Dr Nick Orr

Learn about Dr Nick Orr's work

Dr Nick Orr is a Breast Cancer Now researcher at Queen’s University Belfast. He and his team are working to understand the role of certain genetic changes in the development of breast cancer in men and in women.

By holding an Afternoon Tea this summer, you’ll be helping to fund researchers just like Nick.  

Dr Nick Orr

Recently, we were lucky enough to chat with Nick and get an insight into his work.  


Hi Nick. Can you give us a brief outline of the work you are doing?   

“My research focuses on unravelling factors that contribute to the development of breast cancer. We’re specifically looking at how inherited variations in someone’s DNA can impact their risk of developing the disease.  

I’ve led and contributed to studies pinpointing multiple genomic regions associated with female and male breast cancer risk. Having identified these regions, we want to understand the underlying biological mechanisms they influence.  

We think that these regions mainly affect the expression levels of crucial genes in cells, and we want to pinpoint the specific genes affected. We’re also exploring the unique aspects of male breast cancer, and looking at the distinctions between male and female forms of the disease. Notably, we’ve identified genomic regions showing stronger associations with male breast cancer, and our focus is on characterising the biological underpinnings of these associations. 

Why is the work you are doing so important?   

Our aim is to gain a deeper insight into the genetic underpinnings of why some people have a higher risk of developing breast cancer. We not only want to identify those at an elevated risk, but also design preventive interventions that can diminish the likelihood of developing breast cancer for these individuals. 

What progress you have made? 

Along with other researchers, we’ve identified multiple regions of the genome that are involved with risk of breast cancer in women and men. We’re now using a range of cutting-edge molecular biology techniques to characterise these regions, so that we can illuminate the key genes and biological pathways that are involved in the development of breast cancer. 

We have to ask - how do you enjoy your Afternoon Tea? 

While I do appreciate an Afternoon Tea, I have to admit that there's a part of me that usually longs for a strong coffee even more! 


Nick talks about his work on an Afternoon Tea poster too, so your guests can learn more about Breast Cancer Now’s research. You can download and print the poster by heading to the downloads section 

Will you be a life-changer this August?

Hold an Afternoon Tea and raise money to help power life-saving breast cancer research and vital support.

Sign up today

Share this page