Balfour Lecture 2022 – Dr Sam Behjati

Sam Behjati photo

Sam Behjati is a Group Leader / Wellcome Intermediate Fellow at the Wellcome Sanger Institute, and Honorary Consultant Paediatric Oncologist at Addenbrooke’s Hospital, Cambridge.  Originally from Germany, he read medicine at the University of Oxford.  Subsequently he underwent academic clinical training in London and obtained his PhD from Cambridge.  He started his current position at Sanger in October 2018.

Sam’s research focuses on the origins of childhood cancer.  In one line of enquiry, he uses somatic mutations as barcodes of human development which enable the reconstruction of the embryology of tissues.

Sam has applied this approach to study normal tissue development, most notably, of the placenta, and to childhood cancers.  For example, in Wilms tumour, his analyses showed that many seemingly sporadic tumours arose from developmentally acquired clonal expansions.  In another line of research, Sam studies single childhood cancer cells, through the direct comparison of cancer with developmental cells, to place childhood cancers on trajectories of human development.

Sam’s work has been recognised by several awards such as the Pezcoller Foundation-EACR Rising Star Award, the Robert J. Arceci Innovation Award of the St Baldrick’s Foundation and the Science / SciLifeLab Prize for Young Scientists. He is an EMBO Young Investigator and has recently been awarded a Wellcome Senior Research Fellowship.

The Genetics Society is delighted to add to Sam’s accolade by awarding the 2022 Balfour lecture.  The lecture will be delivered during 2022 at a Genetics Society meeting, date to be announced.