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DNA

Professor Anne Willis

Professor Anne Willis graduated in 1984 with a degree in Biochemistry from the University of Kent and obtained a PhD in Biochemistry in 1987 from the University of London while working in the Imperial Cancer Research Fund laboratories (now CRUK) on DNA repair with Dr Tomas Lindahl. She then moved to Cambridge to work with Professor Richard Perham in the Department of Biochemistry where she also held a Junior Research Fellowship and then a College Lectureship at Churchill College Cambridge. She was appointed to her first independent position in 1992 as a Lecturer at the University of Leicester, progressing to a Reader in 2002 and a Professor in 2004. In 2004, she moved to Nottingham to take up the position of Director of Cancer Research Nottingham and Chair of Cancer Cell Biology. During this time she built up a large team of researchers working on various aspects of post-transcriptional control of gene expression.

In 2009 Professor Willis was awarded a five-year BBSRC Professorial Fellowship to research post-transcriptional control of gene expression following exposure of cells to agents that cause genotoxic stress. Research initiated by the Willis laboratory has identified a new network that regulates translation following exposure of cells to UVB light. Interestingly, similar pathways are also activated following exposure to chemotoxic agents.

In 2010 Professor Willis was appointed as Director of the MRC Toxicology Unit, based in Leicester. The mission of the Unit is to deliver field-changing mechanistic insights into toxicology and disease.