Balfour Lecture 2018 – Ludmil Alexandrov

Ludmil Alexandrov is an Assistant Professor of Cellular and Molecular Medicine and Bioengineering at the University of California, San Diego. He earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Science from Neumont University and received his Master’s of Philosophy in Computational Biology as well as his Ph.D. in Cancer Genetics from the University of Cambridge.


Ludmil’s research has been focused on understanding the mutational processes in cancer. In 2013, he developed the first comprehensive map of the mutational signatures in human cancer. More recently, Ludmil mapped the signatures of clock-like mutational processes operative in normal somatic cells, demonstrated that mutational signatures have the potential to be used for targeted cancer therapy, and identified the mutational signatures associated with tobacco smoking.


Ludmil has 64 publications in peer-reviewed journals from which 15 publications in Nature, Science, or Cell and another 20 publications in Nature Genetics, Cancer Cell, Nature Medicine, or Nature Communications. In 2014, Ludmil Alexandrov was recognized by Forbes magazine as one of the “30 brightest stars under the age of 30”. In 2015, he was awarded the Prize for Young Scientists in Genomics and Proteomics by Science magazine and SciLifeLab, and he also received a Harold M. Weintraub Award by the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center. In 2016, Ludmil was awarded the Carcinogenesis Young Investigator Award by Oxford University Press. Ludmil is currently one of six co-investigators leading the Mutographs of Cancer project, a £20 million initiative to identify the unknown cancer-causing factors.