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Fellows Directory

Richard Houlston

Professor Richard Houlston FMedSci FRS


Elected: 2017


Twitter @HoulstonLab_ICR

ORCID 0000-0002-5268-0242


Richard Houlston is a clinical geneticist whose achievements relate to genetics and cancer risk. His detailed work on rare familial cancers led to the identification of gene mutations responsible for a subset of colorectal and renal cancer which has been translated into diagnostic tests. He has also been instrumental in showing much of the heritable risk of cancer is a consequence of common genetic variation, identifying this class of susceptibility for colorectal, lung, glioma, leukaemia, lymphoma and multiple myeloma.

His work has provided insight into the biological basis of cancer. Notably in showing mutations of fumarate hydratase as a cause of renal cancer, contributing evidence for the role of pseudo-hypoxic drive in cancer. Furthermore, his work has emphasised the role of DNA sequence variation in regulatory regions as determinants of cancer risk by influencing gene expression through complex long-range interactions brought about by the 3D structure of the genome.

Richard is a Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences, the Royal Society of Biology and the European Academy of Cancer Sciences.

Professional positions

Professor of Molecular and Population Genetics, Division of Genetics and Epidemiology, Institute of Cancer Research

Interests and expertise

Subject groups


Cancer genetics, cancer screening and prevention, precision medicine, tumour profiling