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Bradford scientist Diana Anderson receives MBE

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Prof Diana Anderson in a lab coat

The University of Bradford is delighted and proud that Professor Diana Anderson, Established Chair of Biomedical Sciences, has been made an MBE in the 2022 New Years Honours list, for services to Genetic and Reproductive Toxicology.

Diana's research has focused on using a single test for early cancer detection. Her research into cancer detection is renowned across the world, with international awards, collaborations and projects spanning across her career.

She has also carried out ground-breaking research into Genome stability in the umbilical cord blood. This led to a major discovery showing how damaged DNA from the father smoking can pass to the child and subsequent advice that men should not smoke for three months before conception to give time for the damaged DNA to be removed or repaired. This work was EU-funded and featured in the FASEB journal in 2012.

In her time at Bradford, Diana has brought in almost £3m of research funding and contributed significantly to the University’s research portfolio and cancer research. She has supervised 32 PhDs and 2 MSCs, managed several post–doctoral positions and is currently supervising four other PhDs.

Diana has published over 540 papers and twelve books. She has been invited to speak at many international meetings and chair multiple symposia. She has helped establish new research laboratories in India and Korea under the auspices of the British Council and UNIDO. Funded by various international agencies, scientists from America, Australia, the Czech Republic, Italy, India, Iran, Korea, Poland, Serbia, Spain and Turkey have received training under her supervision.

Professor Anderson said: “It is a great honour to receive such a prestigious award and I am thankful to everyone who has supported me in my career. I have loved being at the University of Bradford over the last 20 years and have had the pleasure of supervising an inspirational group of students from all over the world.

“My passion for learning and finding innovative solutions to problems has driven my research and subsequent papers and it would be lovely to think along the way I’ve inspired others to do the same.”

Professor Shirley Congdon, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Bradford, said: “Professor Anderson is hugely deserving of this award. Her pioneering research into cancer detection and DNA damage is world- leading and a testament to the hard work and dedication she has put in over the years, not only in her career, but with the student’s she has mentored and continues to support.

“She is an inspiration to her students, colleagues, the science community and to every female scientist who dreams of changing the world.”

Diana been nominated for numerous awards including being one of three finalists for Medipex awards in 2015; one of three finalists for the Guardian Newspaper awards for Research Impact, 2016 and nominated for an Albert Einstein award 2016, based on her whole research record. She also won the English Women’s Award North 2018 for Services to Science and Technology.

Diana's medicine research career started at the University of Manchester in the Christie Hospital with a PhD . Following a stint in Australia, she came back to the UK to continue her interest in cancer. In 1974 Diana was appointed as Head of Mutagenesis Studies at ICI's Central Toxicology Laboratory. Diana continued to expand on her cancer knowledge gained at ICI whilst working with BIBRA in London from 1981. 

In 2000, Diana came to Bradford as Chair in Biomedical Sciences and continued to develop her knowledge of the Comet assay. For the test to be used on patients it needs to be very accurate, so Diana is exploring ways to increase the test’s precision by working with commercial partners. 

Diana is still very dedicated to this research, with two successful research papers on this cancer test (paper 1 in 2014 and paper 2 in 2019).  The most recent paper was one of the most downloaded on Wiley in a two-year period.

She currently holds the Established Chair in Biomedical Sciences at the University of Bradford. She has served on 10 editorial boards and is Editor- in- Chief of the Book Series “Issues in Toxicology” for the Royal Society of Chemistry. She has hosted and participated in 56 meetings for the WHO on Chemical Safety. She has been a Vice President of the Institute of Biology.

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