Richard Marais

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Richard Marais

Richard Marais Royal Society.jpg
Richard Marais at the Royal Society admissions day in London, July 2018
Richard Malcolm Marais
Alma materUniversity College London (BSc)
Imperial College London (PhD)[1]
Scientific career
ThesisComparative studies on protein kinase C isotypes (1989)
Doctoral advisorPeter Parker[1][6]
Other academic advisorsRichard Treisman
Chris Marshall[6]

Richard Malcolm Marais FRS FMedSci MAE[3][7][8] is Director of the Cancer Research UK (CRUK) Manchester Institute and Professor of Molecular Oncology at the University of Manchester.[3][9]


Marais was educated at University College London where he was awarded a Bachelor of Science degree in Genetics and Microbiology in 1985.[10] He completed his postgraduate study at the Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research and was awarded a PhD in 1989 for research on isotypes of the protein kinase C (PKC) enzyme supervised by Peter Parker.[1]

Career and research[edit]

Marais's research investigates the biology of melanoma and other cancers in order to deliver better treatment strategies for patients.[3][9][5][4] His studies on B-RAF[4] and cell signalling significantly advanced understanding of melanoma biology and aetiology.[3][11] He translated his basic research discoveries into clinical implementation, improving patient outcomes, elucidating mechanisms of drug resistance and developing new drugs against BRAF and other cancer targets.[3] His research informs innovative clinical trial designs with signal-seeking biomarkers to monitor therapy responses and optimise patient treatment.[3] His research also highlights the importance of combining sunscreen with other sun avoidance strategies to reduce population melanoma risk.[3]

Marais started his career as a postdoctoral researcher with Richard Treisman[6] at the Imperial Cancer Research Fund (ICRF) in London, where he worked on the oncogene known as c-Fos.[8] This was followed by a period in Chris Marshall’s laboratory at the Institute of Cancer Research (ICR), after which Marais set up his own laboratory in 1998 before moving to Manchester in 2012.[6]

University of Manchester launched in 2019 an investigation into research misconduct from the Marais laboratory[12]

Awards and honours[edit]

With colleagues, Marais received the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) Team Science Award in 2012 for cancer drug discoveries.[3] He received the Leopold Griffuel Prize in 2016[3] and the Outstanding Research Award from the Society for Melanoma Research (SMR) in 2017.[3] He was elected a member of the European Molecular Biology Organization (EMBO) in 2009,[2] a Fellow of the Royal Society (FRS) in 2018,[3] and a Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences (FMedSci) in 2008.[7] His citation on election reads:

Richard Marais is Professor of Molecular Oncology at Cancer Research UK and has made important contributions to the understanding of cell signalling pathways, particularly in cancer. He was amongst the first to show that mitogen activated protein kinases regulate gene expression by directly phosphorylating transcription factors. However his greatest impact has been with the RAF kinase family, where he discovered that individual RAF proteins are regulated differentially and shown how they respond to RAS, which is mutated in a third of all human tumours. He was a key member of the team that demonstrated that B-RAF is encoded by an oncogene, which is a culprit in most human melanomas. He went on to validate B-RAF as a therapeutic target. In collaboration with David Barford, he solved the crystal structure of B-RAF and explained how it is activated by mutations that occur in cancer. He elucidated why C-RAF is not mutated in cancer, showing that mutant forms of B-RAF can activate C-RAF through a novel mechanism, establishing a new paradigm of RAF signaling. He is now translating these studies to the clinic by leading a large effort to design and synthesize new anti-B-RAF drugs that will be used to treat melanoma.[7]

Marais was awarded membership of the Academia Europaea (MAE) in 2015.[8]


  1. ^ a b c Marais, Richard Malcolm (1989). Comparative studies on protein kinase C isotypes. (PhD thesis). University of London. hdl:10044/1/47556. OCLC 940321860. EThOS Free to read
  2. ^ a b c "Find people in the EMBO Communities". Retrieved 26 May 2018.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n "Professor Richard Marais FRS". London: Royal Society. 2018. Archived from the original on 2018-05-21. One or more of the preceding sentences incorporates text from the website where:

    “All text published under the heading 'Biography' on Fellow profile pages is available under Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.” --Royal Society Terms, conditions and policies at the Wayback Machine (archived 2016-11-11)

  4. ^ a b c Davies, Helen; Bignell, Graham R.; Cox, Charles; et al. (2002). "Mutations of the BRAF gene in human cancer" (PDF). Nature. 417 (6892): 949–954. doi:10.1038/nature00766. ISSN 0028-0836. PMID 12068308. closed access
  5. ^ a b Wan, Paul T.C; Garnett, Mathew J; Roe, S.Mark; et al. (2004). "Mechanism of Activation of the RAF-ERK Signaling Pathway by Oncogenic Mutations of B-RAF". Cell. 116 (6): 855–867. doi:10.1016/s0092-8674(04)00215-6. ISSN 0092-8674. PMID 15035987. closed access
  6. ^ a b c d Larue, Lionel (2010). "Richard Marais". Pigment Cell & Melanoma Research. 23 (3): 448–448. doi:10.1111/j.1755-148X.2010.00708.x. ISSN 1755-1471. PMID 20518862.
  7. ^ a b c "Richard Marais FMedSdi".
  8. ^ a b c Hoffmann, Ilire Hasani, Robert. "Academy of Europe: Marais Richard". Retrieved 26 May 2018.
  9. ^ a b Richard Marais publications from Europe PubMed Central
  10. ^ "Cancer Research UK Manchester Institute > Our Research > Molecular Oncology". Retrieved 26 May 2018.
  11. ^ Gray-Schopfer, Vanessa; Wellbrock, Claudia; Marais, Richard (2007). "Melanoma biology and new targeted therapy". Nature. 445 (7130): 851–857. doi:10.1038/nature05661. ISSN 1476-4687. PMID 17314971. closed access
  12. ^

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