Professor Sir Alex Markham
Professor of Medicine
University of Leeds
Alex Markham completed a Chemistry PhD at the University of Birmingham in 1974 and has undertaken postdoctoral work in Japan, London, Cambridge and Boston. He entered the commercial sector and had some 15 years’ experience in the pharmaceutical and diagnostics industries in both the UK and the USA, with GD Searle and then ICI Pharmaceuticals (now Astra Zeneca). His commercial experience also includes the worldwide development of DNA Fingerprinting for forensic and medico-legal applications. This was recognised by the Queen’s Award for Technological Achievement in 1990.
Prof Markham has made contributions to medical science in various fields. On the basis of his expertise in nucleic acid chemistry, he developed research programmes in molecular biology from the late ‘70s and was one of the pioneers of molecular genetics research in the UK in the 1980s. For the last 15 years in Leeds, his group has studied autosomal recessive Mendelian disorders in the highly consanguineous, immigrant communities of West Yorkshire, leading to an understanding of the genes mutated in a variety of neurodevelopmental and malignant diseases.
He qualified clinically in 1985, training at London and Oxford, and is accredited in pathology and internal medicine. He is the Professor of Medicine at the University of Leeds and directed the Molecular Medicine Unit at St James’s University Hospital. He has undertaken a range of administrative duties at national level including the chairmanship/membership of numerous committees for the Medical Research Council, the Department of Health and the Wellcome Trust.
A Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences and a Board Director of the International Union against Cancer (UICC), he was, until recently, chairman of the National Cancer Research Institute (NCRI) in the UK. He continues to chair the NCRI Informatics Initiative Management Board and latterly has taken the chair of the National Cancer Intelligence Network (NCIN) Advisory Board. He has been a member of the UK Clinical Research Collaboration Board and the National Institute of Health Research Advisory Board. He is a member of the Government’s Cancer Reform Strategy Advisory Board, and chaired its Clinical Outcomes Group.
Prof Markham was Chief Executive of Cancer Research UK for four years from May 2003-2007, when he returned to academic work at Leeds University. He serves on the Department of Health Ministerial Industry Strategy Group Advisory Panel and is Chairman of the Office for the Strategic Coordination of Health Research (OSCHR) Translational Medicine Board. He is also the Department of Health Senior Responsible Owner and Board Chairman of the Research Capability Programme of the DoH Research and Development Directorate and NHS Connecting for Health.
He was Knighted for ‘Services to Medicine’ in the Queen’s 2008 New Year Honours List.
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Last Updated On 18 October 2009