Dr Christopher Dawson

Dr Christopher Dawson

Institute of Cancer and Genomic Sciences
Senior Research Fellow

Contact details

+44 (0)121 414 4480
+44 (0)121 414 4486
Institute of Cancer and Genomic Sciences
College of Medical and Dental Sciences
University of Birmingham
B15 2TT

Chris Dawson is a Senior Research Fellow working in the Institute of Cancer and Genomic Sciences.

Working with Professor Lawrence Young, Chris has published numerous research papers in scientific journals as well as reviews and book chapters in the field of viral oncology. As a co-applicant with Professor Young he has received major grants from Cancer Research UK.


  • PhD Cancer Studies 1993 
  • BSc (Hons) Biological Sciences 1983


Chris Dawson qualified with a BSc (Hons) in Biological Sciences from the University of Warwick in 1983. He joined the Department of Cancer Studies in 1984 and, after many years working as a research associate, was awarded his Ph.D. in 1993. Working with Professor Lawrence Young, he has continued to work in Birmingham studying the role of Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) in the pathogenesis of epithelial cancers. Working with Professor Sean Kehoe and Dr Jason Yap, he has recently developed an interest in gynaecological cancer, focusing on the contribution of high-risk Human papillomavirus (HR-HPV) infection to vulval neoplasia. The main interest of this group is the development of novel therapies for the treatment of premalignant and malignant disease of the vulva.


Teaching Programmes

  • Medical Science BMedSci
  • Medicine and Surgery MBChB
  • Dental Surgery BDS
  • Clinical Oncology MSc/Diploma

Postgraduate supervision

Chris is interested in supervising doctoral research students in the role of EBV in pathogenesis of nasopharyngeal carcinoma and gastric carcinoma and the role of oncogenic Human papillomavirus types in the pathogenesis of vulval cancer.

If you are interesting in studying any of these subject areas please contact Chris on the contact details above, or for any general doctoral research enquiries, please email: dr@contacts.bham.ac.uk or call +44 (0)121 414 5005. For a full list of available Doctoral Research opportunities, please visit our Doctoral Research programme listings.


Cancer Cell Biology, Viral Oncology



Epstein-Barr virus (EBV)
The main emphasis of his work over the last 30 years has been on the role of EBV in the pathogenesis of nasopharyngeal carcinoma. This work has ranged from the examination of EBV gene expression in these tumours to the functional analysis of individual EBV latent genes and the impact of EBV infection on epithelial cell growth transformation. The contribution of EBV strain variation to tumour development has also been studied.

Human Papillomavirus (HPV)
In recent years he has been studying the role of HPV in the pathogenesis of vulval cancer. This stream of research focuses on the identification of dysregulated cell signaling pathways in premalignant and malignant diseases of the vulva that constitute viable therapeutic targets.

Other activities

External reviewer for the Hong Kong Research Council (RGC). 2007-present.


The Epstein-Barr virus encoded LMP1 oncoprotein modulates cell adhesion via regulation of activin A/TGFβ and β1 integrin signalling. Morris MA, Dawson CW, Laverick L, Davis AM, Dudman JP, Raveenthiraraj S, Ahmad Z, Yap LF, Young LS. Sci Rep. 2016 Jan 19;6:19533. doi: 10.1038/srep19533. PMID: 26782058

Activation of the FGFR1 signalling pathway by the Epstein-Barr virus-encoded LMP1 promotes aerobic glycolysis and transformation of human nasopharyngeal epithelial cells. Lo AK, Dawson CW, Young LS, Ko CW, Hau PM, Lo KW. J Pathol. 2015 Oct;237(2):238-48. doi: 10.1002/path.4575. Epub 2015 Aug 3. PMID: 26096068

 Epstein-Barr virus and nasopharyngeal carcinoma. Young LS, Dawson CW. Chin J Cancer. 2014 Dec;33(12):581-90. doi: 10.5732/cjc.014.10197. Epub 2014 Nov 21. PMID: 25418193

Down-regulation of LPA receptor 5 contributes to aberrant LPA signalling in EBV-associated nasopharyngeal carcinoma. Yap LF, Velapasamy S, Lee HM, Thavaraj S, Rajadurai P, Wei W, Vrzalikova K, Ibrahim MH, Khoo AS, Tsao SW, Paterson IC, Taylor GS, Dawson CW, Murray PG. J Pathol. 2015 Feb;235(3):456-65. doi: 10.1002/path.4460. Epub 2014 Dec 18. PMID: 25294670

Oncogenic effects of WNT5A in Epstein-Barr virus‑associated nasopharyngeal carcinoma. Yap LF, Ahmad M, Zabidi MM, Chu TL, Chai SJ, Lee HM, Lim PV, Wei W, Dawson C, Teo SH, Khoo AS. Int J Oncol. 2014 May;44(5):1774-80. doi: 10.3892/ijo.2014.2342. Epub 2014 Mar 13. PMID: 24626628

Epstein-Barr virus induction of the Hedgehog signalling pathway imposes a stem cell phenotype on human epithelial cells. Port RJ, Pinheiro-Maia S, Hu C, Arrand JR, Wei W, Young LS, Dawson CW. J Pathol. 2013 Nov;231(3):367-77. doi: 10.1002/path.4245. PMID: 23934731

Inhibition of the LKB1-AMPK pathway by the Epstein-Barr virus-encoded LMP1 promotes proliferation and transformation of human nasopharyngeal epithelial cells. Lo AK, Lo KW, Ko CW, Young LS, Dawson CW. J Pathol. 2013 Jul;230(3):336-46. doi: 10.1002/path.4201. PMID: 23592276