Edinburgh Research Explorer

Prof Margaret Frame

Chair of Cancer Biology

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Margaret Frame graduated with a first class honours BSc in Biochemistry, followed by a PhD from the Medical Faculty, both at the University of Glasgow.  She worked for a brief period in industry, and then joined the MRC Virology Unit in Glasgow as a post-doctoral scientist until 1987.  After the arrival of three sons, she returned to work at the Beatson Institute for Cancer Research in 1992, first as a post-doc and then subsequently as a group leader.  In 1996, Margaret was jointly appointed as Professor of Cancer Research in the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Glasgow and the Beatson Institute, where she became Deputy Director in 2002.  She was awarded the Tenovus Medal in 1999 for her work on Src family kinases, was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh in 2004, an EMBO Member in 2009 and a Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences in 2011.

Margaret Frame’s long-held research interests are in cancer invasion and metastasis, and the role of tyrosine kinases in controlling tumour cell spread. She has a Cancer Research UK funded program of research on understanding cancer invasion and metastasis, the key hallmarks of malignancy.  A major goal now is to pursue innovative cancer discovery and imaging projects, working hand in hand with clinicians treating breast, pancreatic and ovarian cancer to determine whether, and if so how, targeting the invasive and metastatic processes may be therapeutically beneficial, and could be monitored effectively in the pre-clinical and clinical settings by novel imaging techniques. 

Margaret joined the new Edinburgh Institute of Genetics and Molecular Medicine at the University of Edinburgh in October 2007.  She co-directs the Edinburgh Cancer Research Centre in Edinburgh University’s College of Medicine and Veterinary Medicine, with the role of Science Director in the recently established Cancer Research UK Centre (from January 2010).

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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