I am a haematology doctor (speciality trainee) and have clinical commitments at the Freeman Hospital, Newcastle. I have a specific interest in the management of adult patients with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (ALL) and am currently taking a period out of my usual clinical training to complete a PhD in Professor Anthony Moorman’s lab at the Newcastle Cancer Centre.
Genomic characterisation of acute lymphoblastic leukaemia in older adults.
April 2018 – European Hematology Association Scientific Working Group into Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia Conference: oral presentation.
December 2019 – American Society of Hematology Annual Meeting: poster presentation on the genetic and genomic characterisation of Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia (ALL) in older adults and an insight into a rare high risk aubtype of ALL (Low Hypodiploidy).
2016 – (Co-Writer) Granulocyte infusion: benefit beyond neutrophils?, Transfusion Medicine, Vol 26, Issue 5, pages 390-392.
2018 – (Co-Writer) Pyridoxine-sensitive X-linked ‘sideroblastic’ anaemia in the absence of ring sideroblasts – molecular diagnosis, British Journal of Haematology, Vol 180, Issue 1, pages 10-10.
December 2019 – ASH Abstract Achievement Award, awarded for abstract titled: Genetic and Genomic Characterization of Older Adults with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia Treated on the UKALL14 and UKALL60+ Clinical Trials.
February 2018 – British Society for Haematology Early Stage Research Start-up grand awarded (£9,544) for exome sequencing of older adults with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia.
As a haematology doctor, I have always been fascinated by the genetic basis of cancer and have a particular interest in understanding the genetic mutations that cause acute leukaemia. Treating older people with leukaemia is a real clinical challenge and gaining an insight into the natural history of the disease at a genetic level could ultimately help us develop gentler treatments able to better control the disease and improve quality of life.
I completed my medical degree with Newcastle University in 2008 and have worked as a hospital doctor since then. I started my specialist haematology training in 2013 and soon developed a growing interest in the more scientific aspects of the speciality. To pursue this interest further I decided to take time out of my clinical training to complete a PhD, which I started in May 2017. Alongside this, I have kept some clinical commitments, which consistently inform the relevance and direction of my research.
My research project is based on an in-depth genetic and genomic characterisation of acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (ALL) in older adults. ALL is the commonest cancer of childhood and thanks to extensive research over the last 30 years the vast majority of children can now be cured. The disease is rare is young adults but becomes more common again with age and unfortunately, older adults have not benefited from the same scale of research and still have a very poor prognosis. Current treatments are often intensive with numerous side effects and toxicities. Shedding light on the important genetic mutations that initiate and drive the disease will ultimately help us develop more targeted and gentler treatments for older and frailer patients.
At a local level, being part of the NIHR has been invaluable in helping me develop generic research and presentation skills through the provision of dedicated training and workshops. Moving forward, the breadth of experience and information available seems to really maximize the potential of researchers at all career levels.
Genomic techniques produce a massive amount of data and I have hugely enjoyed learning and developing ways of identifying meaningful patterns in this data. Part of this has involved developing a diagnostic classifier to identify a rare high risk genetic subgroup of ALL. This has been very rewarding and has identified cases that are at risk of being misclassified using more traditional techniques.
Throughout my PhD I have either given or being involved in very regular presentations. This has proved an incredibly useful way of forcing me to frequently scrutinise and question my data as well as considering ways of visually summarising complex data.
Having grown up in London, I’m always struck by the approachability and friendliness of people in the North East. I’ve also grown very fond of the stunning scenery of the local countryside and definitely feel very settled in the region!