Aberdeen Cancer Centre Logo with an image of DNAWelcome to the Aberdeen Cancer Centre

Our mission is to advance patient care through clinical and laboratory research and education.

The University of Aberdeen has established a multidisciplinary cancer research programme. Key people from across the University and NHS Grampian involved in all aspects of cancer research, including cell and molecular biology, pathology, surgery, oncology, primary care, health psychology, health data science and public health work collaboratively, delivering patient-centred research to advance understanding, treatment, prevention and care of all cancers. Our aim is to translate new laboratory findings into the clinic to directly improve patient outcomes – a bench-to-bedside (and back again) approach.

Working across 4 research Institutes within the School of Medicine, Medical Sciences and Nutrition, and NHS Grampian, we cover various aspects of cancer research, from basic laboratory cell and molecular biology, through traditional clinical disciplines, also in areas of health services research.

Our clinical and laboratory research is co-located on the same site, facilitating interaction between laboratory and clinical staff and access to human tissue via the Grampian Biorepository. Core facilities within the Institute of Medical Sciences provide access to specialised equipment supported by trained personnel to allow cutting edge cancer research using the latest technologies.

Centre Directors

Professor Anne Kiltie

Professor Valerie Speirs

Image of Professor Val Speirs




Friends of ANCHOR

Clinical Chair in Oncology

Chair in Molecular Oncology


Our research programmes span basic and clinical cancer research.  For more information about the people investigating different areas, please see below.


Our research programmes span three areas of basic and clinical cancer research with crosscutting themes to allow interdisciplinary research at a local, national and international levels.

Understanding the causes of cancer

Detection, screening & treatment

Pathways to care

Rural health



Data science

Led by Prof James N’Dow the multi million Euro OPTIMA project is harnessing the power of artificial intelligence to advance treatments and facilitate decision-making for physicians and patients with prostate, breast and lung cancer.

Aberdeen is only site in Scotland which is part of the Breast Cancer Now Tissue Bank, co-led by Prof Valerie Speirs

Since performing the first human whole-body MRI scan in the world over 40 years ago, the University of Aberdeen has continued to innovate in this area, by developing a new type of scanning called Field-Cycling MRI, led by Dr Lionel Broche.  This has better resolution than conventional MRI and does not require a contrast agent.

Prof Anne Kiltie is exploring ways of manipulating dietary fibre as an ‘endogenous’ means of radiosensitising tumours without increasing radiation toxicity to the surrounding normal tissues including the intestines.

Funded by successive CRUK programme grants, Prof Anne Donaldson is exploring the molecular machinery controlling origin initiation, replication fork progression, and chromosome maintenance in cancer.

Also funded by CRUK, Dr Rasha Abu-Eid is exploring ways to Integrate Raman spectroscopy and digital pathology as novel tools for objective grading of oral epithelial dysplasia.

Dr Sara MacLennan leads projects addressing cancer care e.g. ICANTREAT which focuses on understanding the impact of cancer and treatment on individual’s lives and methods for involving different stakeholder groups, particularly patients, in the design and delivery of care.

Funded by UKRI, Prof Iain McEwan focuses on investigating the molecular mechanisms of action of the human androgen receptor and translating fundamental discoveries to the clinic.

Aberdeen is part of the iCAIRD project, a pan-Scotland collaboration which focuses on the application of artificial intelligence to digital diagnostics. Prof Lesley Anderson is our local academic lead.

Patient and Public Involvement

We work closely with Independent Cancer Patients Voice and a School wide PPI Hub has been established as an efficient way to provide support for research groups who wish to use PPI in their research projects.

Lab Tours

We are pleased to offer lab tours.  Please contact to register interest.

Our Funders

We are grateful for support from the following cancer charities.  Cancer Research UK Breast Cancer NowBreast Cancer UKProstate Cancer Research Centre, Friends of ANCHOR and CRANES.

Support our Research

If you would like to support our cancer research programme, please visit the University of Aberdeen Development Trust page for further information.

Looking Forward

The ANCHOR Centre is an exciting new development for Aberdeen and North-East Scotland. Opening in September 2023, it will provide state-of-the-art facilities for cancer and haematology patients in Aberdeen and North-East Scotland. It will be located at the south of the east end of the Foresterhill Health Campus, adjoining to the existing Radiotherapy Centre to create a single facility for all patients using Haematology, Oncology and Radiotherapy day- and out-patient services under one roof.

There will also be a dedicated lounge for teenage and young adult patients, an aseptic pharmacy to produce chemotherapy treatments and dedicated teaching and research facilities. The new facilities will help modernise patient care and facilities at the Foresterhill Health Campus, one of Europe’s biggest healthcare sites, and is part of NHS Grampian's continued investment in new and improved facilities across the North East of Scotland.

Around 65,000 out-patients will use the centre each year, with approximately 250 patients attending each day for care or treatment.

New Research

The ANCHOR centre will enable new interdisciplinary research which will continue to address the needs of people with cancer and identify the best ways to deliver effective and personalised treatment and care.

Cancer PhD Programme

The University of Aberdeen runs a Cancer PhD Programme, directed by Professor Anne Donaldson, to initiate bench-to-bedside projects that link our basic and clinical cancer research programmes