Tomas Lindahl

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Tomas Lindahl
Tomas Lindahl 0113.jpg
Tomas Lindahl at the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences (2015)
Tomas Robert Lindahl

(1938-01-28) 28 January 1938 (age 82) [1]
Stockholm, Sweden
Nationality Swedish, naturalised British
(dual nationality)
Alma mater
Known forClarification of cellular resistance to carcinogens
Scientific career
Thesis On the structure and stability of nucleic acids in solution  (1967)
Influences Walter Bodmer

Tomas Robert Lindahl FRS [3] FMedSci [5] (born 28 January 1938) is a Swedish-British scientist specialising in cancer research. [7] In 2015, he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry [8] jointly with American chemist Paul L. Modrich and Turkish chemist Aziz Sancar for mechanistic studies of DNA repair. [9] [10] [11]



Lindahl was born in Kungsholmen, Stockholm, Sweden to Folke Robert Lindahl and Ethel Hulda Hultberg. [12] He received a PhD degree in 1967, [13] and an MD degree qualification in 1970, from the Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm. [1]

Career and research

After obtaining his research doctorate, Lindahl did postdoctoral research at Princeton University and Rockefeller University. [14] He was professor of medical chemistry at the University of Gothenburg 1978–82. After moving to the United Kingdom he joined the Imperial Cancer Research Fund (now Cancer Research UK) as a researcher in 1981. [14] From 1986 to 2005 he was the first Director of Cancer Research UK's Clare Hall Laboratories in Hertfordshire, since 2015 part of the Francis Crick Institute. [15] He continued to research there until 2009. He has contributed to many papers on DNA repair and the genetics of cancer. [16] [17] [18] [19] [20] [21] [22] [23] [24]

Awards and honours

Lindahl was elected an EMBO Member in 1974 [2] and Fellow of the Royal Society (FRS) in 1988, [4] his certificate of election reads:

Dr. Tomas Lindahl is noted for his contributions to the comprehension of DNA repair at the molecular level in bacterial and mammalian cells. He was the first to isolate a mammalian DNA ligase and to describe a totally unanticipated novel group of DNA glycosylases as mediators of DNA excision repair. He has also discovered a unique class of enzymes in mammalian cells, namely the methyltransferases, which mediate the adaptive response to alkylation of DNA and has shown that the expression of these enzymes is regulated by the ada gene. More recently he has elucidated the molecular defect in Blooms syndrome [ sic ] to be the lack of DNA ligase I. Apart from providing profound insights into the nature of the DNA repair process his very important contributions promise to facilitate the design of more selective chemotherapeutic drugs for the treatment of cancer. Lindahl has also made a number of significant contributions to understanding at the DNA level the mechanism of transformation of B-lymphocytes by the Epstein-Barr virus. The most notable of these was the first description of the occurrence in lymphoid cells of closed circular duplex viral DNA. [3]

Lindahl received the Royal Society's Royal Medal in 2007 "making fundamental contributions to our understanding of DNA repair. His achievements stand out for their great originality, breadth and lasting influence." [25] He is a member of the Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters. [26] He was awarded the Copley Medal in 2010. He was elected a founding Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences (FMedSci) in 1998. In 2018, he was elected a foreign associate of the National Academy of Sciences.

He shared the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 2015. [9] The Swedish Academy noted that "The Nobel Prize in Chemistry 2015 was awarded jointly to Tomas Lindahl, Paul Modrich and Aziz Sancar 'for mechanistic studies of DNA repair'." [27]

Related Research Articles

Cancer Research UK Cancer research and awareness charity

Cancer Research UK is a cancer research and awareness charity in the United Kingdom and Isle of Man, formed on 4 February 2002 by the merger of The Cancer Research Campaign and the Imperial Cancer Research Fund. As the world's largest independent cancer research charity it conducts research into the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of the disease. Research activities are carried out in institutes, universities and hospitals across the UK, both by the charity's own staff and by its grant-funded researchers. It also provides information about cancer and runs campaigns aimed at raising awareness of the disease and influencing public policy.

