Professor Mads Gyrd-Hansen

Group head, Ludwig Cancer Research

Associate Professor Mads Gyrd-Hansen has always been driven by curiosity and he credits this for becoming a scientist.

“Curiosity inspired me to become a scientist. I have always been curious and always thought ‘why are things like they are? Could they be different?‘”

Mads studied a straight Master’s degree in Biochemistry from the University of Copenhagen. After completing his degree, he studied for a PhD at the Danish Cancer Society Research Centre.  In 2006, he joined Professor Pascal Meier’s group at the Institute of Cancer Research in London for a 2 year post-doc. It was here that he developed an interest in ubiquitin signalling.

“I had, and still have, a daughter back in Denmark and it was challenging being away from her and arranging time to see her. She came over every other month for a long weekend and I would go back to Denmark for a long weekend the other months. It was a bit of a balancing act.”

Mads then went on to do another post-doc back in Denmark at the Biotech Research and Innovation Centre, University of Copenhagen where he continued research on ubiquitin in inflammatory signalling. Later he became an Associate Professor at the Novo Nordisk Foundation Center for Protein Research where he headed his first research team under the mentorship of a more senior group headed by Professor Niels Mailand.

“The challenge of the transition from post-doc to independent position was the most challenging period of my career. I got a lot of support from my supervisors which together with a strong belief helped me to make that transition.”

In 2013, Mads moved to Oxford with his wife and his two young children to start up his fully independent group at the Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research.

“For me the very collaborative environment in NDM is really important. My fellow researchers are open and collaborative and I have the sense that people fundamentally want to promote science and discoveries.”

“Flexible working is really important and the ability to sit and do much of my work at home when it is required. For example, when the kids start school or if they have short days I can pick them up occasionally, but still can get work done during evenings or nights. That is really important – flexibility is key.”