Senior Group Leader

Research Group Home Page: 

Prof Steve Jackson PhD FRS FMedSci
Frederick James Quick Professor of Biology

My academic research aims to better understand how cells detect and repair DNA damage and signal its presence to affect myriad aspects of cell biology. My laboratory has a strong track record of using a broad range of cell and molecular biological techniques and approaches, in both mammalian and yeast cells.

My discovery that DNA breaks trigger DNA-PK kinase activity established a paradigm for DNA damage detection and signalling, leading us to identify the first non-homologous end-joining (NHEJ) DNA-repair proteins. Subsequently, we identified and/or determined functions for these and other core NHEJ proteins, showing how they and additional DDR factors interact in regulated ways.

We have defined many aspects of the DDR, particularly those controlling and/or mediated by phosphorylation, ubiquitylation, sumoylation and/or chromatin modifications. In 1995, we found that DDR-enzyme-targeting compounds could selectively kill cancer cells, and that defects in some cause DNA-damage hypersensitivity in the absence of others.

Knowing that DDR defects occur in cancer, I founded KuDOS Pharmaceuticals: the world’s first DNA-repair company. KuDOS developed the innovative precision anti-cancer medicine olaparib/LynparzaTM that is enhancing and extending the lives of thousands of patients worldwide. My academic laboratory is currently further defining mechanisms of DNA repair and associated processes, with a view to delivering new biological insights and identifying new therapeutic opportunities for cancer and other diseases.

It is my belief that a deeper knowledge of DNA repair and DDR pathways will yield better understandings of diseases that arise when such pathways are impaired or deregulated.

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

Genetic determinants of micronucleus formation in vivo.

E-pub date: 14 Feb 2024
Journal name: Nature

RAD54L2 counters TOP2-DNA adducts to promote genome stability.

E-pub date: 8 Dec 2023
Journal name: Sci Adv

Knockout or inhibition of USP30 protects dopaminergic neurons in a Parkinson’s disease mouse model

E-pub date: 13 Nov 2023
Journal name: Nature Communications

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
AstraZeneca Yes Yes No No No Yes No No
GSK Yes Yes No No No Yes No No
Mission Therapeutics Ltd Yes Yes Yes No Yes No No No
Adrestia Therapeutics Ltd Yes Yes Yes No Yes No No No
Tailor Bio Yes No Yes No No Yes No No
Ahren Innovation Capital Yes No Yes No No Yes No No
Inflex Ltd Yes No No No No Yes No No
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