Kathryn Ball

Chair in Biochemistry and Cell Signalling

  • Cancer Research UK Edinburgh Centre
  • MRC Institute of Genetics & Molecular Medicine

Contact details



Cancer Research UK Edinburgh Centre
MRC Institute of Genetics & Molecular Medicine
The University of Edinburgh
Western General Hospital
Crewe Road South

Post code


Kathryn was always set on a career in science and carried out a degree in Biochemistry at the University of Salford where she became captivated by classical chemistry and protein structure-function. After receiving her degree Kathryn moved to the Biochemistry Department at the University of Leeds and decided to do a PhD that combined her interests by studying the mechanism by which the enzyme lipoprotein lipase was degraded. This set her on a path as an enzymologist and she subsequently won a Broodbank Fellowship to study the regulation of pyrophosphate-fructose-6-phosphate 1-phosphotransferase in the laboratory of Prof Tom ap Rees at the University of Cambridge. Tom was a stickler for quantification and strongly believed that his interactions with students and the members of his group should always come before administrative tasks. Although Tom’s life was sadly cut short in a road accident (in 1996) he has continued to be a role model and inspiration to Kathryn throughout her career. She moved on to do post-doctoral studies at Michigan State University (Moo-U!) in the USA before returning to the UK to learn about the enzymology of protein kinases in Dundee. It was whilst at the University of Dundee that Kathryn started to work on the structure, function and post-translational regulation of proteins/enzymes involved in tumour suppression and cell growth control with Prof Sir David Lane. It was David’s encouragement of an eclectic approach to address scientific questions which inspired Kathryn to take a more cross-disciplinary approach to her research. Whilst in Dundee Kathryn was awarded first a Project Grant and then a CRUK Senior Cancer Research Fellowship to establish her own group studying the post-translational regulation of the growth regulator p21WAF1. Using p21WAF1 as a starting point the Ball lab moved into the field of Interferon Regulated Transcription Factors. Kathryn moved her group to the University of Edinburgh in 2004 to take up a Readership and to set-up a cross-disciplinary programme of research that uses Biophysics and Chemistry as well as Biochemistry and cell systems to study IRF-1 regulation and the mechanism of ubiquitination by E3-ubiquitin ligases. Kathryn was awarded a personal chair (Biochemistry and Cell Signalling) in 2007, however she still likes to get into the lab, especially if it involved protein purification, as she has a great view of Edinburgh castle from her bench.