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Jack Birch Unit for Molecular Carcinogenesis‌


Find our more about what the JBU has spent funds from YAC on over the last 5 years


Find out about the research interests of the JBU and why the urothelium is so important 

A centre of excellence in research on the human bladder lining, the urothelium.

Welcome from the Director

The Jack Birch Unit was opened in 1992, and I took over in October 1999. It was funded by the generosity of the late Jack Birch, OBE and York Against Cancer. Research in the Jack Birch Unit concentrates on epithelial tissues, which give rise to more than 80% of all adult human cancers. Our main focus is on bladder cancer which is studied relatively little despite being the 5th most common adult cancer. Bladder cancers develop from the urothelium, the specialised lining of the bladder wall. - Professor Jenny Southgate 
Director of the Jack Birch Unit for Molecular Carcinogenesis

Bladder Cancer: the facts

While research in the JBU has a general focus on epithelial cancers, the primary focus is on bladder cancer.

  • There are around 5,300 bladder cancer deaths in the UK every year, that's 15 every day (2014-2016).
  • Bladder cancer is the 10th most common cancer in the UK, accounting for 3% of all new cancer cases (2016).
  • 49% of bladder cancer cases in the UK are preventable, with an 80% survival rate if caught at an early stage.

Learn more about bladder cancer

PhD studentships

Self-funded Studentships

  • Homeostatic mechanisms in human urothelium: balancing of tissue regeneration and differentiation with implications for regenerative medicine and cancer

Fully-funded Studentships




Staff and students

The JBU’s staff and students focus on research projects across a wide range of topics associated with bladder function and disease, including cancer. Work in the lab spans areas of fundamental research to clinical and applied projects. Find out who they are, what they are currently working on and their previous experience. 

See staff and students

Related websites

Histotech- Specialist histology service
Providing high level consultancy
& contract research

Kystis - Our Human Bladder Tissue Model
A biologically relevant model in a 
commercially relevant format

Our research areas

Research in the JBU is organised into clusters, consisting of research staff and students. They focus on these research areas:

York Against Cancer

York Against Cancer is a local charity helping local people affected by cancer. They provide funding to the Jack Birch Unit to aid research into bladder cancer. 

They also provide care and support for patients and their families in York and North Yorkshire, while also providing cancer awareness education and information.

Find out more



See a overview of our most recent publications, with listing of publications by subject or by year. 

See our publications