Catharine West is a Professor of Radiation Biology at the University of Manchester. She studied biology at York University and radiobiology at the Institute of Cancer Research, Sutton.  After postdoctoral work at the University of Rochester Cancer Centre in upstate New York, she moved to Manchester in 1986. In 2002, she joined the Institute of Cancer Sciences at the University of Manchester and established the Translational Radiobiology Group.  Her research focuses on trying to predict how cancer patients respond to radiotherapy with a particular interest in measuring radiosensitivity and hypoxia.  She was instrumental in setting up an international Radiogenomics Consortium, which is identifying the genetic determinants of radiotherapy toxicity.  She is a chief investigator (RAPPER, REQUITE) or translational lead (NIMRAD, VORTEX, CIRCCa) for national/international studies.  Current/recent committee work includes CTRad, COMARE, the LH Gray Memorial Trust, NCRI Sarcoma CSG, NCRI Head & Neck CSG, Prostate Cancer UK Grant Advisory Group and the editorial boards of Radiation Research, Physics in Medicine & Biology and Clinical Oncology. She has published over 200 papers, and is an honorary member of the Royal College of Radiology and an honorary fellow of the British Institute of Radiology. In 2016 she was awarded the Weiss medal by the Association for Radiation Research.

Memberships of committees and professional bodies

Association for Radiation Research
British Association for Cancer Research
British Institute of Radiology
European Society for Therapeutic Radiology and Oncology
Royal College of Radiology (Honorary)
Radiation Research Society (USA)
Fellow of the British Institute of Radiology (Honorary)
LH Gray Cancer Memorial Trust
Committee on Medical Aspects of Radiation in the Environment (COMARE)
Prostate Cancer UK Research Advisory Committee
NCRI Sarcoma CSG (2010-2013)
NCRI Head & Neck CSG (2006-2013)
Cancer Research UK TRICC/BIDD (2004-2009)


  • BA(York), PhD(London)

Research interests

The challenge for radiotherapy-related research is to find ways of giving as much radiation as possible to kill cancer cells while minimising the doses received by surrounding healthy tissue. The expansion of our knowledge through the Human Genome Project has been accompanied by the development of new high-throughput techniques, which provide extensive capabilities for the analysis of a large number of genes or the whole genome. There is a belief that this genomic revolution, i.e. sequencing of the human genome and developments in high throughput technology, heralds a future of personalised medicine. For radiotherapy, this progress should increase the possibility of predicting individual patient response to radiotherapy. The Translational Radiobiology Group, therefore, is interested in the characterisation of molecular profiles that reflect relevant biological phenotypes and predict tumour and normal tissue response to radiation.

Social responsibility

Involved in several national  committees including:

  • Chair, LH Gray Memorial Trust set up to futher the public the knowledge and understanding of all aspects and all applications of radiation sciences.
  • Member of COMARE (Committee on Medical Aspects of Radiation in the Environment) set up to advises the government on the health effects of natural and man-made radiation, both ionising and non-ionising.
  • Member of the CTRad (Clinical and Translational Radiotherapy Research Working Group) set up by the National Cancer Research Institute in 2009 to focus on clinical and translational issues relating to radiotherapy and radiobiology, as well as developing a portfolio of practice-changing trials. CTRad has also been tasked with actively promoting translation of new discoveries into practice.


  • Postgraduate Director and Research Committee member, Institute of Cancer Sciences (past)
  • MRes Oncology Programme Director and Committee member (past)
  • Unit Leader (Lecture Series), MRes Oncology (past)
  • Supervisor for medical student projects
  • Supervision for MRes student projects
  • Supervison of PhD and MD students
  • Internal and external PhD/MD examiner
  • Christie School of Oncology FRCR Part I radiobiology course
  • MSc Radiobiology (Oxford University)
  • MSc Oncology (Nottingham University)
  • MSc Medical Physics (Liverpool)
  • Kolkata FRCR Pat I radiobiology course

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