The prestigious award from The Royal Society has been given for enormous contributions to understanding the aetiology of cancers by her analyses of mutation signatures in cancer genomes, which is now being applied to cancer therapy.
Dr Nik-Zainal and her research team at the University of Cambridge’s Department of Medical Genetics and MRC Cancer Unit have recently developed the MMRDetect clinical algorithm. The clinical tool makes it possible to identify tumours that have ‘mismatch repair deficiencies’ and then improve the personalisation of cancer therapies to exploit those weaknesses.
Francis Crick Medal and Lecture is awarded annually in any field in the biological sciences.
Preference is given to genetics, molecular biology and neurobiology, the general areas in which Francis Crick worked, and to fundamental theoretical work, which was the hallmark of Crick’s science.
The lectureship was endowed by Sydney Brenner FRS in memory of Francis Crick FRS, the co-discoverer of the structure of the DNA molecule. The first lecture was given in 2003.
Dr Nik-Zainal is one of 26 medal and award winners, who are recognised by The Royal Society for their exceptional research and outstanding contributions, from advancing quantum computing, revolutionising prenatal testing, and challenging racist pseudoscience.