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Ludwig Oxford Branch Director Xin Lu has been elected as a Fellow of the Royal Society for her contributions to cancer biology.

The Royal Society, the UK’s distinguished academy of science, has announced the election of 62 new Fellows and Foreign Members, which include Professor Xin Lu FMedSci FRS.

A photo of Xin Lu sitting next to a computerXin Lu is a cancer biologist distinguished by her contributions to understanding cellular pathways that control cell fate in development and disease, particularly cancer. She has a long-standing interest in how to selectively kill cancer cells, and her major research advances have provided insights into how p53, the most mutated or inactivated tumour suppressor in human cancers, can make life or death decisions for a cell.

Xin’s early work showed how p53 responds to activation of cancer-causing genes and DNA damage. She then discovered the ASPP family of proteins as molecular switches that control p53-mediated cell killing. In addition to cancer, the ASPPs have now been implicated in the pathogenesis of other disorders, including sudden cardiac death and brain abnormalities. Xin has also made contributions to our understanding of fundamental cell biology through her ongoing research on the role of cell plasticity in cancer.

Find out more about Xin's research here.


In addition to her research, Xin plays a crucial role in helping to shape the cancer research landscape at Oxford through her Directorship of the Oxford Branch of the Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research, co-Directorship of the CRUK Oxford Centre, Cancer Theme leadership for the NIHR Oxford Biomedical Research Centre and Directorship of the Oxford Centre for Early Cancer Detection. Xin is also a Fellow of Magdalen College, Oxford, the Academy of Medical Sciences and the Royal Society of Biology, a Fellow by election of the Royal College of Pathologists, and a Member of the European Molecular Biology Organisation.


I am humbled to receive this honour from the Royal Society. As someone who barely spoke English at the beginning of my scientific career, I am hugely grateful for all the support I have received from my supervisors and mentors. My appreciation also goes to the Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research for its long-term research funding and to the Department, College and University for a supportive and creative environment. Most important of all, my deep gratitude goes to the fantastic scientists in my laboratory, and colleagues I’ve had the privilege to work with throughout my career to date, without whom this recognition would not have been possible. - Professor Xin Lu

The Royal Society is a self-governing Fellowship dating back to the 1660s that is dedicated to promoting excellence in science for the benefit of humanity. The Fellowship comprises the most eminent scientists, engineers and technologists from the UK and the Commonwealth. Former members include Sir Isaac Newton, Charles Darwin, Albert Einstein, Dorothy Hodgkin and Stephen Hawking. This year, 51 Fellows, 10 Foreign Members and one Honorary Fellow have been elected for life through a peer review process on the basis of scientific excellence. There are approximately 1,700 Fellows and Foreign Members in total, including around 70 Nobel Laureates. These include Ludwig Oxford’s Professor Sir Peter Ratcliffe, a co-recipient of the 2019 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine.


At this time of global crisis, the importance of scientific thinking, and the medicines, technologies and insights it delivers, has never been clearer. Our Fellows and Foreign Members are central to the mission of the Royal Society, to use science for the benefit of humanity. While election to the Fellowship is a recognition of exceptional individual contributions to the sciences, it is also a network of expertise that can be drawn on to address issues of societal, and global significance. This year’s Fellows and Foreign Members have helped shape the 21st century through their work at the cutting-edge of fields from human genomics, to climate science and machine learning. It gives me great pleasure to celebrate these achievements, and those yet to come, and welcome them into the ranks of the Royal Society. - Venki Ramakrishnan, President of the Royal Society

Six academics from Oxford have been honoured in this year’s round of Royal Society Fellowship elections. Find out more on the University of Oxford website.

For more information about the Royal Society and this year’s elected Fellows and Foreign Members, please see the Royal Society website.