Leszek Borysiewicz

Sir Leszek Borysiewicz

Professor Sir Leszek Borysiewicz, in academic dress, at the Senate House in July 2014
345th Vice-Chancellor of the University of Cambridge
Assumed office
1 October 2010
Preceded by Dame Alison Richard
Chief Executive of the Medical Research Council
In office
1 October 2007  30 September 2010
Preceded by Colin Blakemore
Succeeded by Sir John Savill
Personal details
Born Leszek Krzysztof Borysiewicz
(1951-04-13) 13 April 1951
Cardiff, Wales
Nationality Welsh
Residence Cambridge, England
Alma mater Welsh National School of Medicine
Royal Postgraduate Medical School
Occupation Immunologist and academic

Sir Leszek Krzysztof Borysiewicz FRS FRCP FMedSci FLSW (born 13 April 1951) is a Polish-Welsh[1] immunologist and scientific administrator. He is currently the 345th Vice-Chancellor of the University of Cambridge, his term of office (a maximum of seven years)[2] having started on 1 October 2010.[3][4] Borysiewicz was formerly chief executive of the United Kingdom's Medical Research Council.[5][6][7]

Education and early life

Leszek Krzysztof Borysiewicz[8]) was born in Cardiff, Wales, to Jan and Zofia (née Wołoszyn) Borysiewicz, ethnic Polish World War II-era refugees (from what is present-day Belarus) who came to Great Britain with the Anders' Army.[9]

Borysiewicz studied medicine at Welsh National School of Medicine and received a PhD from the Royal Postgraduate Medical School in 1986 for his thesis, entitled Cell mediated immunity to human cytomegalovirus infection (cytotoxic T cell and natural killer cell mediated lysis of human cytomegalovirus infected cells).[10]


Borysiewicz pursued a career in academic medicine at the University of Cambridge, where he was a fellow of Wolfson College, and then as a consultant at Hammersmith Hospital. He headed the Department of Medicine at the University of Wales before joining Imperial College London, where he was promoted to Deputy Rector responsible "for the overall academic and scientific direction of the College,"[11] In September 2007, it was reported he would succeed Colin Blakemore as the 9th head of the Medical Research Council, a national organisation that supports medical science with an annual budget of around £500 million.[6][12][13][14]

Borysiewicz's research focuses on viral immunology, infectious disease, and viral-induced cancer. He has co-authored and co-edited a number of books on these subjects, including Vaccinations.[15]

Awards and honours

In the 2001 New Year Honours he was made a knight bachelor for services to vaccine research[16]

In 2002 he was awarded the Moxon Trust Medal of the Royal College of Physicians. He is also a Governor of the Wellcome Trust, a council member of Cancer Research UK, a founding fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences[17] and co-chair of the MRC's advisory group on stem cell research.[6] He was awarded an honorary doctorate of medicine in 2010 at the University of Sheffield. Borysiewicz is also a Founding Fellow of the Learned Society of Wales.


  1. Wightwick, Abbie (31 March 2012). "The son of Cardiff immigrants on family values and becoming Vice Chancellor of Cambridge University". WalesOline. Retrieved 5 July 2013.
  2. Appointment of Vice-Chancellor prospectus, 2009
  3. "Professor Sir Leszek Borysiewicz confirmed as next Vice-Chancellor". Retrieved 20 March 2015.
  4. "Professor Sir Leszek Borysiewicz nominated as next Vice-Chancellor". University of Cambridge. 26 November 2009.
  5. Nigel Hawkes, Mobile phones don’t cause cancer – in the short-term. Long-term, who knows?, The Times, 13 September 2007
  6. 1 2 3 Roger Highfield, Medical Research Council's new head announced, The Daily Telegraph, 12 September 2007.
  7. Brumfiel, G. (2009). "Medical Research Council chief to step down". Nature. doi:10.1038/news.2009.1109.
  8. Pagano, Margareta (17 February 2014). "Why Cambridge is at the heart of Britain's economic recovery". The Independent. Retrieved 24 February 2014.
  9. Professor Sir Leszek Borysiewicz biography, University of Cambridge. Retrieved 20 March 2015.
  10. "Cell mediated immunity to human cytomegalovirus infection (cytotoxic T cell and natural killer cell mediated lysis of human cytomegalovirus infected cells)". Imperial College Library catalogue. Retrieved 30 November 2012.
  11. Rector and Principal Officers » Professor Sir Leszek Borysiewicz, Imperial College London website. Retrieved 22 September 2007.
  12. Baker, M. (2008). "Banking on the future of stem cells". Nature. 452 (7185): 263. doi:10.1038/452263a. PMID 18354439.
  13. The Lancet (2007). "Borysiewicz invited to lead UK Medical Research Council". The Lancet. 370 (9592): 1008–1022. doi:10.1016/S0140-6736(07)61452-4. PMID 17889223.
  14. Hopkin, M. (2007). "Borysiewicz to head UK medical council". Nature. 449 (7159): 121–121. doi:10.1038/449121a. PMID 17851479.
  15. Beverley, Peter (2002). Vaccination. Oxford, UK: Published for the British Council by Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-851627-4.
  16. Honorary Fellows 2006, University of Cardiff, 3 July 2006.
  17. Borysiewicz profile, Imperial College London. Retrieved 22 September 2007
Academic offices
Preceded by
Alison Richard
Vice-Chancellor of the University of Cambridge
Succeeded by
Present incumbent
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