Inigo Martincorena | Group Leader

Martincorena, Inigo

Inigo is a group leader at the Sanger Institute investigating somatic mutation in cancer and normal cells.

With a background in molecular biology, bioinformatics and evolutionary genomics, my research focuses on understanding cancer progression as a result of somatic mutation and selection.

Over the past few years, systematic sequencing of tumours has revolutionised our understanding of the genetics of cancer. This has revealed that most cancers carry thousands of mutations in their genomes, accumulated through the lifetime of their cells. However, owing to technical limitations, very little is known about the earliest steps of cancer and how normal cells in our tissues accumulate mutations during ageing and in their progression towards cancer. I investigate these early changes by studying somatic evolution in normal and precancerous tissues.

I also work on adapting evolutionary methods to cancer genomics and on the development of computational methods for discovering new cancer genes and non-coding driver mutations. This includes the development of dNdScv, an evolutionary method to study selection in cancer and identify driver genes from cancer genomics data.


  • Universal Patterns of Selection in Cancer and Somatic Tissues.

    Martincorena I, Raine KM, Gerstung M, Dawson KJ, Haase K et al.

    Cell 2017;171;5;1029-1041.e21

  • Tumor evolution. High burden and pervasive positive selection of somatic mutations in normal human skin.

    Martincorena I, Roshan A, Gerstung M, Ellis P, Van Loo P et al.

    Science (New York, N.Y.) 2015;348;6237;880-6

  • Somatic mutation in cancer and normal cells.

    Martincorena I and Campbell PJ

    Science (New York, N.Y.) 2015;349;6255;1483-9

  • Somatic mutations reveal asymmetric cellular dynamics in the early human embryo.

    Ju YS, Martincorena I, Gerstung M, Petljak M, Alexandrov LB et al.

    Nature 2017;543;7647;714-718

  • Precision oncology for acute myeloid leukemia using a knowledge bank approach.

    Gerstung M, Papaemmanuil E, Martincorena I, Bullinger L, Gaidzik VI et al.

    Nature genetics 2017;49;3;332-340

  • Mutational signatures associated with tobacco smoking in human cancer.

    Alexandrov LB, Ju YS, Haase K, Van Loo P, Martincorena I et al.

    Science (New York, N.Y.) 2016;354;6312;618-622

  • Tissue-specific mutation accumulation in human adult stem cells during life.

    Blokzijl F, de Ligt J, Jager M, Sasselli V, Roerink S et al.

    Nature 2016;538;7624;260-264

  • Landscape of somatic mutations in 560 breast cancer whole-genome sequences.

    Nik-Zainal S, Davies H, Staaf J, Ramakrishna M, Glodzik D et al.

    Nature 2016;534;7605;47-54

  • Evidence of non-random mutation rates suggests an evolutionary risk management strategy.

    Martincorena I, Seshasayee AS and Luscombe NM

    Nature 2012;485;7396;95-8

  • Genomic Classification and Prognosis in Acute Myeloid Leukemia.

    Papaemmanuil E, Gerstung M, Bullinger L, Gaidzik VI, Paschka P et al.

    The New England journal of medicine 2016;374;23;2209-2221

  • Genome sequencing of normal cells reveals developmental lineages and mutational processes.

    Behjati S, Huch M, van Boxtel R, Karthaus W, Wedge DC et al.

    Nature 2014;513;7518;422-425

  • Mobile DNA in cancer. Extensive transduction of nonrepetitive DNA mediated by L1 retrotransposition in cancer genomes.

    Tubio JMC, Li Y, Ju YS, Martincorena I, Cooke SL et al.

    Science (New York, N.Y.) 2014;345;6196;1251343

  • Transmissible [corrected] dog cancer genome reveals the origin and history of an ancient cell lineage.

    Murchison EP, Wedge DC, Alexandrov LB, Fu B, Martincorena I et al.

    Science (New York, N.Y.) 2014;343;6169;437-440

  • Inactivating CUX1 mutations promote tumorigenesis.

    Wong CC, Martincorena I, Rust AG, Rashid M, Alifrangis C et al.

    Nature genetics 2014;46;1;33-8

  • RAG-mediated recombination is the predominant driver of oncogenic rearrangement in ETV6-RUNX1 acute lymphoblastic leukemia.

    Papaemmanuil E, Rapado I, Li Y, Potter NE, Wedge DC et al.

    Nature genetics 2014;46;2;116-25

  • Recurrent PTPRB and PLCG1 mutations in angiosarcoma.

    Behjati S, Tarpey PS, Sheldon H, Martincorena I, Van Loo P et al.

    Nature genetics 2014;46;4;376-379

  • Somatic CALR mutations in myeloproliferative neoplasms with nonmutated JAK2.

    Nangalia J, Massie CE, Baxter EJ, Nice FL, Gundem G et al.

    The New England journal of medicine 2013;369;25;2391-2405

  • Direct competition between hnRNP C and U2AF65 protects the transcriptome from the exonization of Alu elements.

    Zarnack K, König J, Tajnik M, Martincorena I, Eustermann S et al.

    Cell 2013;152;3;453-66

  • Pathway-based dissection of the genomic heterogeneity of cancer hallmarks' acquisition with SLAPenrich.

    Iorio F, Garcia-Alonso L, Brammeld JS, Martincorena I, Wille DR et al.

    Scientific reports 2018;8;1;6713

Martincorena, Inigo
Inigo's Timeline

Group Leader, Sanger Institute.

CRUK Career Development Fellow.


Research Fellow, Queens' College, University of Cambridge.

Postdoctoral Fellow, Sanger Institute.


PhD Evolutionary Genomics, University of Cambridge and EBI-EMBL.


MSc Biochemistry, University of Navarra, Spain.

MSc Biology, University of Navarra, Spain.