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Fellows Directory

Melvyn Greaves

Melvyn Greaves

Sir Melvyn Greaves FMedSci FRS


Elected: 2003


Professor Melvyn Greaves trained in zoology and immunology at University College London and Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm before focusing his research on cancer and leukaemia in the mid-1970s. He introduced novel antibody/flow cytometry-based methods for the biological classification of leukaemias that led to insights into the cellular origins of disease and more specific allocation of treatment. His work on the molecular genetics of childhood leukaemia uncovered the prenatal origin of this disease and shed light on its possible infectious causes.

His current research is focused on stem cells, genetic architecture and clonal evolution in leukaemia and on the evolutionary biology of cancer. This research has been recognised by many awards, including the 2001 EHA–José Carreras Award, the British Society for Haematology Gold Medal and the 1988 King Faisal International Prize for Medicine. He is the author of the popular science book, Cancer: The Evolutionary Legacy (2000). In 2013, he established the Centre for Evolution and Cancer at the Institute of Cancer Research in London, the first of its kind worldwide.

Interest and expertise

Subject groups

  • Biochemistry and molecular cell biology
    • Cell biology (incl molecular cell biology)
  • Health and human sciences
    • Molecular medicine
  • Other
    • Other interests
  • Organismal biology, evolution and ecology
    • Evolution, Epidemiology (non-clinical)
  • Microbiology, immunology and developmental biology
    • Cellular pathology, Genetics (excluding population genetics)


Leukaemia, cancer, evolutionary biology


  • King Faisal International Prize

    In the field of leukemia.

  • Royal Medals

    For his research on surface antigens of normal and leukaemic cells that defined the cellular lineage of different leukaemias and led to procedures now in routine clinical us.

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