Cancer Research UK's new chief clinician aims to combine clinical work with strategic development. It is, says Peter Johnson, an exciting time to be in cancer research.
Professor Johnson has been appointed Cancer Research UK's chief clinician, a post he will occupy part time as well as being head of the charity's clinical centre, based at Southampton University. He said his new post would help bring together all the clinical research within Cancer Research UK, from early drug evaluation to large trials.
Professor Johnson will also oversee the development of clinical centres, which Cancer Research UK is establishing around the country, and help to develop the career paths for clinical academics in cancer research.
The 46-year-old trained in medicine at Cambridge and St Thomas's Hospital, London, joining the Imperial Cancer Research Fund as a clinical research fellow at St Bartholomew's Hospital, and was a senior lecturer at the ICRF centre in Leeds. He took up the Cancer Research Campaign chair of medical oncology at Southampton in 1998.
"I will retain my links in Southampton. I think that it's very important in these types of strategic jobs to remain close to where the work is being carried out so that you don't lose touch with the everyday issues."
He said there had been a explosion of knowledge in the past ten to 15 years both in our understanding of the molecular and cell biology of cancer and in the immunology of cancer, which is his own field of interest.
"This is a very exciting time to be in cancer research, and thanks to the funding of Cancer Research UK and some serious investment by the Government we are spending more per capita in this country on cancer research than anywhere else in Europe."