Edinburgh Cancer Research

Simon Wilkinson

Autophagy in Tissue Homeostasis and Cancer

Simon Wilkinson portrait
Professor Simon Wilkinson - Principal Investigator, CRUK Senior Fellow

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 Lab Group


Simon Wilkinson

Principal Investigator, CRUK Senior Fellow

Natalia  Jimenez-Moreno Postdoc
Marisa Di Monaco Postdoc
Mihaela Bozic Student
Tian En Lim Student
Carla Salomo-Coll Student
Jocelyn Bisson Student
Katie Winnington-Ingram Research Technician




  • Christian Behrends (University of Munich)

  • Ivan Dikic (Goethe University)

  • Jennifer Morton (CRUK Beatson Institute)

  • Claus Jorgensen (CRUK Manchester Institute)

  • Damian Mole (University of Edinburgh)

  • Mark Arends (University of Edinburgh)

  • Neil Carragher (University of Edinburgh)

  • Juan Carlos Acosta (University of Edinburgh)

  • Terje Johansen (University of Arctic, Tromso)

Partners and Funders

  • Cancer Research UK / Senior Fellowship / 72 months / £2.1M

  • Cancer Research UK / Studentship / 36 months

  • Cancer Research UK / TRACC (pre-MBChB clinical) Studentship / 36 months

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