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Colin Thomson Medal 2010

The St Andrews scientist, responsible for transforming a tiny 'kitchen sink' cancer charity into a global body, awarding millions of pounds for new research every year, was remembered at a high-powered conference in the UK's most advanced cancer centre in July.

The opening Colin Thomson Memorial Lecture at the Beatson Institute for Cancer Research in Glasgow was given by leading American cancer scientist, Dr Joseph Nevins, before an audience of delegates from all over the world.

At the start of the four-day conference - which focused on the various mechanisms and their interactions, of gene control in cancer - Dr Nevins (Barbara Levine Professor of Breast Cancer Genomics and the Director of the Center for Applied Genomics and Technology in the Duke Institute for Genome Sciences & Policy at Duke University Medical Centre in North Carolina) was also presented with the Colin Thomson Memorial Medal for his contribution to cancer research. 

The late Dr Colin Thomson, a lecturer in Theoretical Chemistry at the University of St Andrews, and a former President of the International Society for Quantum Biology, initially ran the Association for International Cancer Research (AICR) from the home he shared with his wife, Maureen and family.

In 1984, AICR, which is one of the Beatson conference's co-sponsors, funded £50,000 of cancer research. Annual grants now total around £11million, providing money for projects in 23 different countries from the charity's base in Madras House, St Andrews.

Sadly Dr Thomson died from multiple myeloma in November 1997 and in his memory, a medal bearing his image was commissioned in 2007, for presentation to a scientist regarded as having made a notable contribution to research into cancer.

The first recipient was one of the world's leaders in the field, and an early AICR grant-holder, Sir David Lane.

Dr Thomson's widow presented the 2010 medal to Dr Nevin before the lecture (shown below).


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