Department of Oncology


Information about the Department


The University Department of Oncology is one of the constitutive departments of the Cancer Research Cluster within the School of Clinical Medicine at the University of Cambridge, and encompasses members from both the University and NHS.

The Cancer Research Cluster as a whole contains approximately 90-100 graduate students and admits approximately 30 new students each year (90-95% PhD and 5-10% MPhil).

The Department of Oncology is also an integral part of the Regional Cancer Centre, established as one of 34 nationwide networks by the UK government in 2000 to improve delivery of cancer care throughout the UK.

Our mission is:

" To deliver the best possible care for patients, offer a world class environment for laboratory and clinical research and provide education and training programmes that generate world class oncology clinicians and research scientists".

The Department is based within 7 sites on or close to the Cambridge Biomedical Research Campus, which encompasses Addenbrooke's Hospital (the Cambridge University Teaching Hospital) and a number of internationally renowned Research Institutes and University of Cambridge Departments. Our location on the Biomedical Research Campus provides access to state of the art research and clinical facilities and enables close collaboration with world class laboratory scientists and clinicians. Please click on the following links for further information about our sites:

Research within the Department focuses on developing and improving methods of diagnosis, treatment and prevention of cancers and is funded mainly by Cancer Research UK (CRUK), the Medical Research Council (MRC) and the National Institute of Health Research (NIHR) Cambridge Biomedical Research Centre. Our research interests can be divided into 3 broad disciplines Basic Laboratory Research, Clinical & Translational Research and Clinical Trials. Many of our Research Group Leaders are also practicing clinicians, which ensures strong links between our laboratory science and its clinical application.

The strength of our research was recognised in 2001 when the Regional Cancer Centre became a designated translational research centre and also in October 2006 when it was named as one of 17 centres for experimental cancer medicine in the country; information about the Experimental Cancer Medicine Centre (ECMC) Network can be found at:

In the 2008 Research assessment Exercise (RAE), the Department staff featured in the University of Cambridge submission to the ''Cancer Studies Theme of Assessment', along with the Departments of Pathology and Haematology. The result of this assessment was that 35% of the profile of our submissions was awarded a 4* grading (world-leading in terms of originality, significance and rigour) and 40% was awarded a 3* grading (internationally excellent in terms of originality, significance and rigour). We were also ranked second in the Times Higher Education analysis of profiles submitted to the 'Cancer Studies Theme of Assessment'.

Professor Richard Gilbertson was appointmented as Head of Department and Director of the Cambridge Cancer Centre on 01 August 2015. He is one of the world’s leading childhood brain tumour experts, having led international efforts to dramatically advance understanding of the biology of several common childhood brain tumours during his time as Director of the Comprehensive Cancer Center at St. Judes Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee, US.