I graduated as a double Exhibitioner in Medicine from the University of Cambridge in 2000. My basic and higher surgical training was carried out at Addenbrooke’s Hospital, Cambridge. In 2009 I undertook a PhD in Oncology with Professor Doug Winton at the Cancer Research UK, Cambridge Institute. My doctoral thesis answered a long-standing question in the field surrounding the nature of quiescent intestinal stem cells. Following this I was awarded a post-doctoral CRUK Clinician Scientist Fellowship to help establish my own research group. During this period my research focussed on targeting quiescent colorectal cancer stem cells; successfully repurposing a drug to achieve this. I was appointed as honorary consultant colorectal surgeon at Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Trust in 2015. I also led the Aerodigestive programme for the Cambridge Cancer Centre from 2015 to 2020 and during this time was a Fellow and College Lecturer in Anatomy at Clare College. In 2018 I was appointed as a Group Leader at the Cambridge Stem Cell Institute and in the same year was awarded a CRUK/RCSEng Advanced Clinician Scientist Fellowship. In 2020 I was appointed as the inaugural Richard Blackwell Pharsalia Professor of Colorectal Surgery at the Nuffield Department of Surgical Sciences, University of Oxford.
MA (Cantab), MB, BChir, PhD, FRCS
Richard Blackwell Pharsalia Professor of Colorectal Surgery
- Cancer Research UK / Royal College of Surgeons of England Advanced Clinician Scientist Fellow
- Honorary Consultant Colorectal Surgeon
My research focusses on understanding how colorectal (bowel) cancers evolve and how different mutations change the way cancer cells interact with each other and surrounding tissues.
The lifetime risk of being diagnosed with colorectal cancer is around 1 in 16 and in the UK approximately 45 people every day sadly die from the disease. Unlike some other cancers less progress has been made in identifying new drugs that improve survival rates for patients with colorectal cancer.
Recently, our understanding of colorectal cancer has radically changed. We now know that there are many types of bowel cancer and even different parts of a single patient’s tumour may vary molecularly. My laboratory uses complex gene engineering techniques on surgical biopsies to better understand what drives this variance to help develop improved therapeutics.
My research aims to provide a mechanistic understanding of the implications of colorectal cancer heterogeneity. These experimental data may provide a clinical rationale for the trial of novel chemotherapy drugs or combinatorial treatments that ultimately could improve outcomes for patients with colorectal cancer.
Association of Coloproctology of Great Britain and Ireland
2018 CRUK/RCSEng Advanced Clinician Scientist Fellowship
2015 British Journal of Surgery Prize, ACPGBI
2013 CRUK Clinician Scientist Fellowship
2013 ACPGBI Travelling Fellowship
2013 RSM Travelling Fellowship
2012 Harrison-Watson Senior Award, Clare College
2012 The Kevin Burnand Prize, SARS
1998 Clinical and Senior Exhibitioner, University of Cambridge
Targeting acid ceramidase to improve the radiosensitivity of rectal cancer
Clifford R. et al, (2020), Cells
Uribe-Lewis S. et al, (2020), Scientific Reports, 10
Darvish-Damavandi M. et al, (2020), Br J Surg
Duff SE. et al, (2020), Colorectal Disease, 22, 364 - 372
Buczacki S., (2019), World J Gastroenterol, 25, 3116 - 3122