Bruce Ponder

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Sir Bruce Ponder
Born Bruce Anthony John Ponder
(1944-04-25) 25 April 1944 (age 74)[1]
Nationality British
Alma mater
Scientific career
Fields Cancer[3]
Institutions University of Cambridge
Thesis The Nucleoprotein Complexes of Polyoma Virus (1977)
Doctoral advisor Lionel Crawford

Sir Bruce Anthony John Ponder FMedSci FRS (born 25 April 1944) is an English geneticist and cancer researcher. He is Emeritus Professor of Oncology at the University of Cambridge and former director of the Cancer Research UK Cambridge Institute.


Ponder was educated at Charterhouse School and Jesus College, Cambridge.[1] He carried out his PhD studies with Lionel Crawford in London working on chromatin organisation and DNA sequence specificity using polyoma virus.[4]


Ponder became interested in cancer genetics in the 1970s, when he saw the potential to use new methods of linkage analysis (using restriction fragment length polymorphisms) to identify genes that predispose to cancer. His team pinpointed the RET gene as the cause of Multiple endocrine neoplasia type 2.[5] During the 1990s, Ponder co-founded and chaired the International Breast Cancer Linkage Consortium, which led to the identification of breast cancer susceptibility genes BRCA1 and BRCA2. BRCA2 specifically was identified by a team including Ponder and led by Mike Stratton.[6][7][8][9]


In 1996, Ponder became Cancer Research Campaign (now Cancer Research UK) Professor of Oncology in Cambridge (in 2007 the chair was re-endowed as the Li Ka Shing Professor of Oncology). He served as co-director of the Strangeways Research Laboratory for Genetic Epidemiology and co-director of the Hutchison/MRC Research Centre.[10]

Ponder was the inaugural Director of the CRUK Cambridge Research Institute (now called the CRUK Cambridge Institute) when it opened in 2007. In this role he put an emphasis on building infrastructure across the research pathway, from basic science through translational research, ensuring that research has clinical impact. He was director of the Cambridge Cancer Centre, a collaboration between the Institute, the University of Cambridge and Addenbrooke's Hospital, guiding the centre to OECI Comprehensive Cancer Centre status in 2013.[11]

Awards and honours

In 1997 Ponder delivered the Croonian Lecture to the Royal College of Physicians on the subject of the RET gene.[12] He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 2001,[13] he was knighted for Services to Medicine in the 2008 New Year Honours list,[14] and was awarded the 2013 Cancer Research UK Lifetime Achievement Prize.[15] His nomination for the Royal Society reads:


  1. ^ a b PONDER, Sir Bruce (Anthony John). Who's Who. 2015 (online Oxford University Press ed.). A & C Black, an imprint of Bloomsbury Publishing plc. closed access publication – behind paywall (subscription required)
  2. ^ "Professor Sir Bruce Ponder FRS FMedSci". London: Academy of Medical Sciences. Archived from the original on 2015-06-03.
  3. ^ Balmain, A; Gray, J; Ponder, B (2003). "The genetics and genomics of cancer". Nature Genetics. 33 Suppl (3s): 238–44. doi:10.1038/ng1107. PMID 12610533.
  4. ^ Ponder, B. A.; Crew, F; Crawford, L. V. (1978). "Comparison of nuclease digestion of polyoma virus nucleoprotein complex and mouse chromatin". Journal of Virology. 25 (1): 175–86. PMC 353914. PMID 202734.
  5. ^ Mole, SE; Mulligan, LM; Healey, CS; Ponder, BA; Tunnacliffe, A (March 1993). "Localisation of the gene for multiple endocrine neoplasia type 2A to a 480 kb region in chromosome band 10q11.2". Hum Mol Genet. 2 (3): 247–52. doi:10.1093/hmg/2.3.247.
  6. ^ Wooster, R.; Bignell, G.; Lancaster, J.; Swift, S.; Seal, S.; Mangion, J.; Collins, N.; Gregory, S.; Gumbs, C.; Micklem, G.; Barfoot, R.; Hamoudi, R.; Patel, S.; Rices, C.; Biggs, P.; Hashim, Y.; Smith, A.; Connor, F.; Arason, A.; Gudmundsson, J.; Ficenec, D.; Kelsell, D.; Tonin, P.; Timothy Bishop, D.; Spurr, N. K.; Ponder, B. A. J.; Eeles, R.; Peto, J.; Devilee, P.; Cornelisse, C. (1995). "Identification of the breast cancer susceptibility gene BRCA2". Nature. 378 (6559): 789–792. doi:10.1038/378789a0. PMID 8524414.
  7. ^ Antoniou, A. C.; Pharoah, P. D.; McMullan, G; Day, N. E.; Stratton, M. R.; Peto, J; Ponder, B. J.; Easton, D. F. (2002). "A comprehensive model for familial breast cancer incorporating BRCA1, BRCA2 and other genes" (PDF). British Journal of Cancer. 86 (1): 76–83. doi:10.1038/sj.bjc.6600008. PMC 2746531. PMID 11857015.
  8. ^ Stratton, J. F.; Buckley, C. H.; Lowe, D; Ponder, B. A. (1999). "Comparison of prophylactic oophorectomy specimens from carriers and noncarriers of a BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene mutation. United Kingdom Coordinating Committee on Cancer Research (UKCCCR) Familial Ovarian Cancer Study Group". Journal of the National Cancer Institute. 91 (7): 626–8. doi:10.1093/jnci/91.7.626. PMID 10203282.
  9. ^ Patel, K. J.; Yu, V. P.; Lee, H; Corcoran, A; Thistlethwaite, F. C.; Evans, M. J.; Colledge, W. H.; Friedman, L. S.; Ponder, B. A.; Venkitaraman, A. R. (1998). "Involvement of Brca2 in DNA repair". Molecular Cell. 1 (3): 347–57. doi:10.1016/s1097-2765(00)80035-0. PMID 9660919.
  10. ^ Polly Curtis. "Interview: Bruce Ponder | Society". The Guardian. Retrieved 2016-02-19.
  11. ^ "Addenbrooke's first general hospital in Europe to get stamp of approval for cancer care and research | Cambridge University Hospitals". 12 September 2013. Retrieved 2016-02-19.
  12. ^ "Croonian Lectures (Sadleir Trust)" (PDF). Royal College of Physicians. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2015-02-11. Retrieved 2012-09-07.
  13. ^ "Fellows of the Royal Society". Royal Society. Retrieved 2012-08-02.
  14. ^ "Professor Sir Bruce Ponder FRS, Department Head and Director of the Cambridge Cancer Centre, University of Cambridge". Archived from the original on 2015-02-11.
  15. ^ "Research Prizes". Cancer Research UK. Retrieved 2016-02-19.
  16. ^ "EC/2001/28: Ponder, Bruce Anthony John". London: The Royal Society. Archived from the original on 11 April 2015. Retrieved 11 April 2015.
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