Professor Chris McCabe BSc PhD

Professor Chris McCabe

Institute of Metabolism and Systems Research
Professor of Molecular Endocrinology

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.L., Thornton C.E.M., Larner D.P., Poole V.L., Brookes K., Nieto H.R., Alshahrani M., Thompson R.J., Lavery G.G., Landa I., Fagin J.A., Campbell M.J., Boelaert K., Turnell A.S., Smith V.E. and McCabe CJ. 2019. Strategically targeting novel sodium iodide symporter interactors to enhance radioiodine uptake. Cancer Research [In Press]

RJ Thompson, A Fletcher, K Brookes, H Nieto, M Alshahrani, JW Mueller, NHF Fine, DJ Hodson, K Boelaert, ML Read, VE Smith, McCabe CJ. 2019. Dimerisation of the sodium/iodide symporter (NIS). Thyroid 29(10):1485-1498 PMID: 31310151

Dhillon-Smith RK…[several authors] McCabe CJ…. Coomarasamy A. 2019. Levothyroxine in Preconception Women with Thyroid Peroxidase Antibodies. New England Journal of Medicine 380(14):1316-1325

Read ML, Modasia B, Fletcher A, Thompson RJ, Baker K, Rae PC, Nieto HR, Poole VL, Roberts S, Campbell MJ, Boelaert K, Turnell AS, Smith VE, Mehanna H and McCabe CJ. 2018. PTTG and PBF functionally interact with p53 and predict overall survival in head and neck cancer. Cancer Research [Epub ahead of print]

Read ML, Fong JCW, Imruetaicharoenchoke W, Modasia B, Nieto H, Bacon A, Mallick U, Hackshaw A, Watkinson JC, Boelaert K, Smith VE, Turnell AS and McCabe CJ. High tumoural expression of PBF and PTTG modulates the DNA damage response and is associated with poor survival in thyroid cancer. Oncogene 36(37):5296-5308

Imruetaicharoenchoke W, Watkins RJ, Modasia B, Poole VL, Nieto HR, Sharma N, Fletcher A, Thompson R, Boelaert K, Read ML, Smith VE, McCabe CJ. 2017. Functional consequences of the first reported mutations of the proto-oncogene PTTG1IP/PBF Endocrine Related Cancer 24(9):459-474, Editor's Choice Highlighted Publication Top Downloaded Publication

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. 2016. Germline ESR2 Mutation Predisposes to Medullary Thyroid Carcinoma and Causes Up-Regulation of RET Expression. Human Molecular Genetics 25(9):1836-45

Read ML, Seed RI, Modasia B, Kwan PP, Sharma N, Smith VE, Watkins RJ, Bansal S, Gagliano T, Stratford AL, Ismail T, Wakelam MJ, Kim DS, Ward ST, Boelaert K, Franklyn JA, Turnell AS, McCabe CJ. 2016. The proto-oncogene PBF binds p53 and is associated with prognostic features in colorectal cancer. Molecular Carcinogenesis 55(1):15-26

Read ML, Seed RI, Fong JC, Modasia B, Ryan GA, Watkins RJ, Gagliano T, Smith VE, Stratford AL, Kwan PK, Sharma N, Dixon OM, Watkinson JC, Boelaert K, Franklyn JA, Turnell AS, McCabe CJ. 2014. The PTTG1-Binding Factor (PBF/PTTG1IP) regulates p53 activity in thyroid cells. Endocrinology; 155(4):1222-34

VE Smith, N Sharma, ML Read, G Ryan, A Martin, K Boelaert, JA Franklyn, CJ McCabe. 2013. Manipulation of PBF/PTTG1IP phosphorylation status; a new therapeutic strategy for improving radioiodine uptake in thyroid and other tumours. J Clin Endocrinol Metab 98(7):2876-86, International Award for Publishing Excellence

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

View all publications in research portal