Frances Balkwill is Professor of Cancer Biology at Barts Cancer Institute, Queen Mary University of London where she leads the Centre for Cancer and Inflammation. She studies the links between cancer and inflammation being especially interested in translating knowledge of cancer biology into new biological treatments for cancer, the role that inflammatory cytokines play in cancer promotion and novel ways of modelling the human tumour microenvironment. Fran runs a research centre of approximately 30 scientists, postgraduate students and clinicians. Fran is an author on 250+ scientific papers and reviews and has written and edited a number of academic books on her subject. In 2006, she was made a Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences and has served on its Council. Fran is a frequent plenary and keynote speaker at international meetings.
Fran is also actively involved in communication of science to non-specialist audiences, especially young people. Fran is Director of the Centre of the Cell, a biomedical science centre for children, educational website and outreach project in East London. There have been more than 150,000 participants in Centre of the Cell activities since opening in September 2009. Fran’s science communication work has been recognised by the award of the 2004 EMBO prize for communication in the Life Sciences and the 2005 Royal Society Michael Faraday Prize. Together with illustrator Mic Rolph, Fran has also produced thirteen science books for children on cell and molecular biology with titles such as Enjoy Your Cells and The Egg and Sperm Race. These books have been translated into at least twelve foreign languages with over half a million copies sold worldwide.
Fran is a non-parliamentary board member of the Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology, POST, and serves on Wellcome, MRC and ERC grant committees. Fran was awarded an OBE in the 2008 Queen’s Birthday Honours list. In 2015 Fran was awarded the honorary degree of Doctor of Science honoris causa by the University of Bristol where she studied as an undergraduate.