Thomas Helleday

Address Department of Translational Medicine and Chemical Biology, Karolinska Institutet
& Science for Life Laboratory (SciLifeLab), Karolinska Institutet Science Park


Helleday Thomas

Professor Thomas Helleday is The Torsten and Ragnar Söderberg Professor of Translational Medicine and Chemical Biology at Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden and head of division of translational medicine and chemical biology.

Thomas Helleday obtained his first degree in molecular biology at the Stockholm University (1995). Alongside these studies, he took a degree in Business Administration and Economics at the same university (1996). In 1999, he was awarded a PhD from Stockholm University for his studies on homologous recombination in mammalian cells. 

After a short post-doctoral research period at the Institute for Cancer Research, Sheffield, UK, he obtained a lectureship at the same institute and set up his own group. At the same time, he maintained grants and a position at the Stockholm University, allowing his group to continue research at the Department of Genetics, Microbiology and Toxicology. Thomas Helleday held two professorships; one as MRC Professor of Cancer Therapeutics at the Gray Institute for Radiation Oncology and Biology at the University of Oxford, and the other as Professor of Molecular Genetics at the Department of Genetics, Microbiology and Toxicology at Stockholm University.

Professor Helleday heads a large multidisciplinary translational research group focusing on understanding basic DNA repair and DNA-damage signalling pathways at replication forks and developing novel drugs for anti-cancer treatments. The group was first to demonstrate a novel concept for treating cancer called “synthetic lethality” established by the selective killing of BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutated breast and ovarian cancers by PARP inhibitors. The research covers both basic and translational work including academic-driven clinical trials, based on basic science findings in his laboratory.

Professor Helleday has been awarded numerous eminent international grants and awards in recognition of his research accomplishments including the Eppendorf-Nature Young European Investigator Award (2005) for outstanding contribution within the field of biomedical science by the journal Nature and the prestigious ERC advanced grant (2010). He has currently been awarded a total of EUR 18.7 million in research grants.

Professor Helleday has authored >130 papers in peer-reviewed scientific journals.