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Fellows Directory

Allan Balmain

Professor Allan Balmain FRS


Elected: 2015


Allan Balmain was born in Wick, Scotland and studied Organic Chemistry at the University of Glasgow. He obtained Fellowships from the Royal Society and the Alexander von Humboldt-Stiftung to pursue research in Strasbourg and Heidelberg on the mechanism of action of “tumour promoters”. He then worked at the Beatson Institute, Glasgow, before moving to the United States in 1997. Balmain has pioneered the use of the mouse as a model system for understanding the complexity of cancer at the genetic, molecular and cellular levels. He established the first molecular link between chemical carcinogen exposure and initiation of tumour development, investigated the genetic basis of cancers induced by radiation, and used mouse genetics to identify genetic variants that cause cancer susceptibility. He was elected Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh in 1995, and Fellow of the Royal Society in 2015. In the US he was elected Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and received the American Skin Association Achievement Award and the Herman Beerman Award from the Society for Investigative Dermatology.

Professional positions

Distinguished Professor of Cancer Genetics, UCSF Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center, Cancer Research Institute

Interests and expertise

Subject groups


Animal genetics, Basic cancer research, Environmental carcinogens