Andrew Holding


staphylococcus aureus


Dr Andrew Holding is a Senior Research Associate at the Cancer Research UK's Cambridge Institute and Bye-Fellow of Downing College, Cambridge.

Andrew started studying chemistry at the University of Oxford before he went on to apply these skills to investigate how life works at a molecular level. During his PhD at the University of Cambridge he focused on how nature makes the antibiotics we use to treat antibiotic resitant infections including MRSA. In 2009 he moved to the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology as a Career Development Fellow investigating how the machinery within the cells interacts to undertake basic processes including the replication of DNA. In 2013 Andrew moved to the Cambridge Institute to focus on the molecular processes that drive breast cancer.

Current Research

Andrew is currently based at Cancer Research UK's Cambridge Institute where he leads a research team. His research programme brings together his experiance of cutting edge mass spectrometry and DNA sequencing techniques to investigate the role of the oestrogen receptors (ER) in breast cancer. In 70% of all breast cancer cases this receptor drives the growth and proliferation of the tumour, and is a key target for the drug Tamoxifen. He hopes to provide key insights into how the signalling within the cell dynamically regulates the ER. The output of his work will provide the potential to develop new therapies and the research technologies he has developed have already been applied by other research groups around the work.

For more information about his current and previous work, please go to the Research section of this site.

On–stage at
the Bloomsbury Theatre

Public Engagment

Andrew has worked on many science outreach and public engagement projects including founding and organising Skeptics in the Pub in Cambridge, which holds monthly talks by various speakers with the aim of highlighting the application of critical thinking and scientific method. Notable speakers include popular non-fiction author Simon Singh, statistician David Speigelhalter and historian Christopher Andrew.

Hisn public engagment work has been supported by several organisation including the MRC and was successful in his application for a Catalyst Award from UnLtd and the HEFCE for Social Entrepreneurship to help fund his work. His project received further funding from a Wellcome Trust People Award to fund a range of podcasts that support his events.


Andrew has been a guest on the The Naked Scientists Q&A radio show as Dr Andy, answering the public's questions on science. He produced and hosted a local radio show on CamFM on Sunday evenings that covered the science behind movies, books and TV shows. In 2014 it became a live show at the Cambridge Science Centre as part of the Festival of Ideas. He has also been involved in current news having been interviewed by BBC Radio 5 Live's 5 Live Drive and BBC Cambridgeshire on topical science stories.

He has worked with the BBC on several shows as part of a British Science Assocation Media Fellowship, including Horizon and The One Show and written for The Guardian's 'Comment is Free' section along with BlueSci magazine. In 2013 he presented his first show for the BBC World Service called ''What if ... we could all become Cyborgs'.

Public Speaking

Andrew has spoken at schools across Cambridgeshire and the UK, and given talks for interested groups and Science Festivals both localy and internationally. Organisations that have invited Andrew to speak include the The Royal Institution in London. His talks focus on looking at relevant science to today's world and draw on examples in history to see what we can learn. More details can be found on the public engagment page of this site.

Other Activities


In his spare time, Andrew has written and acted in several performances put on by the Cambridge University Light Enterainment Society and Two Shades of Blue. One of the most prominent of these was "The Matrix: The Pantomime", which was taken to the Fringe Festival in Edinburgh in 2007 and became a sell-out show. Feel free to download the scripts of either The Matrix: The Pantomime or Treasure Island. He continues to take part in such events; for example, in 2010 he acted in the annual Christmas skit at the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology. He has also participated in Bright Club in London and Cambridge and Festival of the Spoken Nerd, both of which focus on the communication of science throught comedy. In 2013 he organised a one-off comedy event at the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology as part of the MRC Centenary celerbrations.


He is a volunteer with the Cambridgeshire branch of the British Science Association, trying to help promote science around the county, speaking at events and designing experiments for the public.

In 2015 he become a Governor for his daughter's school, where he sits on the Teaching and Learning Committee.

Social Media


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