Matthew Fok

Chair

Matthew Fok is a trainee General Surgeon currently undertaking a PhD investigating radiotherapy a ...

Matthew Fok

Chair

Matthew Fok is a trainee General Surgeon currently undertaking a PhD investigating radiotherapy and rectal cancer at the University of Liverpool. Previously to this he completed a Master of Research in obesity and stem cells and throughout his career has been involved in the ongoing recruitment of patients to surgical trials. Matthew is passionate about cancer research and this is further demonstrated through his teaching and encouragement of others to participate. Matthew is honoured to be elected Chair of the National Cancer Research Institute Early Careers Researcher Forum and is looking forward to working with the forum in order to improve wider access to cancer research across all disciplines. In his spare time, Matthew loves to cook, sample new foods and spend time with his wife Charlotte and 1.5 year old daughter Elodie.

Amit Samani

Amit commenced an Academic Clinical Fellowship in medical oncology at Imperial College Healthcare ...

Amit Samani

Amit commenced an Academic Clinical Fellowship in medical oncology at Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust. In 2018, he took time out of training to pursue a PhD in the laboratory of Professor Julian Downward at the Francis Crick Institute, looking how a certain type of cancer is able to evade attack from the immune system. As well as his interest in how the immune system and cancer interact, Amit is passionate about the potential for data to improve healthcare, and outcomes for patients with cancer. He also has a keen interest in teaching and has taught on The Institute of Cancer Research MSc in Oncology course while also teaching medical students and junior doctors at Imperial. While on the committee Amit is keen to help broaden access to research, and related resources, while also encouraging cross-disciplinary communication, networking and mutual learning.

Concetta Piazesse

Concetta joined the University of Huddersfield in August 2020, and she is currently Senior Lectur ...

Concetta Piazesse

Concetta joined the University of Huddersfield in August 2020, and she is currently Senior Lecturer in the School of Computing and Engineering. She is the Leader of BEng/MEng Medical Engineering Technologies courses and Year 3/4/5 tutor for 7 BEng/MEng programmes in the Department of Engineering and Technology. Concetta received a MEng degree in Biomedical Engineering from Politecnico di Milano.

In 2012, she started a joint Phd between Politecnico di Milano and Università della Svizzera italiana focused on development cardiac models by means of precise and realistic patient-specific geometries extracted from medical images. She worked as Research Associate at Cardiff University before being appointed as Senior Lecturer at the University of Huddersfield. Concetta has extensive experience in medical image processing and algorithm development. Concetta’s research focuses on developing and validating new medical image processing techniques to be applied within oncological clinical-decision support systems to improve diagnostic, prognostic, and predictive accuracy.

Her research interests include advanced medical image processing, algorithm development, X-ray/CT/MR/PET imaging, machine learning, radiomics, image-based biomarkers, clinical studies, medical physics, advanced computer modelling of the delivery and effects of radiation therapy and Radiotherapy Trials Quality Assurance (RTTQA) for improved precision oncology.

Concetta has already been a member of different committees where she represented early career researchers (ECRs). She also worked with senior leaders to deliver a collegiate, equitable and supportive environment for ECRs by organising talks and networking seminars on topics that could help their development inside and outside the university.

As a member of the NCRI Early Career Researcher Forum Executive Committee, Concetta is looking forward to working with other members to review, develop and advise on activities, opportunities and outputs of the ECR Forum.

Douglas Cartwright

I’m Doug Cartwright, a clinical research fellow and PhD student at the CRUK Beatson Insti ...

Douglas Cartwright

I’m Doug Cartwright, a clinical research fellow and PhD student at the CRUK Beatson Institute in Glasgow. I am currently out of programme, having completed Core Medical Training in the West of Scotland. The aim of my PhD project is to investigate tumour-stromal interactions in high grade serous ovarian cancer, specifically using mass spectrometry-based proteomics. Alongside research, I am part of the ovarian cancer clinical team at the Beatson West of Scotland Cancer Centre. I’m looking forward to working with the committee to develop the forum into a supportive network for sharing knowledge and improving

collaboration between scientists and clinical trainees. During my research so far, I have gained many valuable skills and recognise their application in the clinical sphere. I have used these skills to support a number of clinical research and quality improvement projects within the Beatson Cancer Centre and developed a statistical programming course in order to share these skills with colleagues. I hope to work with many of you in the ECR forum to develop similar resources in a variety of transferrable skills applicable to both clinical and non-clinical researchers. Outside of work I enjoy playing tennis and cycling (when the Scottish weather allows).

