Simon Cook’s group studies protein kinase signalling pathways, in particular the MAPKs, DYRKs and the mTOR pathway. Simon is interested in how these pathways are regulated and how they control cell fates such as cell survival or apoptosis, cell division or cell cycle arrest, differentiation or terminal senescence. He has published over 100 papers that have received more than 10,000 citations.
Simon became interested in Signal Transduction during his Biochemistry degree at Royal Holloway College, University of London. He did his PhD in Michael Wakelam’s laboratory at the University of Glasgow, studying signalling by Phospholipase-C and -D.
A chance meeting over a beer (several beers actually) at a conference led to his move in 1991 to Post-Doc with Frank McCormick at ONYX Pharmaceuticals in the San Francisco Bay Area where he studied the then emerging RAS-RAF-MEK-ERK1/2 pathway.
After his Post-Doc Simon stayed on at ONYX as a Staff Scientist, member of the RAS Group Steering Committee and Project Manager for the Inflammation Project. In 1997 he took a tenure track Group Leader post at the Babraham Institute.
From 2000-2006 he held a CRUK Senior Cancer Research Fellowship. From 2013-2021 he coordinated Knowledge Exchange and Commercialisation activities within the Institute. Since September 2020, Simon has led the Institute’s Signalling research programme. In 2021 he was appointed Interim Director and then Institute Director in June 2022.
In the past he has served on BBSRC BCB and Worldwide Cancer Research grants committees and the scientific advisory boards of the Beatson Institute Drug Discovery Unit, the CRUK Therapeutic Discovery Labs and the Northern Institute for Cancer Research Drug Discovery Unit. He currently serves on the Scientific Sub-Committee of PhoreMost, a drug discovery SME based on the Babraham Research Campus.
His hobbies include bird-watching, walking, reading, music and cinema.