An article highlighting the work of King's Fellow Elizabeth Murchison appeared in the New York Times last Monday (21 January).
Dr Murchison researches transmissible cancers in the Tasmanian devil and in dogs, and the article was about the race to save Tasmanian devils from extinction.
The tumour grows on the devils' faces, and living cancer cells are transmitted between individuals by biting during fights. Since fighting is commonplace among devils, the disease has spread rapidly and the devil population has plummeted more than 60% in the last ten years.
Dr Murchison is investigating what makes this cancer transmissible. She has sequenced the genome of two devil tumours and is in the process of sequencing hundreds more. The goals are to find the genetic basis of the disease and to develop a vaccine for it.