Cancer Research UK Edinburgh Centre

Simon Wilkinson

Autophagy in Tissue Homeostasis and Cancer

Simon Wilkinson
Dr Simon Wilkinson - CRUK Career Development

Research in a Nutshell 

Autophagy is an evolutionarily-conserved mechanism by which cells remove old proteins and organelles by transporting them to the lysosome (in effect, a cellular garbage disposal facility). The autophagy pathway also acts as a hub for control of cell fate by degrading specific signalling and structural proteins of the cell. These actions are important for the progression of a number of cancers. We use protein-protein interaction screens, imaging techniques and transgenic models to unpick the molecular events set in train by autophagy within pre-cancerous and cancerous cells. Thusly we gain understanding of new cellular processes that could be targeted for future cancer therapies.


Research Programme

Simon Wilkinson group 2018


Simon Wilkinson

Principal Investigator, CRUK Career

Alain Kemp Research Technician
Matthew Smith Postdoc
Mihaela Bozic Student



  • Christian Behrends (Goethe University)
  • Jason Mills (Washington State University)
  • Andrew Tee (Cardiff University)
  • Jon Lane (Bristol University)
  • Paul Verkade (Bristol University)
  • Neil Perkins (Newcastle University)
  • Viktor Korolchuk (Newcastle University)
  • Mathias Rosenfeldt (Wuerzburg University)

Partners and Funders

  • Cancer Research UK / CDF / 72 months / £1.1M
  • BBSRC Response Mode / 36 months / £400,000

Scientific Themes

Autophagy, Cell death, Inflammation, Exocrine system, Ageing, Cancer

Technology Expertise

Protein-protein interaction, CRISPR/Cas9-genome editing, Super-resolution microscopy, Electron microscopy, Transgenic mouse models