MRCPCH FRCPath PhD
Associate Professor of Paediatric Haematology
- Wellcome Trust Clinical Research Career Development Fellow
Main research interest: understanding the origins and biology of childhood leukaemia.
Previous academic placements: LLR Clinical Training Fellowship/PhD (2007-2011) Imperial College London. NIHR Academic Clinical Lectureship in Paediatric Haematology (2011-2015) Imperial College London. Bloodwise Clinician Scientist (2015-2020) at University of Oxford.
Clinical training: MBBS and postgraduate Paediatric training, Christian Medical College Vellore, India. Paediatric training (SHO and SpR), London, UK. Integrated Academic Clinical Training programme in Paediatric Haematology, London, UK
The main focus of my research is to study prenatal B lymphopoiesis in order to understand the origins of childhood leukaemia, in particular infant acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (ALL). My research aims to identify and characterise the target cell population for leukaemia initiation in infant and childhood ALL in order to pinpoint specific pathways that can be targeted for future therapies. I work closely with Prof Irene Roberts investigating how trisomy 21 perturbs haematopoiesis before birth and its implications for Down syndrome associated leukaemias in children.
My vision going forward is to lead a research programme focusing on childhood leukaemias where the need is greatest, including strategies for treatment reduction and identification of new or repurposed drugs. As a Paediatric Haematologist, I hope to play a crucial role in implementing research findings into clinical practice, including in LMIC. I am also passionate about mentoring the next generation of clinician scientists and promoting equality and diversity in academia.
ONGOING D.PHIL PROJECTS
The developmental stage-specific cellular and molecular characteristics of fetal and postnatal progenitors are likely to determine the biology of ALL at different ages. We are particularly interested in high-risk childhood ALL, such as infant ALL and Down syndrome associated ALL. We have recently developed a novel MLL-AF4+ infant ALL model using primary human haematopoietic stem and progenitor cells. The overarching aim of research in our lab is to improve the outcomes of children with high-risk ALL. The current DPhil projects are in these areas:
1) Developing faithful models of high-risk childhood ALL to better understand leukaemia initiation and maintenance at different ages
2) Mechanistic studies to understand key drivers of childhood ALL
3) Target discovery and translation of findings from (1) and (2) into preclinical studies
4) Projects using multi-omics to understand how cell intrinsic and/or microenvironmental characteristics of the developmental stage at which a leukaemia originates, drives the biology of leukaemia at different ages