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    Research Statement

    My research is centred on using high quality human biosamples to identify and validate molecular targets as biomarkers for disease prediction, prognosis and response to therapy.   I led the development and expansion of Northern Ireland's first cancer focused Biobank; the Northern Ireland Biobank (NIB) (, securing funding greater than £3.5 million to ensure easier access to high quality, clinically annotated samples which are essential for translational cancer research.   The NIB is now a well established regional resource for all researchers in biomedical sciences to gain quicker, regulated access to quality assured collections of tissue and blood samples linked with reliable clinical and pathological data sets.

    Research Interests

    A major strand of my current research, using Biobank samples, is in the area of immuno-oncology.  In particular, investigating whether expression profiles of immune checkpoints and biomarkers of the tumour microenvironment can reliably predict clinical outcome in a range of cancer types.  This work is supported by a Cancer Research UK Accelerator Programme grant in Molecular Digital Pathology in which I am a lead investigator.  The Accelerator programme funds a collaborative network of academics from across the UK to utilise novel digital pathology approaches to analyse the immune contexture of tumours.  Specifically I have been working with my colleagues in the QUB Molecular Pathology Programme to predict early development of disease and disease recurrence in Squamous Cell Carcinomas (SCCs) of the aero-digestive tract utilising an open source software image analysis tool 'QuPath' .  This software was developed at Queen's as part of the Accelerator programme.   My current research interest builds on a previous successful MRC funded collaborative programme centered on Head and Neck cancer and now extends to other sites in the aero-digestive tract including the oesophagus and lung. 

    As an academic pathologist working within the CCRCB Molecular Pathology Programme I also make a significant contribution to ongoing national and international molecular pathology initiatives.  I am a member of the National Cancer Research Institute's (NCRI) Head and Neck Cancer Study Group (H&N CSG) and the NCRI Cellular/Molecular Pathology initiative (CM-PATH).  I have led Belfast's involvement in the Stratified Medicines Programme (2) (funded by Cancer Research UK) on behalf of Belfast's Experimental Cancer Medicine Centre and I lead the work package to deliver the Belfast Tissue Collections for the Movember funded FASTMAN study.

    Frequent Journals

    • Oncotarget

      ISSNs: 1949-2553

      Impact Journals

      Scopus rating (2018): SJR 1.575 SNIP 0.904


    • Histopathology

      ISSNs: 0309-0167

      Additional searchable ISSN (Electronic): 1365-2559


      Scopus rating (2018): SJR 1.245 SNIP 1.201


    • Journal of Clinical Periodontology

      ISSNs: 0303-6979

      Additional searchable ISSN (Electronic): 1600-051X

      Blackwell Munksgaard

      Scopus rating (2018): SJR 2.581 SNIP 2.088


    • Journal of Periodontology

      ISSNs: 0022-3492

      Additional searchable ISSN (Electronic): 1943-3670

      American Academy of Periodontology

      Scopus rating (2018): SJR 1.624 SNIP 1.468


    • Journal of Clinical Pathology

      ISSNs: 0021-9746, 1472-4146

      Additional searchable ISSN (Electronic): 1472-4146

      BMJ Publishing Group

      Scopus rating (2018): SJR 1.085 SNIP 0.97


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    Contribution to conference papers, events and activities

    ID: 32600