DNA repair Cellular mechanism

DNA repair is a collection of processes by which a cell identifies and corrects damage to the DNA molecules that encode its genome. In human cells, both normal metabolic activities and environmental factors such as radiation can cause DNA damage, resulting in as many as 1 million individual molecular lesions per cell per day. Many of these lesions cause structural damage to the DNA molecule and can alter or eliminate the cell's ability to transcribe the gene that the affected DNA encodes. Other lesions induce potentially harmful mutations in the cell's genome, which affect the survival of its daughter cells after it undergoes mitosis. As a consequence, the DNA repair process is constantly active as it responds to damage in the DNA structure. When normal repair processes fail, and when cellular apoptosis does not occur, irreparable DNA damage may occur, including double-strand breaks and DNA crosslinkages. This can eventually lead to malignant tumors, or cancer as per the two hit hypothesis.

John Gurdon English developmental biologist (born 1933)

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Tim Hunt

Sir Richard Timothy Hunt, is a British biochemist and molecular physiologist. He was awarded the 2001 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine with Paul Nurse and Leland H. Hartwell for their discoveries of protein molecules that control the division of cells. While studying fertilized sea urchin eggs in the early 1980s, Hunt discovered cyclin, a protein that cyclically aggregates and is depleted during cell division cycles.

Martin Evans British biologist

Sir Martin John Evans is a British biologist who, with Matthew Kaufman, was the first to culture mice embryonic stem cells and cultivate them in a laboratory in 1981. He is also known, along with Mario Capecchi and Oliver Smithies, for his work in the development of the knockout mouse and the related technology of gene targeting, a method of using embryonic stem cells to create specific gene modifications in mice. In 2007, the three shared the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in recognition of their discovery and contribution to the efforts to develop new treatments for illnesses in humans.<refname="Nobelprize"/>

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Aziz Sancar Turkish biochemist and molecular biologist

Aziz Sancar is a Turkish molecular biologist specializing in DNA repair, cell cycle checkpoints, and circadian clock. In 2015, he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry along with Tomas Lindahl and Paul L. Modrich for their mechanistic studies of DNA repair. He has made contributions on photolyase and nucleotide excision repair in bacteria that have changed his field.

London Research Institute

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Richard D. Wood is an American molecular biologist specializing in research on DNA repair and mutation. He is known for pioneering studies on nucleotide excision repair (NER), particularly for reconstituting the minimum set of proteins involved in this process, identifying proliferating cell nuclear antigen (PCNA) as part of the NER complex and identifying mammalian repair polymerases.

Paul L. Modrich

Paul Lawrence Modrich is an American biochemist, James B. Duke Professor of Biochemistry at Duke University and Investigator at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. He is known for his research on DNA mismatch repair. Modrich received the Nobel Prize in Chemistry 2015, jointly with Aziz Sancar and Tomas Lindahl.

Adrian Bird British geneticist and professor

Sir Adrian Peter Bird, is a British geneticist and Buchanan Professor of Genetics at the University of Edinburgh. Bird has spent much of his academic career in Edinburgh, from receiving his PhD in 1970 to working at the MRC Mammalian Genome Unit and later serving as director of the Wellcome Trust Centre for Cell Biology. His research focuses on understanding DNA methylation and CpG islands, and their role in diseases such as Rett syndrome.

Sir Bruce Anthony John Ponder FMedSci FRS is an English geneticist and cancer researcher. He is Emeritus Professor of Oncology at the University of Cambridge and former director of the Cancer Research UK Cambridge Institute.

Laurence Pearl

Laurence Harris Pearl FRS FMedSci is a British biochemist and structural biologist who is currently Professor of Structural Biology in the Genome Damage and Stability Centre and was Head of the School of Life Sciences at the University of Sussex.

Shankar Balasubramanian

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Stephen Jackson (scientist)

Stephen Philip Jackson, FRS, FMedSci, is the Frederick James Quick Professor of Biology. He is a Senior Group Leader and Head of Cancer Research UK Laboratories at the Gurdon Institute.

Patrik Rorsman

Patrik Rorsman FRS FMedSci is Professor of Diabetic Medicine at the Oxford Centre for Diabetes, Endocrinology and Metabolism (OCDEM), in the Radcliffe Department of Medicine at the University of Oxford and a fellow of Harris Manchester College, Oxford.

Ketan J. Patel

Ketan Jayakrishna Patel is Director of the MRC Weatherall Institute of Molecular Medicine and the MRC Molecular Haematology Unit at the University of Oxford. Until 2020 he was a tenured principal investigator at the Medical Research Council (MRC) Laboratory of Molecular Biology (LMB).

