Prof. Ashok Venkitaraman is the Director, Cancer Science Institute of Singapore, and Distinguished Professor of Medicine at the Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine, National University of Singapore. He also holds appointments as Senior Principal Investigator and Senior Adviser at the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR).
Prof. Venkitaraman’s research has contributed fundamentally to our understanding of how cancer is suppressed by genes that maintain the integrity of DNA in the human genome. His laboratory first discovered that mutations in the breast and ovarian cancer gene, BRCA2, provoke genome instability leading to carcinogenesis. In his current roles, Prof. Venkitaraman aims to achieve a deeper understanding of the steps that underlie carcinogenesis to find new strategies to intercept cancer development before the disease reaches an advanced and hard-to-treat stage. To help translate such fundamental insights to clinical practice, Prof. Venkitaraman has worked with colleagues from many different disciplines to develop new approaches for the discovery and early development of next-generation medicines. He has developed new technology platforms for therapeutics discovery that have led to serial Cambridge University spin-out companies like PhoreMost.
In his previous roles, Prof. Venkitaraman held the Ursula Zoellner Professorship of Cancer Research at the University of Cambridge from 1998-2020, where he was Director of the Medical Research Council’s Cancer Unit and Joint Director of the Medical Research Council/Hutchison Research Centre from 2006-2019. Prof. Venkitaraman was elected a Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences, London, in 2001, and a member of the European Molecular Biology Organization (EMBO) European Academy, Heidelberg, in 2004.