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Peter Parker: oration

Read Professor Banafshe Larijani's oration on Peter Parker for the honorary degree of Doctor of Science in December 2019.


Peter Parker
Peter Parker

Pro-Chancellor, it is my pleasure and honour to introduce Peter J Parker, expert in Signal Transduction (the science of understanding molecular regulation) and Translational Research (the “art” of translating fundamental research to the clinic). Peter Parker is currently Director of the Cancer Research UK King’s Health Partners Centre at King’s College London and Head of the Protein Phosphorylation Laboratory at the Francis Crick Institute.

He performed his undergraduate studies in Biochemistry (BA) at Oxford and then as a post-graduate under Professor Sir Philip Randle in Clinical Biochemistry (D.Phil) at Oxford. As an MRC Post-Doctoral Fellow, he worked with Professor Sir Philip Cohen in Dundee, then started working in oncology with Professor Mike Waterfield in London, subsequently moving as a founder member to the Ludwig Institute at University College London.

Amongst his vast achievements in the field of signalling are: The first purification and molecular description of the Protein Kinase C gene family; the purification and molecular description of PhosphatidylinositoI-Phospholipase C family members and the first purification of PI3Kinase.

Peter is one the world pioneers and leaders in founding the molecular mechanisms related to kinases, specifically the super family of Protein Kinase C. These are master regulators of the signalling pathways, and their dysregulation leads to multiple pathologies. Peter is a true “savant” in multiple fields from signal transduction, cancer biology, cell biology and the “avant-garde” applications of therapeutics and diagnostics in various aspects of oncology. He is one of the leading fundamental research scientists of our time who has successfully implemented translational research world-wide and has profound knowledge of this interface. This has, earned him immense respect from every researcher and clinician who has collaborated and continuously collaborate with him around the globe.

Through his research he has founded companies such as PIramed, Symansis and FASTBASE Solutions. He has also pursued translational interests in the areas of cancer drug development and biomarkers. Peter championed and chaired the CRUK Translational Research Integration and Compliance Committee, seeking to develop applications of biomarkers in clinical trials, returning to serve on Experimental Medicine Expert Review Panel in the clinical research committee of CRUK until 2018. He currently serves on the CRUK Innovation Prize committee and chairs the Scientific Advisory Board for Therapeutic Discovery Laboratories.

Peter Parker was elected to the European Molecular Biology Organisation in 1997 and to the Academy of Medical Sciences in 2000. He was awarded the Morton Prize in 2004, elected to the Royal Society in 2006 and elected to the European Academy of Cancer Sciences in 2011.

Above all, Peter is a visionary whose ideas in multiple research fields extend into the future in such a manner that a world-wide network can benefit from his visions and apply them while collaborating with him. His network of collaborators stretches across all continents and he makes no exception, by maintaining an equilibrium, in working with everyone in this vast network. He is an avid supporter of young scientists and employs a considerable amount of energy towards the success of those young scientists who may have ideas that may not fit into the routine path exerted by the world-wide scientific society.

Pro-Chancellor, I present to you Peter J Parker who is eminently worthy to receive the degree of Doctor of Science honoris causa.


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