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The University of Southampton

Dr Tim Fenton BSc, PhD

Associate Professor in Cancer Biology

Dr Tim Fenton's photo

Tim’s research interests are focused on understanding the molecular changes that occur as cancers develop and evade destruction by our immune system. His goal is to apply these findings to enable earlier diagnosis and more effective therapy.

Tim is an Associate Professor in Cancer Biology in School of Cancer Sciences and member of the Institute for Life Sciences. He obtained his BSc in Molecular Biology and Biochemistry from the University of Durham in 2001, followed by a PhD at the Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research, UCL with Prof Ivan Gout, studying the ribosomal S6 kinases (enzymes involved in the control of cell growth in response to nutrient and growth factor signals). In 2005 Tim took up a postdoctoral position in Prof Webster Cavenee’s lab at the University of California San Diego LICR branch, where he continued to work on growth factor signalling in cancer, uncovering a molecular mechanism that renders brain tumour cells resistant to drugs targeting the Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor. In 2011 Tim moved back to UCL, joining Prof Chris Boshoff’s Cancer Research UK Viral Oncology Lab as a senior research associate before gaining funding from Rosetrees Trust to establish his independent research, taking up a faculty position in the School of Biosciences as the University of Kent in April 2017, where he worked first as a Lecturer, then Senior Lecturer before moving to Southampton in January 2022.

Tim’s group has made several important contributions, including the discovery that APOBEC enzymes (part of our innate immune response to viral infection) cause oncogenic driver mutations, thus directly contributing to cancer development. His group also helped to clarify the role of human papillomavirus infection in head and neck cancer causation and prognosis and developed a computational tool (MethylCIBERSORT), to allow estimation of the different cell types present in the tumour microenvironment using DNA methylation data from bulk tumour samples.


BSc, Molecular Biology and Biochemistry, Durham University, 2001
PhD, University College London, 2005

Appointments held

2019-2021 Senior Lecturer, School of Biociences, University of Kent, UK
2017-2019 Lecturer, School of Biosciences, University of Kent, UK
2011-2017 Senior Research Associate, UCL Cancer Institute, University College London, UK
2005-2011 Postdoctoral Research Associate, Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research, University of California San Diego, USA

Honorary Appointments:

School of Biosciences, University of Kent

PhD Supervision

Tim has previously supervised four PhD students to completion and is currently supervising or co-supervising three students. 

Research interests

Current work in Tim’s lab includes a major project investigating the regulation and function of APOBEC enzymes in normal human epithelial cells, supported by funding from the BBSRC and the Royal Society. With funding from Cancer Research UK he has recently developed a novel humanized murine model to allow study of APOBEC biology in vivo. He is also working on the control of viral oncogene expression in HPV-associated tumours, in work funded by the Rosetrees Trust.

Research group

Cancer Sciences

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Personal academic tutor to BM5 students
MSc Genomics project supervisor


Dr Tim Fenton
Faculty of Medicine, Room AB215, Mailpoint 801, South Academic Block, University Hospital Southampton, Tremona Road, Southampton, SO16 6YD

Room Number : SGH/CS/D13/MP824

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