From very early on in my dermatology training, I have been fascinated by the biology of melanoma, how it arises and disseminates. As a clinician I have been afforded the opportunity to pursue a research project aimed at furthering my understanding of melanoma and in particular at improving how we diagnose melanoma and other pigmented lesions.
Melanoma and genetics.
July 2019 – BAD Annual Meeting – Subsequent melanoma detection in a predisposed patient: 13 and counting, poster presentation.
September 2019 – Attended the European Society of Dermatology Research Meeting.
October 2019 – Attended the Melanoma Focus Meeting, London.
December 2019 – (Co-writer) Diverse presentations of cutaneous mosaicism occur in CYLD cutaneous syndrome and may result in parent to child transmission, Journal of the Amercian Academy of Dermatology, Volume 81, Issue 6, Pages 1300-1307.
Melanoma Focus Small Grant £8,113.60. Study title: Leveraging cutaneous genetic mosaicism manifesting as rare birthmarks to aid the discovery of novel genes in melanoma pathogenesis.
Ageing and its impact on health is an incredibly important and pertinent aspect of my job as a clinician, as we are increasingly serving an ageing population. Understanding how ageing contributes to disease, such as melanoma, can ensure a more tailored and personalised approach when delivering healthcare to an older population.
I have always had a keen interest in skin cancer, fostered during my clinical years spent as a trainee dermatologist. With a largely clinical background, I was keen to pursue research to further my understanding of skin cancer and in particular melanoma. Unlike many clinical academics, I began my research endeavors at the end of my training, which has helped me bring a greater clinical perspective to my research project. I am currently in my second year as a MD student investigating ageing and pigmented skin lesions.
My research is focused on understanding the genetic signatures of pigmented skin lesions and how it differs with age to develop a point of care test. As a dermatologist, working in pigmented lesion clinics, I am often presented with patients stating “ I have so many moles, it’s hard to tell if a mole has changed or not – can you tell me?” and “are there less invasive and more robust techniques that can assure me if this my is cancerous or not?” My research is therefore geared at understanding and improving the diagnostic pathway of pigmented skin lesions. This is particularly pertinent for elderly patients, who often present with melanomas that are thicker and have worse prognostic outcomes compared to their younger counterparts. Working to understand the genetic signatures of melanomas in elderly patients and how it can be used to develop a bedside point of care test that could help differentiate between melanoma and benign pigmented mimics, would improve the accuracy of melanoma diagnosis, reduce the need for hospital visits and unnecessary surgical interventions.
It’s a great community of like-minded researchers who are there to support each other. Being part of the NIHR community also serves as a great platform to disseminate your research, obtain feedback and learn from established NIHR researchers when trying to build your own research career.
The meetings and educational support afforded to me thus far has been invaluable as a new researcher
To engage as much as possible with other researchers, attend meetings and take part in training opportunities to not only develop your own research project but also help in your personal and professional development
It is a great place to work, train and live and in particular undertake research as it offers links to world leading tertiary hospitals and a highly ranked university.