Professor Chris McCabe BSc PhD

Professor Chris McCabe

Institute of Metabolism and Systems Research
Professor of Molecular Endocrinology
Theme Lead Endocrinology & IMSR Deputy Director
IMSR and College of MDS Lead for Sustainability

Contact details

Institute of Metabolism and Systems Research
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 the action of the sodium iodide symporter NIS in thyroid tumours; assessment of the role of the proto-oncogenes PTTG and PBF in thyroid, breast, and head and neck tumours; in vitro and in vivo models exploring gene function; mechanisms of aneuploidy and genetic instability. 


  • 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 an overseas 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.


Postgraduate supervision

  • 25+ previous PhD and MD students
  • 4 current PhD students funded by the MRC, Wellcome and BBSRC etc
  • Future students will be welcomed in thyroid and breast cancer research


  • The action of the sodium iodide symporter NIS in radioiodine treatment of thyroid and other tumours.
  • Therapeutic modulation of radioiodine uptake in vitro and in vivo
  • Assessment of the role of the proto-oncogenes PTTG and PBF in thyroid, breast and head and neck tumours
  • Diverse mechanisms of endocrine cancer
  • Murine models of tumourigenesis

Other activities

  • Chair, Wellcome Trust Basic Science Interview Committee (2016-2019)
  • Senior Editor, Endocrine Related Cancer
  • Chair, Science Committee of the Society for Endocrinology
  • Script Editor (ITV, C4, BBC, CBBC, Discovery Channel etc)


Fletcher, A, Read, M, Thornton, C, Larner, D, Poole, V, Brookes, K, Nieto, H, Alshahrani, M, Thompson, R, Lavery, G, Landa, I, Fagin, JA, Campbell, MJ, Boelaert, K, Turnell, A, Smith, V & McCabe, C 2020, 'Targeting novel sodium iodide symporter interactors ADP-ribosylation factor 4 and valosin-containing protein enhances radioiodine uptake', Cancer Research, vol. 80, no. 1, pp. 102–115.

Nazeer, R, Qashqari, F, Albalawi, A, Piberger, AL, Tilotta, M, Read, M, Hu, S, Davis, S, McCabe, C, Petermann, E & Turnell, A 2019, 'Adenovirus E1B 55-kilodalton protein targets SMARCAL1 for degradation during infection and modulates cellular DNA replication', Journal of virology, vol. 93, no. 13, e00402-19.

Thompson, RJ, Fletcher, A, Brookes, K, Nieto, H, Alshahrani, MM, Mueller, JW, Fine, NHF, Hodson, DJ, Boelaert, K, Read, ML, Smith, VE & McCabe, CJ 2019, 'Dimerization of the sodium/iodide symporter', Thyroid, vol. 29, no. 10, pp. 1485-1498.

Smith, R, Middleton, L, Sunner, K, Cheed, V, Baker, K, Farrell-Carver, S, Bender Atik, R, Agrawal, R, Bhatia, K, Edi-Osagie, E, Ghobara, T, Gupta, P, Jurkovic, D, Khalaf, Y, MacLean, M, McCabe, C, Mulbagal, K, Nunes, N, Overton, C, Quenby, S, Rai, R, Raine-Fenning, N, Robinson, L, Ross, J, Sizer, A, Small, R, Tan, A, Underwood, M, Kilby, M, Boelaert, K, Daniels, J, Thangaratinam, S, Chan, SY & Coomarasamy, A 2019, 'Levothyroxine in women with thyroid peroxidase antibodies before conception', The New England Journal of Medicine, vol. 380, no. 14, pp. 1316-1325.

Torlinska, B, Nichols, L, Mohammed, MA, McCabe, C & Boelaert, K 2019, 'Patients treated for hyperthyroidism are at increased risk of becoming obese: findings from a large prospective secondary care cohort', Thyroid, vol. 29, no. 10, pp. 1380-1389.

Read, M, Modasia, B, Fletcher, A, Thompson, R, Brookes, K, Rae, P, Nieto, H, Poole, V, Roberts, S, Campbell, M, Boelaert, K, Turnell, A, Smith, V, Mehanna, H & McCabe, C 2018, 'PTTG and PBF functionally interact with p53 and predict overall survival in head and neck cancer', Cancer Research, vol. 78, no. 20, pp. 5863-5876.

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