A native of Scotland, Professor Gillies McKenna graduated in Zoology in 1972 from the University of Edinburgh; he then studied in the US for an M.D. and a Ph.D. in Cell Biology from Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York. After postgraduate training at Johns Hopkins Hospital and the US National Cancer Institute, Professor McKenna joined the Faculty of the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine in Philadelphia in 1987, where he rose to become the Henry K. Pancoast Professor and Chairman of Radiation Oncology. His major research interest is the study of the molecular mechanisms underlying the resistance of some cancers to treatment with radiation or with chemotherapy. He is particularly interested in developing strategies to render some of the most resistant tumours more sensitive to treatment and is working to bring some of his research discoveries into clinical trial in our area. Professor McKenna has received several awards and honours including a Scholar’s Award from the Radiological Society of North America, a Career Development Award from the American Cancer Society, the Weiss medal from the Association for Radiation Research, the Röntgen Medal from the Deutches Röntgen Museum, Germany and most recently the Gold Medal from the Royal College of Radiologists. He was a member of the Board of Scientific Advisors of the US National Cancer Institute. Professor McKenna moved to Oxford in 2005 and is currently the Director of the CRUK/MRC Oxford Institute for Radiation Oncology. He was Head of the Department of Oncology from 2010 to April 2017. He works closely and serves on scientific boards with external funding bodies and partners. He is a Fellow of the Royal College of Radiologists, the Academy of Medical Sciences and of the Institute of Biology.