• Room 02.014 - Clinical Science B

    United Kingdom

Accepting PhD Students

PhD projects

Professor Coleman is interested to hear from students and clinical trainees who wish to pursue PhD/MD/MPhil projects in data analysis and epidemiology of gastrointestinal cancers and conditions, particularly oesophageal or colorectal cancer and pre-malignant conditions. Please note the earliest available capacity for new students would be Autumn 2021.


Research output per year

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Personal profile

Research Interests

I am Lead of the Cancer Epidemiology Research Group at the Centre for Public Health at Queen's University Belfast.

My research mostly focuses on the epidemiology and early detection of gastrointestinal cancers and conditions, including pre-malignant conditions. I have particular interests in:  

- Barrett's oesophagus and oesophageal adenocarcinoma

- Colorectal polyps and colorectal cancer

- Modifiable risk factors (such as smoking, alcohol and nutrition) in cancer risk and progression

- Gastrointestinal pathology diagnosis trends and concordance

- Molecular pathology epidemiology studies

- Population-based disease registers and real world evidence

- Systematic reviews of lifestyle factors and biomarkers in cancer risk and progression

I am a member of the International Barrett's Pathology Working Group, and work closely with Lead Histopathologists in the Northern Ireland Bowel Cancer Screening programme. I have over 12 years of experience working with the Northern Ireland Barrett's register, which is housed within the Northern Ireland Cancer Registry. I have applied similar population-based registry methodology to study colorectal polyps and endometrial hyperplasia epidemiology.  

I place considerable emphasis on interdisciplinary research, and am affiliated to the Centre for Cancer Research at Queen's University Belfast.  I have previously spent time conducting research at Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN, USA, Ulster University, and at the MRC-Human Nutrition Research centre in Cambridge, England. Since 2018, I am a Visiting Scientist with the Fitzgerald Lab at the MRC Cancer Unit, Cambridge, to further enhance interdisciplinary research efforts in oesophageal cancer as part of a Cancer Research UK funded Career Establishment Award. 


Dissertation supervisor

  • PhD: I have supervised 5 PhD, 1 MD and 1 MPhil postgraduate research students to completion and am currently supervising 8 PhD students (2 as primary supervisor).  
  • Masters in Public Health: I mentor and supervise 1 MPH student dissertation each year.
  • BSc Human Biology; BSc Intercalating Medical Sciences: I usually supervise 1-2 BSc dissertation students each year.

Other teaching roles

I deliver tutorials and lectures on population research, study designs, global cancer incidence trends, nutrition and cancer epidemiology to undergraduate Medicine, and postgraduate Masters in Public Health and Masters in Molecular Pathology students. I was Module co-ordinator of the 3rd year Spring Student Selected Components from 2013-2018. 


  • Cancer Research UK Population Research Committee funding panel member 2018-ongoing
  • Yorkshire Cancer Research Fund Research Advisory Panel member 2020-ongoing
  • Ulster Society of Gastroenterology committee Scientific Officer 2017-ongoing
  • International Molecular Pathology Epidemiology 'Rising Investigator' award 2016
  • Cancer Research UK Population Research Postdoctoral Fellowship 2013-2015
  • Associate member of the British Society of Gastroenterology 2010-ongoing
  • World Cancer Research Fund International Fellow 2010

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics where Helen Coleman is active. These topic labels come from the works of this person. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

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Research Output

Alcohol intake, tobacco smoking, and esophageal adenocarcinoma survival: a molecular pathology epidemiology cohort study

McCain, R. S., McManus, D. T., McQuaid, S., James, J. A., Salto-Tellez, M., Reid, N. B., Craig, S., Chisambo, C., Bingham, V., McCarron, E., Parkes, E., Turkington, R. C. & Coleman, H. G., 01 Jan 2020, In : Cancer Causes and Control. 31, 1, p. 1-11

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Open Access
  • 41 Downloads (Pure)

    Concurrent and future risk of endometrial cancer in women with endometrial hyperplasia: A systematic review and meta-analysis

    O'Doherty, M., Sanni, O., Coleman, H. G., Cardwell, C. R., McCluggage, G., Quinn, D., Wylie, J. & McMenamin, Ú. C., 28 Apr 2020, In : PLoS One. 15, 4, 21 p., e0232231.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Open Access
  • 15 Downloads (Pure)
  • Evaluating the impact of 2020 post-polypectomy surveillance guidelines in the Northern Ireland bowel cancer screening programme

    Loughrey, M., Ings, G., Dickey, W., Owen, T. & Coleman, H., 10 May 2020, In : Gut.

    Research output: Contribution to journalLetter

    Open Access
    6 Downloads (Pure)
  • 3 Citations (Scopus)


    1st prize, Poster presentation

    Coleman, Helen (Recipient), 09 Oct 2015

    Prize: Prize (including medals and awards)

    1st prize oral presentation

    Coleman, Helen (Recipient), 2013

    Prize: Prize (including medals and awards)

    2nd prize, Poster presentation (Jointly with Andrew Kunzmann)

    Coleman, Helen (Recipient), May 2015

    Prize: Prize (including medals and awards)

    Best oral presentation

    Coleman, Helen (Recipient), 10 Apr 2014

    Prize: Prize (including medals and awards)

    Population Health Postdoctoral Fellowship

    Coleman, Helen (Recipient), 2013

    Prize: Fellowship awarded competitively

  • Activities

    Gastroenterology (Journal)

    Helen Coleman (Editorial board member)

    Jan 2020

    Activity: Publication peer-review and editorial work typesEditorial activity

    Cancer Research UK (External organisation)

    Helen Coleman (Advisor)

    2018 → …

    Activity: Membership typesMembership of peer review panel or committee

    National Cancer Research Institute conference

    Helen Coleman (Invited speaker)

    08 Nov 2017

    Activity: Participating in or organising an event typesParticipation in conference

    European Society for Diseases of the Esophagus

    Helen Coleman (Invited speaker)

    10 Nov 2017

    Activity: Participating in or organising an event typesParticipation in conference

    British and Irish Gastroenterology societies (BIG) Joint meeting

    Helen Coleman (Member of the organising committee)

    27 Apr 201728 Apr 2017

    Activity: Participating in or organising an event typesParticipation in conference

    Press / Media


    Re-assessment of Cancer risk in Barrett’s oesophagus.

    Fouad Yousef (Participant), Christopher Cardwell (Participant), Marie Cantwell (Participant), Karen Galway (Participant), Liam Murray (Participant), Lesley Anderson (Participant), Suzanne Murphy (Participant), Deirdre Fitzpatrick (Participant), Brian Johnston (Participant), Robert Watson (Participant), Peter McCarron (Participant), Anna Gavin (Participant), Shivaram Bhat (Participant), Helen Coleman (Participant), Damian McManus (Participant) & Helen Coleman (Participant)

    Impact: Health Impact, Quality of Life Impact


    Epidemiological risk factors, related biomarkers and oesophageal adenocarcinoma survival

    Author: McCain, S., Jul 2020

    Supervisor: Coleman, H. (Supervisor) & Turkington, R. (Supervisor)

    Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy

    Physical activity and Gastrointestinal Cancer: A deeper understanding of risk and underlying mechanisms

    Author: Mallon, K., Dec 2019

    Supervisor: Cardwell, C. (Supervisor), Coleman, H. (Supervisor) & Hunter, R. (Supervisor)

    Student thesis: Masters ThesisMasters