Gianina-Ioana Postavaru

Dr Gianina-Ioana Postavaru is a Chartered Psychologist within the Division of Health Psychology ...

Gianina-Ioana Postavaru

Dr Gianina-Ioana Postavaru is a Chartered Psychologist within the Division of Health Psychology of the British Psychological Society and a Visiting Fellow at the United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust. In February 2022 she will take up an academic role at the University of Leicester. She is currently working on a series of projects aimed at enhancing access and engagement with healthcare services among cancer patients and their family members. Her research and consultancy experience are well-aligned with her vision of enhancing patient care through work with family members and health professionals. She also co-facilitates the professional sub-group ‘Bereavement & Loss’ of the CHAIN– NHS Networks. Gianina aims to support the vision and strategic direction of the ECR Forum through her national and international collaborations, as well as increase its awareness amongst professional networks and organisations. One of her ambitions is to facilitate the setting up a diverse, inclusive and international context of learning, professional development and collaborations for ECR Forum members.

Harshani Green

My name is Dr Harshani Green and I am currently working as a Clinical Research Fellow at The ...

Harshani Green

My name is Dr Harshani Green and I am currently working as a Clinical Research Fellow at The Royal Marsden Hospital in Chelsea, London. I am working towards a MD(res) degree in optimising the utility of image-guided radiotherapy in renal cell carcinoma.

I qualified as a doctor in 2010 at University College London (MBBS) and have an integrated 1st class BSc(Hons) in Pharmacology. Following completion of Clinical Oncology training, I went on to complete a post-CCT Proton Beam Therapy (PBT) Fellowship at University College Hospital London; primarily contributing to service development as part of the core PBT team.

I am fortunate to have experience in a wide variety of radiotherapy techniques including conventional photons, intensity modulated radiotherapy, orthovoltage/electrons, stereotactic radiotherapy and protons. My specialist interest is the use of advanced radiotherapy techniques. I am also trained in the systemic treatment of cancer including chemotherapy, hormones, targeted drugs and immunotherapy. I feel privileged to have been offered the opportunity to represent my Clinical Oncology peers within the wider Early Career Researchers (ECR) forum.

I look forward to working collaboratively alongside a fantastic group of multidisciplinary researchers within the Executive Committee, in order to promote inclusivity and diversity and to encourage high-quality, collaborative and translationally-rich research. I hope to be an advocate for equitable care and clinical equipoise, keeping patients at the heart of any clinical study; from concept through to completion.

Joanne Bird

Jo Bird is a YCR Connects Research Fellow at the University of Sheffield and Clinical Nurse Spe ...

Joanne Bird

Jo Bird is a YCR Connects Research Fellow at the University of Sheffield and Clinical Nurse Specialist in Immunotherapy Late Effects at Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust. She maintains a clinical academic career having completed an NIHR Clinical Doctoral Research Fellowship that explores the experience and support needs of melanoma patients and their carers. Prior to this Jo was a Clinical Research Nurse working in a variety of cancer sites and early phase trials so is keen to support nurses working in clinical research as well as those undertaking their own research. Jo’s research interests include the long-term effects of immunotherapy, survivorship and palliative care. Co-production was central to Jo’s PhD and she is keen to involve patients, carers and members of the public in developing research and clinical services. In her clinical role she conducts a nurse-led late effects service for patients who have received immunotherapy. Jo is looking forward to working with the NCRI Early Career Researchers Forum to increase opportunities for multi-professional research and encourage more oncology healthcare professionals to become involved.

Sam Khan

Sam Khan is an Academic Clinical Lecturer in Medical Oncology based at the University of Leiceste ...

Sam Khan

Sam Khan is an Academic Clinical Lecturer in Medical Oncology based at the University of Leicester. Her main research interests focus on cancer prevention strategies in colorectal and lung cancer. She uses 3D ex-vivo models such as patient derived explants or spheroids as a platform for screening dietary agents and repurposed drugs. Using these models for screening helps to gain insight into the mechanism of action of potential therapeutics, develop biomarkers of response and predict patient outcomes. As a result, there is great potential for precision prevention and personalised medicine. In the future models such as these may help to rationalise clinical trial design and reduce attrition of drugs when progressing from a pre-clinical arena.

