Director and Executive

The NCRI Director and Executive are responsible for taking forward the activities of NCRI, as agreed by the Board of Trustees. The NCRI Director is supported by a senior management team who work closely with her, the Board of Trustees, NCRI Partners, other key stakeholders in the UK cancer research community and the rest of the NCRI Executive to help foster a productive partnership.

You can contact us via our general enquires email or email members of the senior management team directly. You can also call us on +44 (0)20 3469 8460.

» Email NCRI with a general enquiry

Karen KennedyWayne BradsNicola KeatSusan KolhasNicole Leida

Click on a member of the team above to view further information.

Meet the senior management team

Karen Kennedy, National Cancer Research Institute Director

Karen Kennedy
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Karen joined the NCRI as Director in October 2013. Prior to this she held the position of Head of Strategic Relations at the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, leading on partnership building across a range of externally facing stakeholders. Karen has a degree in Pharmacology and a PhD in Medicinal Chemistry and carried out post-doctoral research in Toulouse and Cambridge before moving into the research funding arena with various roles in the Science Funding division of the Wellcome Trust. She has also spent time living in Canada, as the Director of the International Genomics Programme at Genome Canada with responsibility for the development and oversight of international research consortia and alliances. Karen is passionate about research and believes that by working together in partnership we can enable faster progress in cancer research and fully realise its benefits for patients and the public.


MattSeymour1Matt Seymour
Clinical Research Director (part-time)
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Matt is the NCRI’s Clinical Research Director, and provides clinical leadership to initiatives including the NCRI Clinical Studies Groups on a part-time basis.

Matt is a medical oncologist specialising in gastrointestinal cancers. As well as practising at Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, he is also Professor of Gastrointestinal Cancer Medicine at the University of Leeds, and is the chief investigator of a number of phase III trials.

He provides a key interface between NCRI and the research networks, having been Director of the cancer division of the NIHR Clinical Research Networks since 2010.


Wayne Brads, National Cancer Research Institute Head of Business Operations

Wayne Brads
Head of Business Operations
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Wayne Joined NCRI as Head of Business Operations in May 2015. He leads a team responsible for developing and implementing ways of working which enables the organisation to develop and promote successful partnerships working.

Having originally trained in Naval Architecture and with a degree in Metallurgy and Materials Science, Wayne completed a twenty year commission in the Royal Navy which included service in nuclear submarines and surface ships. During this period he also trained as a Management Accountant and gained a Master’s degree from Cranfield University. Before joining the NCRI Wayne spent eight years at Guide Dogs leading planning, performance and quality management.

Wayne is committed to building effective and resourceful teams who are focussed on enabling the delivering of best value to partners, patients and the public.


Nicola Keat, Head of Clinical Research Groups at the National Cancer Research Institute

Nicola Keat
Head of Clinical Research Groups
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Nicola joined the NCRI as Head of Clinical Research Groups in April 2015.  Nicola provides leadership and strategic input into the activities of the NCRI’s Clinical Research Groups (CRGs), ensuring a collaborative approach to clinical research endeavours.

Her team is responsible for delivery of all of the activities of the NCRI CRGs, currently including Clinical Studies Groups (CSGs), Clinical and Translational Radiotherapy Research (CTRad) Working Group and the Cancer Clinical Trials Unit (CTU) Group.  Nicola is also responsible for oversight of all patient involvement in NCRI activities via the NCRI Consumer Forum.

After completing a degree in Biological Sciences (with a placement year working at Novartis), Nicola moved into the research funding arena, working in the Clinical Trials Team at Cancer Research UK.


Susan Kohlhaas, National Cancer Research Institute Head of Strategic Planning and Initiative
Susan Kohlhaas
Head of Strategic Planning and Initiatives
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Susan joined NCRI as Head of Strategic Planning and Initiatives in January 2016 where she leads the Strategic Planning and Initiatives Team. The team are responsible for scoping new strategic directions and initiatives for NCRI, maintaining the NCRI Cancer Research Database (CaRD) and developing and implementing plans for specific initiatives.

Susan previously worked at the Multiple Sclerosis Society, most recently as Head of Biomedical Research. She completed her PhD in Cancer Biology at the MRC Toxicology Unit, University of Leicester and held a postdoctoral position in Immunology and Cell Signalling at the Babraham Institute, Cambridge before moving into the research funding arena.


Nicole Leida, National Cancer Research Institute Head of Conference and Events
Nicole Leida
Head of Conference and Events
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Nicole joined NCRI in June 2015 as Head of Conference and Events. She provides leadership and direction for the strategic development of the NCRI Cancer Conference and other NCRI events while overseeing their operational delivery.

Nicole has a degree in PR and Advertising with an MA in Event Management and a postgraduate certificate in Business Finance and Management. After a brief spell as a graphic designer, Nicole worked as a marketing manager for a fashion company in her native Italy, near Milan.

When she moved to the UK, she worked as an event planner for the Italian Chamber of Commerce and Industry for the UK and various other clients including well-known educational institutions and hospitality establishments. She then joined the Royal Society of Medicine, where she worked for over seven years and was responsible for leading and coordinating the strategic planning function and day-to-day operations of an event team of 30.

Nicole is a full member of the Association of British Professional Conference Organisers (ABPCO) and was elected joint-chair in 2014. In her spare time she practices and teaches Hatha Yoga and meditation.