Dr Becky Harris (neé Foster), PhD | Project Manager

This person is a member of Sanger Institute Alumni.

Harris (neé Foster), Becky

Becky is Project Manager for Dr Serena Nik-Zainal. She is responsible for managing the logistics of a scientific project exploring the causes of mutational signatures, including the clinical study INSIGNIA.

As Project Manager, Becky oversees the day to day management and logistical organisation of the mutational signatures projects and is responsible for ensuring project progression and delivery. She was heavily involved in establishing the clinical project INSIGNIA (part of a Wellcome Trust Strategic Award), which is focused on the investigation of patterns of mutations (signatures) in patients with DNA repair defects, aging syndromes and neurodegeneration, and people who have been exposed to environmental/occupational mutagens.

INSIGNIA is a clinical study that spans many of the core facilities within WTSI and Becky has worked to establish processes to allow smooth transition of patient samples through the full workflow, and worked with bioinformaticians to develop tracking systems to ensure sample progress can be monitored and tracked precisely. Her role is wide ranging, covering diverse functions such as ethics, finance, logistics, and scientific and administrative support.

Becky also provides support for the other parts of the Wellcome Trust Strategic Award (COMSIG) which focus on exploring mutation signatures biologically through cell-based model systems.

Before joining the WTSI in 2014, Becky was Group Leader of Discovery Services, the contract research arm of Horizon Discovery. She led several teams of researchers that provided oncology translational research services, supporting pre-clinical drug discovery programs within the biotech and pharma community During her time in this role she gained significant experience in project planning, managing resource requirements, budgeting and line management, in addition to deepening her scientific knowledge of a broad range of therapeutic targets in the field of oncology.


  • Multiple metabolic alterations exist in mutant PI3K cancers, but only glucose is essential as a nutrient source.

    Foster R, Griffin S, Grooby S, Feltell R, Christopherson C et al.

    PloS one 2012;7;9;e45061

  • A differential cytokine expression profile is induced by highly purified human menopausal gonadotropin and recombinant follicle-stimulating hormone in a pre- and postovulatory mouse follicle culture model.

    Foster R, Segers I, Smart D, Adriaenssens T, Smitz J et al.

    Fertility and sterility 2010;93;5;1464-76

  • Characterization of a 3;6 translocation associated with renal cell carcinoma.

    Foster RE, Abdulrahman M, Morris MR, Prigmore E, Gribble S et al.

    Genes, chromosomes & cancer 2007;46;4;311-7

  • Monoubiquitination of the nonhomologous end joining protein XRCC4.

    Foster RE, Nnakwe C, Woo L and Frank KM

    Biochemical and biophysical research communications 2006;341;1;175-83

Harris (neé Foster), Becky
Becky's Timeline

Joined Sanger Institute as Project Coordinator


Medical Writer, Costello Medical Consulting


Group Leader (Discovery Services), Horizon Discovery


Team Leader, Horizon Discovery Services


Principal Scientist, Ferring Research Ltd


Postdoctoral Research Associate, University of Birmingham, UK


Postdoctoral Research Associate, University of Chicago, US


PhD Awarded


PhD Cancer Research, University of Manchester

BSc (Hons) First Class Awarded


BSc (Hons) Molecular Biology, University of Sheffield