AN Oxford University professor has received a $3m award for his work on cell division which could help to prevent diseases such as cancer.

Prof Kim Nasmyth, Whitley Professor of Biochemistry at the university, a Fellow of Trinity College, has been awarded the 2018 Breakthrough Prize in Life Sciences at a ceremony held in the NASA Ames Research Centre in Silicon Valley, California.

The Breakthrough Prize – founded in 2013 – is sponsored by global entrepreneurs and philanthropists including Sergey Brin from Google and Priscilla Chan and Mark Zuckerberg from Facebook.

Prof Louise Richardson, Vice-Chancellor of Oxford University, said: “I am delighted that the pioneering work of Professor Kim Nasmyth in the field of cell biology has been recognised. It is a wonderful achievement.”

Winners are chosen by selection committees composed of past laureates, and the recipients are awarded $3m, making the Breakthrough Prize the richest in international science.

The winner’s citation honours Prof Nasmyth for ‘elucidating the sophisticated mechanism that mediates the perilous separation of duplicated chromosomes during cell division and thereby prevents genetic diseases such as cancer.’