Personal profile


Margaret Frame is a biomedical research scientist with interests in novel cancer mechanisms, as evidenced by deep biology, imaging and new approaches to drug discovery and cancer therapeutics – work that has been funded by five successive CRUK (or predecessor charity) Programme grants and more recently also by an ERC Advanced Investigator Grant.

From 2002-2007, Margaret was Deputy Director of the core funded CRUK Beatson Institute for Cancer Research in Glasgow, after which she moved to the University of Edinburgh (UoE). Currently she is Professor of Cancer Research, Director of the CRUK Edinburgh Cancer Centre and Director of the Institute of Genetics and Cancer, having recently stepped down as Dean of Research in the College of Medicine and Veterinary Medicine (UoE). Margaret is very active in supporting the scientific careers of early- and mid-stage researchers (the Institute of Genetics and Cancer has 25 early-career Chancellor’s Fellows, 20 of whom have won personal fellowships or substantial other grant funding). She supports early career researchers, both clinical and non-clinical, an interest that stems from her time as Chairman of the CRUK New Investigator Panel and from her own experiences when building a research career during the ‘young family’ years (3 adult sons). She is currently co-Chair of the Academy of Medical Sciences Careers Committee and member of Lister Institute Scientific Advisory Committee, a Wellcome Trust Expert Review Group and an ERC Funding Panel, as well as chairman, or member, of several international scientific advisory boards.

Margaret was awarded the Tenovus Medal in 1999, and was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh in 2002, an EMBO Member in 2007 and a Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences in 2009. She was awarded the Chancellor’s prize for Research - presented by HRH The Princess Royal (the Chancellor of the University of Edinburgh). She recently served as President of the British Association for Cancer Research and Chaired the 2018 National (UK) Cancer Research Institute meeting. She was awarded an OBE in the Queen’s Honours List in 2018 for services to cancer research.

Research Interests

We work on cell adhesion networks in cancer, with specific focus to date on the regulation and role of the adhesion-linked ‘nodal’ Tyrosine Kinases, and their extensive network of interacting partners. Src and FAK kinases reside at sites of cell interaction with the environment or neighboring cells, and we are studying their wider cellular roles, including at other sub-cellular locale.   Increasingly, we also study other proteins that have cancer-specific adaptor functions – either because they interact with the Src/FAK pathway in adhesion-regulated complexes, or they function in invasion or metastasis. Typically, these proteins regulate a variety of processes that lie at the heart of the cancer problem, namely epithelial plasticity, epithelial to mesenchymal transition (EMT), loss of tissue regulation and tissue architecture, self-renewing properties, resistance to therapy, invasion and metastasis and host-tumour interactions.


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