Guest Professorship

Scientist in Residence

Scientist in Residence is a guest professorship that was invented at the UDE in 1998 and is funded by the Sparkasse Essen. It enables the University to invite outstanding researchers to share their experience with scientists and students.
In 2012, the GRK 1739 was elected to nominate the annual Scientist in Residence and to organize the whole event. We chose Prof. Alan Ashworth as our Scientist in Residence and we are happy and honoured that he accepted our invitation. In a public lecture, Prof. Ashworth will present the status quo of cancer research and personalized cancer treatment to a broader audience. Further, we organized a symposium in which Prof. Ashworth will be joined by six high-ranking international scientists. Below you find some more information about Prof. Ashworth and about the program of his visit in Essen.

Prof. Alan Ashworth

Picture of Prof. Alan Ashworth


Professor Alan Ashworth is a visionary scientist and a respected world leader in the field of breast cancer research and personalized cancer medicine. In his work he focuses upon using genetic principles to understand cancer biology and then using this information to develop novel and personalized therapeutic strategies for cancer treatment.

One of Professor Ashworth´s major contributions to cancer research is his work on genes involved in cancer risk. He was a key part of the team that discovered the BRCA2 gene in 1995. Ten years later, Professor Ashworth identified a way to exploit genetic weaknesses in cancer cells including mutated BRCA2, leading to a new therapeutic strategy for cancer treatment in the form of the synthetic lethality using PARP inhibitors.

Alan Ashworth was appointed Professor of Molecular Biology at the ICR in 1988, becoming Head of Section of Gene Function and Regulation. In August 1999, he became the first Director of the Breakthrough Breast Cancer Research Centre, where more than 120 scientists and researchers are working on different aspects of the disease, ranging from basic molecular and cellular biology through to translational research and clinical trials. In January 2011, Professor Ashworth took up the position of Chief Executive of the ICR. Professor Ashworth has played a big part in making the Breakthrough Research Centre the world class facility that it is today. He has led research into new treatments for hereditary breast cancer which are now in clinical trials.

In honor of his contributions to mammalian genetics and identification and study of inherited breast cancer susceptibility genes, Professor Ashworth was elected as a Fellow of the Royal Society in 2008. He is an elected member of EMBO (European Molecular Biology Organisation) and the Academy of Medical Sciences.