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Professor Nazneen Rahman


Head of Cancer Genetics at the Institute of Cancer Research, London & The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust Professor Nazneen Rahman is a doctor and a scientist, making her a perfect conduit between the NHS and scientific research. Nazneen studied medicine at St Hughes College, Oxford and graduated in 1991. She then completed a PhD in molecular genetics at the Institute of Cancer Research (ICR) in 1999, looking specifically at the molecular genetics of Wilms tumour.

Nazneen completed her clinical training and obtained her certificate of completion of specialist training in clinical genetics in 2001. She now works as Head of the Division of Genetics and Epidemiology at the ICR and Head of the Cancer Genetics Unit at the Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust. Together these form the ICR/RM Clinical Academic Genetics Unit. She is Director of the Translational Genomics Laboratory (TGL) clinical gene testing laboratory at the ICR. Through her research, she has

provided screening and treatment options for NHS patients when it comes to cancer genetics. Thousands of families participate in her research studies, which have been highly successful in identifying genes that cause cancer and has performed gene testing for many thousands of individuals, not eligible for NHS testing. She is an internationally recognised expert on cancer predisposition genes and has discovered many such genes, particularly for breast, ovarian and childhood cancers. She is currently leading two innovative translational research programmes. The Mainstreaming Cancer Genetics (MCG) programme is undertaking the technological, scientific and translational work required to make cancer disposition gene testing part of routine cancer care. Her other project, the Transforming Genetic Medicine Initiative (TGMI) is building the knowledge base, tools and processes required to deliver the promise of genetic medicine. Nazneen blogs regularly about her work including on Harvesting the Genome. She engages with both the public and the scientific community on scientific and medical issues, using social media such as Twitter and a new blog entitled Transforming Genetic Medicine Initiative. In 2010, Nazneen was elected a Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences, and at that time she had already identified and characterised four breast cancer predisposition genes, two childhood cancer predisposition genes and two overgrowth genes. In 2014, she was named as Britain’s third most influential woman in the BBC Woman’s Hour Power List 2014 and was recognised in the Evening Standard’s annual list of the 1000 most influential Londoner’s under the category of innovators for the past three years. In 2016, she was awarded the Services to Science and Engineering Award at the British Muslim Awards and later that year she received a CBE for services to medical science. When she is not working, Nazneen plays the piano in her sitting-room every day and is a singer-songwriter. She started recording in 2011 and launched an album, Can’t Clip My Wings, in 2014. * Favourite Film: Legally Blonde * Three objects Nazneen cannot live without: My piano, A snuggly blanket (I don’t do cold), Some means to contact my loved ones

Nazneen’s advice to junior doctors is “It is all worth it. In the years to come, you will always feel proud of these years.”


Medical Woman | Spring 2017

Medical Woman – Magazine Centenary Issue, April 2017  

The magazine for the Medical Women’s Federation (MWF), the largest and most influential body of women doctors in the UK which aims to promot...

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