UCL cancer researcher honoured with Blavatnik Award

Nicholas McGranahan
Nicholas McGranahan

Dr Nicholas McGranahan, a computational biologist from UCL Cancer Institute, has been named the Life Sciences Laureate at the 2024 Blavatnik Awards for Young Scientists in the UK.

The awards, announced by the Blavatnik Family Foundation and The New York Academy of Sciences , recognise research that is transforming medicine, technology, and our understanding of the world in Chemical Sciences, Physical Sciences & Engineering, and Life Sciences. The nine recipients were awarded a share of grants totalling £480,000.

Dr McGranahan, whose research explores how to harness evolutionary principles to understand cancers and why tumours are so difficult to treat, was named Life Sciences Laureate. His work also aims to understand why and how tumours spread to other parts of the body and to explore the interaction between cancer and the immune system. His research is intended to inform clinical decision-making, identify determinants of treatment resistance, and promote the development of personalized immunotherapies.

Dr McGranahan said: "I feel incredibly honoured that our work has been recognised with this prestigious award, particularly given the calibre of previous awardees. Our work is computational, focusing on how we can use data to understand cancer and its development. This means we are entirely reliant on collaborations and public data. We are fortunate to have incredible collaborators, and I am extremely excited about the future research opportunities this award will enable."  

Now in its seventh year, the Awards are the largest unrestricted prizes available to UK scientists aged 42 or younger, donating £3.3 million to scientists across UK academia since their inception. Internationally recognised by the scientific community, the Blavatnik Awards for Young Scientists are instrumental in expanding the engagement and recognition of young scientists and provide the support and encouragement needed to drive scientific innovation for the next generation.

Sir Leonard Blavatnik, Founder and Chairman of Access Industries and Head of the Blavatnik Family Foundation, said: "Providing recognition and funding early in a scientist’s career can make the difference between discoveries that remain in the lab and those that make transformative scientific breakthroughs. We are proud that the Awards have promoted both UK science and the careers of many brilliant young scientists and we look forward to their additional discoveries in the years ahead."

Professor Nicholas B. Dirks, President and CEO of The New York Academy of Sciences and Chair of the Awards’ Scientific Advisory Council, said: "From studying cancer to identifying water in far-off planets, to laying the groundwork for futuristic quantum communications systems, to making enzymes never seen before in a lab or in nature, this year’s Laureates and Finalists are pushing the boundaries of science and working to make the world a better place. Thank you to this year’s jury for sharing their time and expertise in selecting these daring and bold scientists as the winning Laureates and Finalists of the 2024 Blavatnik Awards for Young Scientists in the UK."

The full list of 2024 Blavatnik Award winners is available on the Blavatnik Awards.


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