Richard Treisman conducted his thesis research on polyomavirus transcription and RNA processing with Bob Kamen at the Imperial Cancer Research Fund (ICRF), receiving his PhD in 1981. He then moved to Boston for postdoctoral work on globin gene expression and thalassemia genes with Tom Maniatis.
In 1984, he joined the staff of the Medical Research Council Laboratory for Molecular Biology (MRC-LMB) in Cambridge, where he started working on how transcription is regulated by growth factors. Initially focusing on the Fos gene, he identified the transcription factor SRF and cloned its gene.
He returned to the ICRF in 1988 to focus on investigating SRF's regulatory cofactors and their cognate signalling pathways. This led to molecular characterisation of the TCF family of SRF cofactors as targets for MAP kinase signalling, and the demonstration that the MRTF transcription cofactors are novel G-actin binding proteins that sense fluctuations in G-actin concentration.
Richard is member of EMBO, and a Fellow of the Royal Society and Academy of Medical Sciences; he was awarded the EMBO medal in 1995 and the Louis-Jeantet Prize for Medicine in 2002. In 2000 he became Director of the Cancer Research UK London Research Institute (LRI;formerly the ICRF laboratories). He played an important role in the establishment of the Crick and the transition of LRI from Cancer Research UK to the new institute, becoming the Crick's Director of Research at the institute's inception in 2015. He was knighted in 2017.