William Charles Earnshaw is Professor of Chromosome Dynamics at the University of Edinburgh where he has been a Wellcome Trust Principal Research Fellow since 1996.

Sir David Klenerman is a British biophysical chemist and a professor of biophysical chemistry at the Department of Chemistry at the University of Cambridge and a Fellow of Christ's College, Cambridge. He is best known for his contribution in the field of next-generation sequencing of DNA, nanopipette-based scanning ion-conductance microscopy, and super-resolution microscopy.

Richard Marais

Richard Malcolm Marais is Director of the Cancer Research UK (CRUK) Manchester Institute and Professor of Molecular Oncology at the University of Manchester.


  1. 1 2 "LINDAHL, Tomas Robert". Who's Who . 2015 (online Oxford University Press  ed.). A & C Black, an imprint of Bloomsbury Publishing plc.(subscription or UK public library membership required)(subscription required)
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  3. 1 2 3 "Lindahl, Tomas Robert: EC/1988/20". London: The Royal Society. Archived from the original on 21 November 2014.
  4. 1 2 Anon (1988). "Dr Tomas Lindahl FMedSci FRS". London: Royal Society. Archived from the original on 22 September 2015. One or more of the preceding sentences incorporates text from the website where:
    “All text published under the heading 'Biography' on Fellow profile pages is available under Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.” --Royal Society Terms, conditions and policies at the Wayback Machine (archived September 25, 2015)
  5. 1 2 "Dr Tomas Lindahl FRS FMedSci". London: Academy of Medical Sciences. Archived from the original on 8 October 2015.
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  14. 1 2 "Cancer Research UK Grants & Research – Tomas Lindahl" . Retrieved 10 November 2008.
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  17. Tomas Lindahl's publications indexed by the Scopus bibliographic database. (subscription required)
  18. Lindahl, T. (1993). "Instability and decay of the primary structure of DNA". Nature. 362 (6422): 709–15. Bibcode:1993Natur.362..709L. doi:10.1038/362709a0. PMID   8469282. S2CID   4283694.
  19. Wood, R. D. (2001). "Human DNA Repair Genes". Science. 291 (5507): 1284–9. Bibcode:2001Sci...291.1284W. doi: 10.1126/science.1056154 . PMID   11181991.
  20. Satoh, M. S.; Lindahl, T. (1992). "Role of poly(ADP-ribose) formation in DNA repair". Nature. 356 (6367): 356–8. Bibcode:1992Natur.356..356S. doi:10.1038/356356a0. PMID   1549180. S2CID   4364270.
  21. Trewick, S. C.; Henshaw, T. F.; Hausinger, R. P.; Lindahl, T; Sedgwick, B (2002). "Oxidative demethylation by Escherichia coli AlkB directly reverts DNA base damage". Nature. 419 (6903): 174–8. Bibcode:2002Natur.419..174T. doi:10.1038/nature00908. PMID   12226667. S2CID   4324333.
  22. Barnes, D. E.; Lindahl, T (2004). "Repair and genetic consequences of endogenous DNA base damage in mammalian cells". Annual Review of Genetics. 38: 445–76. doi: 10.1146/annurev.genet.38.072902.092448 . PMID   15568983.
  23. Yang, Y. G.; Lindahl, T; Barnes, D. E. (2007). "Trex1 exonuclease degrades ssDNA to prevent chronic checkpoint activation and autoimmune disease". Cell. 131 (5): 873–86. doi:10.1016/j.cell.2007.10.017. PMID   18045533. S2CID   2332259.
  24. Crow, Y. J.; Hayward, B. E.; Parmar, R; Robins, P; Leitch, A; Ali, M; Black, D. N.; Van Bokhoven, H; Brunner, H. G.; Hamel, B. C.; Corry, P. C.; Cowan, F. M.; Frints, S. G.; Klepper, J; Livingston, J. H.; Lynch, S. A.; Massey, R. F.; Meritet, J. F.; Michaud, J. L.; Ponsot, G; Voit, T; Lebon, P; Bonthron, D. T.; Jackson, A. P.; Barnes, D. E.; Lindahl, T (2006). "Mutations in the gene encoding the 3'-5' DNA exonuclease TREX1 cause Aicardi-Goutières syndrome at the AGS1 locus". Nature Genetics. 38 (8): 917–20. doi:10.1038/ng1845. PMID   16845398. S2CID   9069106.
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