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About us

Named after its co-founder, Nobel Laureate Sir John Gurdon, the Gurdon Institute is a world-leading centre for research into the biology of development and how normal growth and maintenance go wrong in diseases such as cancer.

More than 240 scientists work in the Gurdon Institute’s purpose-built laboratories under sixteen Group Leaders, on projects ranging from breast cancer and brain development to liver regeneration and leukaemia. Many have made pioneering contributions to the fields of basic cell biology, cellular reprogramming, epigenetics and DNA repair. 

Institute scientists use a range of model systems such as yeast, nematode worms, fruit flies, frogs, mammalian cells and organoids to study development and disease at the level of molecules, cells and tissues.

For an Institute whose mission is fundamental research, we have had considerable success in translation. Research conducted here has so far led to 11 spin-out companies (including KuDOS Pharmaceuticals, Abcam, Chroma Therapeutics, CellCentric, MISSION Therapeutics and Gen2 Neuro) and five candidate drugs. One of these, olaparib (Lynparza) has been approved in the UK, Europe and the USA for use against ovarian cancers, and is showing promise in clinical trials against others such as breast cancer.

We believe that we have a responsibility to contribute to society through our public engagement programme. Our aim is to inspire the next generation of scientists, positively impact the public perception of fundamental research and make public engagement part of our research culture.

The Institute is committed to energy efficiency, and to minimising our environmental impact. By May 2017 we had saved five million kWh of electricity during five years of initiatives to reduce consumption, equivalent to a whole year's worth of energy consumption before this began in 2012.

We actively pursue equality and diversity in the workplace, and received our Athena SWAN Bronze Award in November 2014.

Our major sponsors are Wellcome and Cancer Research UK, and Group Leaders are normally funded in large part by one or other organisation. The Institute is an integrated part of Cambridge University, and all Group Leaders are affiliated to a University Department and contribute to teaching and graduate student supervision.

Read our current Prospectus & Annual report and download previous issues as PDF files.