Sam is looking forward to working with the National Cancer Research Institute Early Career Researchers Committee to increase opportunities for early career researchers to develop innovative ideas and collaborations in underrepresented areas of cancer research.

Sam is a keen cyclist and runner (with a keener interest in all things food, especially baked goods!).

Sheena Guram

Dr. Sheena Guram is a Paediatric Oncology trainee in London with research interests in sarc ...

Sheena Guram

Dr. Sheena Guram is a Paediatric Oncology trainee in London with research interests in sarcoma, novel agents and treatment related toxicity.  She completed her medical training at St. Anne’s College, University of Oxford and Imperial College School of Medicine.  During her general paediatric training, she completed a MSc in Advanced Paediatrics and Child Health from University College London.  Her thesis examined the metabolism of vincristine in paediatric haematology and oncology patients.

She spent a year in Toronto as a Clinical Research Fellow in The Toronto Sarcoma Program, where she worked in Dr. Rebecca Gladdy’s lab working on clinical and translational research in rhabdomyosarcoma, leiomyosarcoma and radiation associated angiosarcoma.

Sheena is currently taking time out of clinical training to pursue a PhD at The Institute of Cancer Research, working with Prof Janet Shipley and Dr. Henry Mandeville.  Her PhD will focus on how DNA damage agents can be used in combination with radiotherapy in Paediatric and Adolescent Sarcoma.

Cancer Research UK states that 1 in 2 people will be diagnosed with cancer, presenting a significant public health crisis.  There is hence a necessity for further research and development of strategies for prevention, early detection and improved outcomes for patients.  The NCRI Early Career Researcher (ECR) Forum provides an exciting opportunity for ECRs to build collaborative networks, develop research skills and provide mentorship for scientists and health care professionals.

In her free time, Dr. Guram volunteers for “Over the Wall”.  This is a charity in the UK, supporting children and young people who face serious health challenges through transformational residential camps in communities across the UK.

Simon Deacon

Dr Simon Deacon is a trainee histopathologist in Nottingham. He is currently undertaking an Aca ...

Simon Deacon

Dr Simon Deacon is a trainee histopathologist in Nottingham. He is currently undertaking an Academic Clinical Fellowship alongside the University of Nottingham, investigating the role of epitranscriptomics in brain tumour pathology. Alongside this research, Simon also has an interest in the integration of digital pathology into routine histopathology practice and the potential this has to revolutionise both cancer diagnostics and research. As a member of the Early Career Research Committee, he intends to help organise events that will enable trainees and researchers to access the skills, networking and mentorship opportunities necessary to facilitate high-quality research. A particular area of interest is to champion the role of histopathologists within cancer research and clinical trials. He hopes to work alongside groups such as the NCRI CM-Path initiative to develop opportunities for trainee collaboration and participation in this research.

Yusra Siddiqui

I am a cancer biologist with a PhD in Biochemistry from the University of Bristol. I bring in a b ...

Yusra Siddiqui

I am a cancer biologist with a PhD in Biochemistry from the University of Bristol. I bring in a breadth of international experience with a post-doc in melanoma progression from Nanyang Technological University (NTU), Singapore; and a short research stint focussing on acquiring knowledge in next-generation sequencing and zebrafish as a model at the International Institute of Molecular and Cell Biology (IIMCB), Warsaw, Poland. My main current research interests lie in unravelling the molecular events underlying prostate cancer progression, however, started during my PhD. My expertise lies in working with a range of in vitro, ex vivo and in vivo cancer research models. I am currently interested in understanding the link between prostate cancer progression and risk factors like sexually transmitted infections (STIs). I am a firm believer that science is about networking, sharing ideas, training and developing together. As an ECR myself, being part of the NCRI ECR Executive Committee is of immense importance of not only being helpful in growing my collaborative network of cancer researchers and allied health professionals, but going a step ahead to help me contribute, design and be part of the various training activities planned by the Forum. Looking forward to connect with you all!