Dr Simon Forbes | Head of COSMIC

Forbes, Simon

Experienced as scientist and informatician, I designed and now lead the COSMIC project, collecting the world's knowledge of somatic mutations in human cancer.

With 20 years experience in cancer genetics, I am still surprised by the range and complexity of somatic mechanisms driving this disease. My challenge is to ensure the widely-dispersed information in this published literature is sensibly gathered into one place, helping scientists explore the causes of disease. One of my key roles is to get away from the Sanger Institute and meet scientists using COSMIC; I frequently see a positive reception, and it is clear we provide a useful service supporting a wide range of academic, pharmaceutical and diagnostics research.

My publication listing begins with a single polymorphism and ends (so far) describing a database of millions; my full listing is here at Google Scholar.


  • The COSMIC Cancer Gene Census: describing genetic dysfunction across all human cancers.

    Sondka Z, Bamford S, Cole CG, Ward SA, Dunham I and Forbes SA

    Nature reviews. Cancer 2018;18;11;696-705

  • COSMIC-3D provides structural perspectives on cancer genetics for drug discovery.

    Jubb HC, Saini HK, Verdonk ML and Forbes SA

    Nature genetics 2018;50;9;1200-1202

  • COSMIC: exploring the world's knowledge of somatic mutations in human cancer.

    Forbes SA, Beare D, Gunasekaran P, Leung K, Bindal N et al.

    Nucleic acids research 2015;43;Database issue;D805-11

  • The Catalogue of Somatic Mutations in Cancer (COSMIC).

    Forbes SA, Bhamra G, Bamford S, Dawson E, Kok C et al.

    Current protocols in human genetics 2008;Chapter 10;Unit 10.11

  • Characterization of mutations in patients with multiple endocrine neoplasia type 1.

    Bassett JH, Forbes SA, Pannett AA, Lloyd SE, Christie PT et al.

    American journal of human genetics 1998;62;2;232-44

Forbes, Simon
Simon's Timeline

Sanger Institute


University of Cambridge


Imperial College, London