Research Biographies

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Colon Cancer Genetics Group and Academic Coloproctology

Head of Colon Cancer Genetics

Malcolm Dunlop

Contact Details

E-mail address:
Telephone: +44 (0)131 651 8631
Fax: +44 (0)131 651 8800
Address: MRC Human Genetics Unit MRC IGMM, University of Edinburgh Western General Hospital, Crewe Road, Edinburgh EH4 2XU
Research Programme: Colon Cancer Genetics and Chemoprevention



Academic Qualifications

  • Bachelor
    • 1982, Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery, University of Edinburgh
  • Doctorate
    • 1986, Doctor of Medicine, University of Edinburgh

Professional Qualifications

  • 1986, Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons, FRCS


Research in a Nutshell

My primary research focus is on the genetic basis of colorectal cancer in order to shed new light on disease causation and to combat the disease through preventative approaches and early detection. Genetic studies include investigation of the effect and contribution of known susceptibility alleles as well as to identify novel cancer predisposition genes. Genetics of colorectal cancer is a major theme of the group. We are engaged in population-based studies amounting to several thousand patients and controls from Scotland, cancer families and highly enriched patient groups with extreme phenotype colorectal cancer. We have undertaken a genome-wide scan for low penetrance alleles in colorectal cancer and this has led to identification of novel genes, and we are pursuing the basis of cancer susceptibility through functional studies for a number of these associations.


Cancer chemoprevention is another central theme of the group, focussed primarily on the effect of aspirin and other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs on NF-kappa-B signalling as a key mechanism of the anti-tumour effect of these agents. The work involves basic molecular and cell biology, animal studies and clinical translational studies in patients with rectal cancer, premalignant and also in patients at high risk of colorectal cancer due genetic predisposition.


Cancer screening in the general population and also in high risk groups is another focus of research activity. I was involved in the initiation of the UK Colorectal Cancer Screening Pilot Schemes as well as contributing to the assessment of outcome measures. I lead the UK initiative for developing surveillance guidelines for high risk genetic groups and published under the auspices of the British Society of Gastroenterology and the Association of Coloproctology of GB and Ireland.