Professor Chris McCabe

Professor Chris McCabe

Institute of Metabolism and Systems Research
Professor of Molecular Endocrinology

Contact details

Centre for Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
Institute of Metabolism and Systems Research
College of Medical and Dental Sciences
University of Birmingham
B15 2TT

Chris McCabe is Professor of Molecular Endocrinology at the University of Birmingham. He works on mechanisms of endocrine cancers, including thyroid, breast and head and neck tumour models. Specifically, the research of the McCabe group focuses on assessment of the role of the proto-oncogenes PTTG and PBF in thyroid, breast, head and neck and colon tumours; in vitro and in vivo models exploring gene function; gene expression in multiple tumour models; mechanisms of aneuploidy and genetic instability; the action of the sodium iodide symporter NIS in thyroid tumours.

The McCabe group currently holds funding from the Wellcome Trust, the Medical Research Council and Cancer Research UK. Members of the group include a Consultant Clinician, a CRUK Senior Research Fellow, an MRC Post Doctoral Fellow, a UCWH post doctoral fellow, a Shanghai Visiting Scholoar, an MRC Surgical Fellow, and 4 MRC and Wellcome funded PhD students.

Chris McCabe is also Director of Postgraduate Research in the School of Clinical and Experimental Medicine; is the Chair of the Programme Committee of the Society for Endocrinology; and is a Senior Editor of Endocrine Related Cancer.

Outside of science, Chris McCabe has published 9 novels under 2 pseudonyms, has written for newspapers including the Guardian and the Independent, and has been a script editor for several TV series.


  • PhD (Drosophila behavioural genetics) University of Birmingham 1995
  • BSc (First Class Special Honours in Genetics) University of Sheffield 1990


Chris McCabe qualified with a BSc in Genetics from the University of Sheffield in 1990, and pursued a PhD in the behavioural genetics of the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster at the University of Birmingham, which was awarded in 1995.

Subsequently, Chris became interested in applying emerging molecular genetic techniques to the study of human disease, and was appointed as an MRC Post Doctoral Fellow in the Division of Medical Sciences at the University of Birmingham, under the mentorship of Professor Jayne Franklyn.

Following a brief stint at the UCLA School of Medicine, Los Angeles, Chris achieved the Marjorie Robinson Fellowship in Endocrinology and a Lectureship at the University of Birmingham. He subsequently progressed to Senior Lecturer, Reader, and a Chair in 2010.

Chris has lectured widely across the world both within science, and as a writer with a specific interest in the communication of science.


  • B Med Sc 2nd and 3rd years
  • MBChB 1st and 2nd years
  • B Med Sc 3rd year projects
  • Module Lead: 3rd year B Med Sc module - Molecular Medicine: Endocrinology of Metabolic Disorders

Postgraduate supervision

Supervisor of PhD students

Chris currently has 6 PhD students, and is School Director of Postgraduate Research, overseeing the progress of ~130 MD and PhD students. Chris is interested in appointing future PhD students in the areas of:

  • Breast cancer invasion
  • Thyroid cancer therapy


  • Assessment of the role of the proto-oncogenes PTTG and PBF in thyroid, breast and colon tumours
  • Mechanisms of aneuploidy and genetic instability in thyroid and colon cancer
  • The action of the sodium iodide symporter NIS in radioiodine treatment of thyroid and other tumours.
  • Diverse mechanisms of endocrine cancer
  • Murine models of tumourigenesis

Other activities

  • Director, Postgraduate Research, School of Clinical and Experimental Medicine
  • Senior Editor, Endocrine Related Cancer
  • Chair, Programme Committee of the Society for Endocrinology
  • Script Editor (ITV, C4, BBC, Discovery Channel)


Smith JA, Read ML, Hoffman J, Brown R, Bradshaw B, Campbell C, Cole T, Dieguez-Navas J, Eatock F, GundaraJS, Lian E, McMullan DJ, Morgan NV, Mulligan L, Morrison PJ, Robledo M, Simpson MA, Smith VE, Stewart S, Trembath RC, Sidhu S, Togneri FS, Wake NC, Wallis Y, Watkinson JC, Maher ER, McCabe CJ, Woodward ER. Germline ESR2 Mutation Predisposes to Medullary Thyroid Carcinoma and Causes Up-Regulation of RET Expression. Human Molecular Genetics [In Press]

VE Smith, ML Read, AS Turnell, N Sharma, GD Lewy, JCW Fong, RI Seed, P Kwan, G Ryan, H Mehanna, SY Chan, VM Darras, K Boelaert, JA Franklyn and CJ McCabe. 2012. PTTG-binding factor (PBF) is a novel regulator of the thyroid hormone transporter MCT8. Endocrinology 153(7):3526-36

ML Read, GD Lewy, JCW Fong, N Sharma, VE Smith, E Gentilin, RI Seed, A Warfield, MC Eggo, J Knauf, WE Leadbeater,JC Watkinson, JA Franklyn, K Boelaert and CJ McCabe. 2011. The proto-oncogene PBF/PTTG1IP regulates thyroid cell growth and represses radioiodide treatment. Cancer Research 71(19):6153-64

RJ Watkins, ML Read, VE Smith, GM Reynolds, L Buckley, G Lewy, MC Eggo, LS Loubiere, JA Franklyn, K Boelaert, McCabe CJ. 2010. PTTG Binding Factor – a New Gene in Breast Cancer. Cancer Research 70(9); 3739-49

Reynolds LE, Watson AR, Baker M, Jones TA, Joffre C, D’Amico G, Garrido-Urbani S, Sheer D, Nizetic D, McCabe CJ, Turnell AS, Kermorgant S, Imhoff B, Fisher E, Tybulewicz VLJ, Hodivala-Dilke KM. 2010. Tumour angiogenesis is reduced in the Tc1 mouse model of Down Syndrome. Nature 465:813-7

Smith VE, Boelaert K, Read ML, Watkins RJ, Watkinson JC, Eggo MC, Franklyn JA and McCabe CJ. (2009). A novel mechanism regulating sodium iodide symporter function. Journal of Cell Science122(18):3393-402

James SR, Franklyn JA, Reaves BJ, Smith VE, Eggo MC, Chan SY, Barrett TG, Kilby MD and McCabe CJ. (2009). Monocarboxylate transporter 8 (MCT8) in neural cell growth. Endocrinology150(4):1961-1969