Professor Axel Behrens is the inaugural Scientific Director of the Cancer Research UK Convergence Science Centre. He joined the Centre in June 2020 as a joint appointment between the Imperial College London and The Institute of Cancer Research, London 


Professor Behrens is an international expert in cancer stem cell biology and a major figure in UK cancer research. He completed his PhD in Austria and carried out his postdoctoral studies in Switzerland, before setting up a laboratory at the Cancer Research UK London Research Institute (now part of the Francis Crick Institute) in 2001.

Professor Behrens has also built his credentials in convergence science and is a leading expert in building multidisciplinary partnerships. These include the invention of FLASH microscopy (Fast Light-microscopic analysis of Antibody-Stained wHole organs), a novel 3D imaging platform allowing the analysis of large pieces of tissues or tumours using antibody-mediated staining at single cell resolution. He has also pioneered the use of mathematical modelling to demonstrate how physical and spatial constraints influence pancreatic cancer ductal growth patterns.

"It is my great pleasure to have joined the Institute of Cancer Research and Imperial College London as the inaugural Scientific Director of the Convergence Science Centre. The Centre is unique in the UK and in Europe – with its focus on bringing together all scientific disciplines to tackle cancer. I believe that multidisciplinary working across all areas of science is critical to help us address fundamental questions about cancer that are considered intractable using currently available methods, and to improve disease detection, diagnosis and expand the repertoire of effective therapies. It is my vision that together we will build a truly inter-organisational collaborative culture that will lead to further innovation that will create a paradigm shift in care for cancer patients."


Professor Axel Behrens

Scientific Director of the Convergence Science Centre

Image from David Guttridge | The Francis Crick Institute