skip to content

Conservation Research Institute



Anna Philpott graduated from the University of Cambridge with a BA degree in Natural Sciences in 1988 and a PhD in Molecular Cell Biology in 1991.  She held post-doctoral fellowships at Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Centre in 1992, moving to the Department of Cell Biology at Harvard Medical School in 1993. 

She returned to the University of Cambridge in 1998 to a Lectureship in the Department of Oncology, where she is currently Professor of Cancer and Developmental Biology.


We aim to characterise mechanisms that control the ability of cells to respond to cell fate challenges, as well as explore mechanisms that co-ordinate cell cycling with stem cell maintenance and differentiation during development, homeostasis and disease.  In particular, we have uncovered a conserved regulatory mechanism where cdk-dependent phosphorylation of multiple proneural proteins promotes maintenance of progenitor/stem status, while dephosphorylation drives differentiation. 

Our future aims are three-fold: we will explore how distinct fate-specifying transcription factors induce different responses at different developmental stages at the embryo, tissue and single cell level; we will further characterise the molecular mechanisms that link cell cycling and differentiation: We will also investigate perturbation of the balance between stem-ness/progenitor maintenance and differentiation that is a frequent hallmark of multiple cancers, focussing on molecular regulation of proliferation and differentiation in neuroblastoma, with the aim of developing new therapeutic strategies.


Key publications: 
Professor of Cancer and Developmental Biology