Sir Leszek Borysiewicz
Prof Sir Leszek Borysiewicz
Borysiewicz in 2008
345th Vice-Chancellor of the University of Cambridge
In office
1 October 2010 – 1 October 2017
Preceded byDame Alison Richard
Succeeded byStephen Toope
Chief Executive of the Medical Research Council
In office
1 October 2007 – 30 September 2010
Preceded byColin Blakemore
Succeeded bySir John Savill
Personal details
Leszek Krzysztof Borysiewicz

(1951-04-13) 13 April 1951 (age 71)
Cardiff, Wales, UK
Residence(s)Cambridge, England
Alma materCardiff University School of Medicine (MB BCh)
Imperial College London (PhD)
OccupationImmunologist and academic
AwardsKnight Bachelor
Scientific career
ThesisCell mediated immunity to human cytomegalovirus infection (cytotoxic T cell and natural killer cell mediated lysis of human cytomegalovirus infected cells) (1986)
Doctoral advisorJ.G.P. Sissons[1]
Keith Peters[1]

Sir Leszek Krzysztof Borysiewicz FRS FRCP FMedSci FLSW DL (born 13 April 1951) is a British professor, immunologist and scientific administrator.[2] He served as the 345th Vice-Chancellor of the University of Cambridge, his term of office (a maximum of seven years)[3] started on 1 October 2010 and ended on 1 October 2017.[4] Borysiewicz also served as chief executive of the Medical Research Council of the UK from 2007-2010.[5][6][7][8]

Education and early life

Leszek Krzysztof Borysiewicz[9] was born in Cardiff, Wales, United Kingdom, 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.[10] He still speaks fluent Polish. After attending Cardiff High School, Borysiewicz studied at Welsh National School of Medicine of Cardiff University, where he obtained a BSc in anatomy 1972, followed by an MB BCh medical degree in 1975.[11] He received a PhD degree from University of London (Imperial College London) in 1986 for his thesis on Cell mediated immunity to human cytomegalovirus infection (cytotoxic T cell and natural killer cell mediated lysis of human cytomegalovirus infected cells) supervised by J.G.P. Sissons and Keith Peters.[1]

Career and research

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,"[12] 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][13][14][15]

Borysiewicz's research focuses on viral immunology, infectious disease, and viral-induced cancer.[8] He has co-authored and co-edited a number of books on these subjects, including Vaccinations.[16]

Awards and honours

Borysiewicz was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II in the 2001 New Year Honours List for services to Medical Research and Education.[17]

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[18] 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.[citation needed]

In October 2018 he was awarded with the Grand Cross of the Order of Merit of the Republic of Poland, the highest-ranked Polish order of merit awarded to foreigners or Poles resident abroad for their services to Poland.[19] He collected it during a ceremony at the Polish Embassy in London in late April 2019.[20]


  1. ^ a b c Borysiewicz, Leszek (1986). Cell mediated immunity to human cytomegalovirus infection (cytotoxic T cell and natural killer cell mediated lysis of human cytomegalovirus infected cells). (PhD thesis). hdl:10044/1/37949. OCLC 930644206. EThOS open access
  2. ^; DelaCour; Article: Swiss lessons for UK universities’ referendum campaign; author: Nic Mitchell; accessed 5 May 2017.
  3. ^ Appointment of Vice-Chancellor prospectus, 2009
  4. ^ "Professor Sir Leszek Borysiewicz confirmed as next Vice-Chancellor". Archived from the original on 10 December 2015. Retrieved 20 March 2015.
  5. ^ Nigel Hawkes, Mobile phones don’t cause cancer – in the short-term. Long-term, who knows?, The Times, 13 September 2007
  6. ^ a b c Roger Highfield, Medical Research Council's new head announced[dead link], 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. ^ a b Leszek Borysiewicz publications indexed by the Scopus bibliographic database. (subscription required)
  9. ^ Pagano, Margareta (17 February 2014). "Why Cambridge is at the heart of Britain's economic recovery". The Independent. Archived from the original on 14 June 2022. Retrieved 24 February 2014.
  10. ^ Professor Sir Leszek Borysiewicz biography, University of Cambridge. Retrieved 20 March 2015. Archived 25 October 2010 at the Wayback Machine
  11. ^ "DOD's Civil Service Companion 2009–10, 8th edition". Retrieved 30 December 2020.
  12. ^ "Rector and Principal Officers » Professor Sir Leszek Borysiewicz". Archived from the original on 25 September 2006. Retrieved 22 September 2007.
  13. ^ Baker, Monya (2008). "Banking on the future of stem cells". Nature. 452 (7185): 263–264. Bibcode:2008Natur.452..263B. doi:10.1038/452263a. PMID 18354439. S2CID 4301531.
  14. ^ Anon (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. S2CID 12925284.
  15. ^ Hopkin, M. (2007). "Borysiewicz to head UK medical council". Nature. 449 (7159): 121. Bibcode:2007Natur.449..121H. doi:10.1038/449121a. PMID 17851479.
  16. ^ Beverley, Peter (2002). Vaccination. Oxford, UK: Published for the British Council by Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-851627-4.
  17. ^ "No. 56070". The London Gazette (Supplement). 30 December 2000. pp. 1–27.
  18. ^ Borysiewicz profile, Imperial College London. Retrieved 22 September 2007
  19. ^ "Order of Merit of the Republic of Poland" (PDF). Polish Government.
  20. ^ "Award Ceremony - Grand Cross of the Order of Merit of the Republic of Poland". Polish Embassy.
Academic offices Preceded byAlison Richard Vice-Chancellor of the University of Cambridge 2010–2017 Succeeded byStephen Toope

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