Thomas Helleday

Thomas Helleday

Company: University of Sheffield

Job title: Professor of Translational Oncology


After being awarded separate degrees in molecular biology, business administration and economics I continued as a postgraduate student and completed my PhD at Stockholm University for studies on homologous recombination in mammalian cells. 

In 1999 I joined the University of Sheffield as a post-doctoral researcher and was soon after appointed to a lectureship to set up a research group. I was then promoted to Professor in Cancer Genetics at the University of Sheffield in 2006, which was followed by my recruitment as MRC Professor of Cancer Therapeutics at the MRC/CRUK Institute for Radiation Oncology and Biology at the University of Oxford in 2007. From 2012 I have been Torsten and Ragnar Söderberg Professor of Translational Medicine and Chemical Biology at the Science for Life Laboratory at the Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm. I have recently moved back to Sheffield and I am Professor of Translational Oncology and founding Director of the Weston Park Cancer Centre. 

Over the years I have won a number of prestigious international awards including twice European Research Council Advanced Research Programme Awards, The Eppendorf-Nature Young European Investigator Award (by journal Nature), European Association for Cancer Research (EACR) Young Cancer Researchers Award, Carcinogenesis Young Investigator Award and Swiss Bridge Award. 

I head a multidisciplinary translational research group focusing on understanding basic DNA repair and DNA-damage signalling pathways at replication forks and developing novel drugs for anti-cancer treatments. The group was first to demonstrate a novel concept for treating cancer called “synthetic lethality” established by the selective killing of BRCA mutated breast and ovarian cancers by PARP inhibitors. The research group is currently divided into teams focusing on basic science, biology, biochemistry, medicinal chemistry, in vivo pharmacology and clinical development. The work is focussed on bench to bedside with the group motto being ‘turning cancer defects into cures’. Compounds generated in the Helleday laboratory are currently tested in clinical trials.

We are working tremendously hard to ensure that innovative and transformative treatments get quickly and effectively from our research laboratories into the clinic to ensure maximum patient benefit. 


MTHFD2i, a Novel Synthetic Lethal Approach to Induce Replication Stress in Cancer 3:30 pm

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day: Day Two

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