This course type is lecture

Evolutionary Biology and Ecology of Cancer

04 - 08 June 2018Wellcome Genome Campus, Hinxton, UK
Deadlines (at 23:59 UTC):
  • Bursary and Application Deadline Closed

  • Summary

    Knowledge of evolution and ecology is important to understand and
    clinically control cancer. Unfortunately, there are few cancer biologists
    trained in evolution and ecology, and few evolutionary biologists and
    ecologists work in cancer research. This course aims to cross-train
    evolutionary biologists and ecologists in cancer, and to train cancer
    biologists in the relevant evolutionary biology and ecology to facilitate
    cross fertilization of ideas and forge active collaborations.

    Evolution and ecology form the basis of the theory of cancer. Neoplasms
    evolve at the cellular level. Somatic genetic and epigenetic changes
    generate diversity among cells, and natural selection leads to the
    evolution of mutant clones that can proliferate and disseminate
    throughout the body. These dynamics all have important clinical
    implications. The success of cancer prognostics are determined by the
    evolution and ecology of tumours. The rate of somatic evolution
    determines the rate of progression, and efforts at cancer prevention are
    attempts to interfere with that process. Cancer therapeutic interventions
    often select for resistant clones and therefore fail because of the same
    evolutionally pressures and ecological dynamics that drive tumour
    progression. Furthermore, cancer has been an important selective force in
    the evolution of organisms and has led to specific forms of cancer
    resistance and vulnerability in different organisms, including humans.

    This course is aimed at researchers currently working in cancer and/or
    evolution and ecology. It is particularly suited to evolutionary
    biologists and ecologists interested in moving into cancer research, and
    to cancer biologists and oncologists who lack formal training in
    evolutionary biology. Applications are invited from early career
    scientists, including post-graduate students, postdoctoral fellows and
    new principle investigators.

    Learning outcomes
    After attending this course, participants will be able to:

    • Describe the principles of evolutionary biology as applied to somatic cell evolution in cancer (e.g. generation of diversity, driver mutations, epistasis, selective pressures, cellular co-operation and competition, units of selection).
    • Describe the principles from ecology relevant to studying tumour microenvironments.
    • Develop proficiency with the tools for measuring the evolution and ecology of tumours.
    • Evaluate those tools and metrics used to measure ecosystems and evolution that can be applied to cancer.
    • Evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of cancer prognostics, particularly evolutionary prognostics
    • Apply evolutionary and ecological approaches to the problem of therapeutic resistance.
  • Programme

    The course will start at approximately 12:00 on Monday, 4 June and close
    at approximately 13:30 on Friday, 8 June 2018.

    Course topics

    • Introduction to the evolution and ecology of cancer
    • Understanding vulnerability to cancer
    • The evolution of cancer clones
    • The cancer ecosystem
    • Evolutionary prognostics
    • Thwarting therapeutic resistance

    This is a residential course. All participants are requested to stay
    onsite for the full duration to benefit fully from discussions and
    interactions with the faculty and other students.

    is available.

  • Instructors / Speakers

    Scientific programme committee
    Athena Aktipis Arizona State University, USA
    & Institute of Cancer Research, UK
    Mel Greaves
    Institute of Cancer Research, UK
    Carlo Maley
    Arizona State University, USA & Institute of
    Cancer Research, UK

    Keynote speaker
    Charles Swanton University College London, UK

    Confirmed tutors
    Noemi Andor
    Stanford University, USA
    Alexander Anderson Moffit Cancer Center, USA
    Gerhardt Attard UCL Cancer Institute, UK
    Amy Boddy University of California Santa Barbara, USA

    Joel Brown Moffitt Cancer Centre, USA
    Kit Curtius Barts Cancer Institute, UK
    Andrea Sottoriva The Institute of Cancer Research, UK

    Yinyin Yuan The Institute of Cancer Research, UK

    Event organiser
    Zoey Willard Wellcome Genome Campus, UK

  • How to Apply


    Registration with Single Accommodation  £670.00

    The fees include accommodation, meals and lectures for the duration of
    the course. The fee will be requested once acceptance is confirmed.

    This is a residential course. All participants will stay at The Wellcome
    Genome Campus Conference Centre, Hinxton, Cambridge, for the nights of 4,
    5, 6 and 7 June 2018. For twin accommodation,  roommates will be
    allocated on a gender basis.

    If you wish to book onsite accommodation either side of the summer
    school/course dates, please contact the Conference

    Application deadline: Closed

    Places on this course will be awarded on merit. Applications are invited
    from early career scientists, including post-graduate students,
    postdoctoral fellows and new principle investigators.

    The selection process will take place in May 2018.

    The following will need to be provided:

    • Qualifications and justification for attendance
    • An outline of current research
    • Supervisor’s details: your supervisor will then receive an e-mail requesting a supporting statement to complete your application.

    Please note: Applications cannot be considered without a
    supervisor’s supporting statement.

    Travel visas
    Please contact the event organiser if you require a letter to support a
    travel visa application. Note that letters will be provided to confirmed

    Non-European Economic Area or Swiss nationals may be required to have a
    visa to enter the UK.
    Early application is strongly advised, as this process can take 6-8 weeks
    or longer.

    Please visit the following websites for further information:
    UK Border Agency website:

    Information for general visitors and business visitors:

  • Bursaries

    A limited number of registration bursaries are
    available for PhD students to attend this course (up to 50% of the

    The following documents will need to be provided:

    • CV
    • A justification letter from applicant
    • A supporting letter from supervisor stating financial need

    To apply, please contact the event organiser.

    Bursary deadline: Closed

    Additional funding opportunities
    our Funding webpage
    for additional funding opportunities currently

  • Sponsors

    If you are interested in supporting this course, please contact the event organiser.