Sir Paul Nurse is the President of the Royal Society. He took up the post to start his five year term on 1 December 2010.
Dr. Nurse, a native of the United Kingdom, graduated from Birmingham University in 1970 and received his Ph.D. in cell biology and biochemistry from the University of East Anglia in 1973. He did postdoctoral work at universities in Bern, Switzerland, Edinburgh and Sussex and joined the Imperial Cancer Research Fund (ICRF) in London in 1984. In 1988 he moved to the University of Oxford as chair of its department of microbiology, and he returned to ICRF in 1993 as a director of research. He became director general in 1996 and in 2002 was appointed chief executive of Cancer Research UK, formed when he merged ICRF with the Cancer Research Campaign. He was president of The Rockefeller University from 2003 to 2011, when he became director of the Francis Crick Institute in London.
Dr Nurse’s research focuses on the molecular machineries that control cell division and cell shape. Using the fission yeast Schizosaccharomyces pombe as a model system, his laboratory studies the cell cycle and cell morphogenesis controls operative in eukaryotic cells. His major past contribution was the codiscovery of cyclin-dependent kinase (CDK) as the key regulator molecule controlling S phase and mitosis, findings that have had implications for understanding cell reproduction, cell growth, development and cancer.
Dr. Nurse is a fellow of The Royal Society of the UK and a foreign associate of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences. In 1999 he was honored with knighthood in Great Britain for services in cancer research and cell biology and since 2000 has been a member of the UK Council for Science and Technology advising the prime minister. He was awarded the Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine in 2001 and the Royal Society Copley Medal in 2005.