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Blizard Institute - Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry

Professor Catherine Harwood, MA MBBS PhD MRCP


Clinical Professor of Dermato-Oncology

Telephone: 44 20 7882 2332


Catherine Harwood qualified in medicine from Cambridge University and St Thomas ' Hospital London in 1987. She trained in Dermatology as a registrar at St George's Hospital (1992-5). She then undertook research in the Centre for Cutaneous Research, Royal London Hospital , as an MRC Clinical Training Fellow (1995-8) and obtained a PhD on HPV and the molecular basis of non-melanoma skin cancer. After further SpR training at Barts and the London NHS Trust (1999-2001) she was appointed as a Clinical Senior Lecturer and Honorary Consultant Dermatologist to the Cancer Research-UK Skin Tumour Laboratory Clinical Programme. Catherine was promoted to Reader in Dermatology in October 2010.


Research Interests:

Molecular pathogenesis of non melanoma skin cancer (virological, genetic, epigenetic)
Clinical trials in skin cancer prevention

The main focus of the Cancer Research-UK Skin Tumour Laboratory Clinical Programme is keratinocyte skin cancer (KSC) research. It is a translational research programme aiming (i) to determine the pathogenesis of KSC, including the role of HPV and its interaction with genetic factors, and (ii) to develop skin cancer chemoprevention strategies in high-risk organ transplant recipients. We have identified and longitudinally followed a cohort of >1000 renal transplant recipients documenting risk factors for transplant-associated skin cancers and developing educational and therapeutic strategies for reducing their 100-fold increased skin cancer risk. We have developed significant tissue resources from this cohort as well as from immunocompetent individuals. We have contributed significantly to epidemiological and functional studies of HPV in skin cancer in collaboration with colleague Alan Storey, and as part of a European Collaborative (EPI-HPV-UV-CA). Our current genomics programme includes a post-doc and a PhD student examining the molecular pathogenesis of SCC stratified according to HPV status with genotyping (SNP arrays), gene expression arrays and functional studies. In a collaborative study with Dr Peter Karran, an AICR-funded Clinical Fellow has recently provided evidence for the direct carcinogenicity of azathioprine in the skin in combination with UVA, and this is an area we continue to investigate. Another clinical research fellow is undertaking mechanistic studies of field change pre- and post- topical intervention with the aim of identifying critical early events in skin carcinogenesis amenable to therapeutic targeting. An MRC Clinical Training Fellow is investigating p53-associated apoptosis in KSC in collaboration with Professor Alan Storey. In 2006 we began a research programme on melanoma in collaboration with Dr Daniele Bergamschi, focusing on the role of the p53 pathway in this important skin cancer. .An MRC Clinical training fellow is investigating the role of apoptosis resistance in the aetiology and chemoresistance of malignant melanoma and 2 postdocs have recently joined the group and are working on aspects of the p53 family in melanoma.



View all Catherine Harwood's Research Publications at:



  • Jason Thomson


  • Emma Taggart
  • Tjaša Bensa
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