Sir Paul Nurse, one of Britain’s greatest genetics and cell biologists, was awarded an Honorary Degree from the University of Worcester in 2013, in recognition of his contribution to science, which has seen him awarded the Nobel Prize.
Sir Paul is the 60th President of the Royal Society and Director of the Francis Crick Institute in London. He has previously served as Chief Executive of Cancer Research UK and President of the Rockefeller University.
The world-renowned scientist completed his first degree at the University of Birmingham and went on to study for a PhD in cell biology and biochemistry at the University of East Anglia. He carried out postdoctoral work at universities in Bern, Switzerland, Edinburgh and Sussex.
In the 1980s, he discovered a gene called cdc2, which plays a key role in controlling the cell cycle. This breakthrough led to his team identifying the gene’s counterpart in human cells.
It was this work which saw him win the prestigious Nobel Prize and resulted in the production of cancer drugs that block the adverse impact of specific molecules involved in the cell cycle.
Another peak in his career came in 1988 when he was appointed Chair of the Department of Microbiology at the University of Oxford. This was followed, in 1993, by a move to the Imperial Cancer Research Fund as Director of Research.
From 1996 until 2002, Sir Paul was Director General of the Imperial Cancer Research Fund and played a major role in its merger with the Cancer Research Campaign to form Cancer Research UK in 2002.
In 2001 he became the first Director and Chief Executive of the UK Centre for Medical Research and Innovation, now known as the Francis Crick Institute.
Furthermore, he was the recipient of the Albert Lasker Award and the Royal Society’s Royal and Copley Medals. He was knighted in 1999 and later in 2003 Sir Paul received the Legion d'honneur.