Professor Chris McCabe BSc PhD

Professor Chris McCabe

Institute of Metabolism and Systems Research
Professor of Molecular Endocrinology
IMSR Director of Research
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

  • Chief Operating Officer and Secretary Elect, American Thyroid Association (2023-2027)
  • Board of Directors, American Thyroid Association (2023-2027)
  • Executive Committee, American Thyroid Association (2023-2027)
  • Co-Chair, Programme Committee, American Thyroid Association (2021-2022)
  • Programme Committee, International Congress of Endocrinology (2021-2023)
  • Science Committee, European Society for Endocrinology (2021-2025)
  • NCRI Thyroid Cancer Subgroup (2019-2023)
  • Chair, Wellcome Trust Basic Science Interview Committee (2016-2019)
  • Associate Editor, Endocrine Related Cancer (2014-present)
  • Chair, Science Committee of the Society for Endocrinology (2016-2020)
  • Director, Environment and Sustainability Committee, MDS (2013-present)
  • Script Editor (ITV, C4, BBC, CBBC, Discovery Channel etc) 


Martin L. Read, Katie Brookes, Ling Zha, Selvambigai Manivannan, Jana Kim, Merve Kocbiyik, Alice Fletcher, Caroline M. Gorvin, George Firth, Gilbert O. Fruhwirth, Juan P. Nicola, Sissy Jhiang, Matthew D. Ringel, Moray J. Campbell, Kavitha Sunassee, Philip J. Blower, Kristien Boelaert, Hannah R. Nieto, Vicki E. Smith and Christopher J. McCabe. 2023. Combined Vorinostat and Chloroquine Inhibit Sodium Iodide Symporter Endocytosis and Enhance Radionuclide Uptake In Vivo. CLINICAL CANCER RESEARCH [In Press]

Read ML, Brookes K, Thornton C, Fletcher AL, Alshahrani M, Khan R, Nieto H, de Souza PB, Webster JRM, Alderwick LJ, Boelaert K, Smith VE, McCabe CJ. 2022. ‘New mechanisms of radioiodide uptake revealed via a novel high throughput drug screening approach in thyroid cancer.’ Cell Chem Biol. 29(3):502-516

Nieto HR, Thornton CEM, Brookes K, de Menezes AN, Fletcher A, Alshahrani M, Kocbiyik M, Sharma N, Boelaert K, Cazier JB, Mehanna H, Smith VE, Read ML, McCabe CJ. 2021. Recurrence of Papillary Thyroid Cancer: A Systematic Appraisal of Risk Factors. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 107(5):1392-1406

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.

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.

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. 2017. 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 doi:10.1038/onc.2017.154.

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 doi: 10.1530/ERC-16-0340

Watkins RJ, Imruetaicharoenchoke W, Read ML, Sharma N, Poole VL, Gentillin E, Bansal S, Bosseboeuf E, Fletcher R, Nieto HR, Mallick U, Hackshaw A, Mehanna H, Boelaert K, Smith VE, McCabe CJ. 2016. Pro-invasive effect of proto-oncogene PBF is modulated by an interaction with cortactin. J Clin Endocrinol Metab (12):4551-4563 doi: 10.1210/jc.2016-1932

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 doi: 10.1093/hmg/ddw057

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