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Fellows Directory

Alan Ashworth

Alan Ashworth

Professor Alan Ashworth FRS


Elected: 2008


Alan Ashworth is President of the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center and Senior Vice President for Cancer Services at UCSF, an appointment he began in January 2015.

Previously, he was appointed the first Director of the Breakthrough Breast Cancer Research Centre in 1999. The centre is now recognised as one of the leading breast cancer centres internationally. Alan’s directorship ended in January 2011 when he was appointed Chief Executive of the Institute of Cancer Research (ICR).

One of Alan’s major contributions has been his work on genes involved in cancer risk. He was a key part of the team that in 1995 discovered the gene BRCA2, which is linked to an increased risk of some types of cancers. Ten years later, Alan identified a way to exploit genetic weaknesses in cancer cells, including mutated BRCA1 and BRCA2, leading to a new approach to cancer treatment now approved by the FDA and EMA.

Professional positions

President, UCSF Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center, Cancer Research Institute
Senior Vice President for Cancer Services, UCSF Health, University of California, San Francisco
E. Dixon Heise Distinguished Professor in Oncology, University of California, San Francisco, The GW Hooper Research Foundation
Professor of Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of California, San Francisco

Interest and expertise

Subject groups

  • Biochemistry and molecular cell biology
    • Biochemistry and molecular biology, Cell biology (incl molecular cell biology)
  • Health and human sciences
    • Molecular medicine


Cancer, Genetics, Drug research and development, DNA repair, Molecular profiling

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