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About me

I undertook my BSc in Applied Biology, in part-time mode, whilst working in various roles including Process and Product Development at Smith & Nephew Medical, Hull.

On graduation I joined the biotech company Oxford Glycosystems as a Manufacturing Scientist preparing complex oligosaccharides by the use of hydrazinolysis for glycan release and separation on diverse chromatography matrices. Oxford Glycosystems was the first spin-out company from the University of Oxford and subsequently became part of the CellTech group.  My time at OGS was my first foray into the field of Glycobiology.

My PhD was undertaken at UCL Medical School in the Department of Surgery with Dr Leathem. The focus was identification of glycosylation changes in aggressive metastatic breast cancer and subsequently focussed on proteins that show alterations in glycosylation in cancer using HPLC, lectin and proteomic technologies. After two periods of post-doctoral work I moved to the University of Westminster and set up my own lab where I have been based since 2002.

I lead the Cancer Research Group and am Research Coordinator for the Department of Biomedical Sciences.

My current research interests are in the area of cancer biomarker discovery, the development of new approaches for the in silico and in vitro study of breast cancer behaviour, diet and lifestyle aspects of breast cancer progression.

If you are interested in pursuing a self-funded PhD or have a scholarship for a PhD in one of these areas please contact me.

News Items

CNN progamme "Today in America" 

The Breast Cancer Cookbook Project

When I am not working I enjoy spending time with family and friends, sculpting, listening to live music and travelling.

Teaching

Course Leader: MSc Biomedical Sciences (Cancer Biology).

Module Leader: FMAB503 Cancer Biology, FMAB601/FSLS701 Advanced Cancer Biology.

Research

My research interests lie in the identification of factors influencing the outcome of patients with breast cancer. In particular characterisation and validation of biomarkers and potential targets for metastatic breast, colorectal and prostate cancer. I am Principal Investigator of the DietCompLyf study into breast cancer patient behaviour and long-term outcomes. The DietCompLyf study is an on-going study and the largest study of its type in the UK it is concerned with diet and lifestyle factors and patient outcomes.  

Our research utilises tissue/ body fluids from cancer patients and these studies are augmented by the use of in vitro cell line models of cancers with different phenotypes.

DIET and LIFESTYLE:

Phytoestrogen consumption, weight gain, supplement and alcohol usage, quality of life and demographics and breast cancer outcomes (with Dr Claire Robertson).

Dietary fat consumption and exercise and breast cancer outcomes (with Dr Claire Robertson, Dr Marie Cantwell and Prof Jayne Woodside).

After breast cancer pooling project (with Dr Sarah Nechuta, Vanderbilt).

Phytocloud – app to capture patients’ diets and lifestyles (with Dr Economou and Robertson).

Computational intelligence systems for modelling breast cancer outcomes (with Dr Vassilis Kodogiannis).

What If Breast cancer film project (with Dr Christine Douglass and Prof Ten Brink).

The Breast Cancer Cookbook project (with Dr Claire Robertson and Prof Mo Keshtgar).

BIOMARKERS:

Blood and urine markers of breast cancer metastasis.

MOLECULAR STUDIES:

In vitro models for studying the effectiveness of biological therapies (with Tayebeh Azimi and Prof Marilena Loizidou).

Novel technologies including the Attana A-200 cell biosensor for studying drug interactions (with Dr Diluka Peiris).

Oestrogen receptor interaction with endogenous and exogenous ligands: molecular modelling and in vitro analysis (with Carlos Balcazar-Lopez and Dr Pamela Greenwell).

Preparation of recombinant molecules for targeting breast cancer (with Dr Anatoliy Markiv).

Colorectal and prostate cancer studies (with Dr Juliette Smith-Ravin).

Glycobiology of breast cancer with Prof Udo Schumacher and Dr Susan Brookes.

AFFILIATIONS AND PEER REVIEW

External Examiner: MSc Analytical Chemistry, Birkbeck College, March 2008-2014. St George’s University of London iBSc 2013 onward.

External Examiner: PhD (University of London, Imperial College, University of Leeds, Oxford Brookes, Middlesex, UeL, Université des Antilles et de la Guyane, CNRS Grenoble), MPhil (Oxford Brookes) and MD (University of London) students.

Participating member: Consortium for Functional Glycomics, Breast Cancer Association Consortium.

Editorial Board: Progress in Histochemistry and Cytochemistry

Co-Editor: Breast Cancer, Oncology News.

Publications

For details of all my research outputs, visit my WestminsterResearch profile.