make sure to quote the reference number in all correspondence.

Good luck!


Work address: 
Cancer Research UK Cambridge Institute University of Cambridge Li Ka Shing Centre Robinson Way Cambridge CB2 0RE

Research Integrity Conflict of Interest Disclosure: 
Last revised: 
Company Active Research funding Ownership Royalty payments Commitment to carry out work for a fee Ad hoc reimbursed work Travel Gifts/ other
Definiens No No No Yes No No No Yes
Agilent Yes Yes No No No No No No
Cambridge University Press Yes No No Yes No No No No
Kristkeitz Verlag Yes No No Yes No No No No
Tailor Bio Yes No Yes No No No No No
The Alan Turing Institute Yes No No No Yes No No No
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