Current PhD students

Sarah Memarzadeh      

Sarah is a fourth-year PhD student with David France (School of Chemistry, University of Glasgow) Her project is directed towards developing a new drug to prevent cancer invasion and metastasis. She implements an emerging therapeutic approach called PROTAC where unlike conventional enzyme-inhibiting drugs, proteins of interest are marked for targeted degradation.


Konstantina Nikolatou

Konstantina is a fourth-year PhD student under the supervision of David Bryant and Sara Zanivan. She is interested in chemotherapy-resistant and metastatic ovarian cancer. Her project focuses on the role of the ARF GTPase Arf6 in driving these processes. To do so, she uses ovarian cancer cell mini-tumours grown in the lab, integrating live imaging and proteomic analyses to identify opportunities for pharmacological intervention in this cancer.


Esmee Vringer    

Esmee is a fourth-year PhD student with Stephen Tait (University of Glasgow/CRUK Beatson Institute) and Seth Coffelt (University of Glasgow/CRUK Beatson Institute). Her project is centred on improving cancer treatments that trigger regulated cell death called apoptosis, without damaging healthy cells. She aims to understand how caspase-independent cell death evokes an anti-tumour response by the immune system and how this can be exploited for therapy.


Dale Watt   

Dale is a fourth-year student with Jen Morton (CRUK Beatson Institute/ University of Glasgow) and Daniel Murphy (University of Glasgow/CRUK Beatson Institute). His project investigates the impact of the oncogenic TGFβ signalling in the development and progression of pancreatic cancer. He focuses on the crosstalk between tumour and stroma, determining the key players within the pathway and how they can be targeted as a therapeutic option.


Martha-Maria Zarou   

Martha is a fourth-year student with Vignir Helgason (ICS, University of Glasgow) and Alexei Vazquez (ICS, University of Glasgow). Her project concentrates on enzymes of the folate metabolism pathway that are upregulated in aggressive cancers including leukaemia. She aims to understand why stem cells rely on this particular pathway and investigates the impact of its inhibition.


Andrew Hartley  

Andy is a third-year student with Imran Ahmad (CRUK Beatson Institute/ University of Glasgow) and Karen Blyth (CRUK Beatson Institute/ University of Glasgow). His project investigates the role of novel genes in the development and progression of prostate cancer. His project focuses on ARID1A – a key regulator of DNA organisation and accessibility that was identified in a recent genetic screen.


Emer Curley

Emer is a second-year student under the supervision of David Lewis (CRUK Beatson Institute/ University of Glasgow) and Anthony Chalmers (ICS, University of Glasgow). Her project aims to overcome radiotherapy resistance by focusing on diverse metabolic signals at the tumour site to develop local radiotherapy strategies. She is using multiplex and non-invasive PET probes to identify regions within the tumour for targeted, dose delivery that is directed to improving outcome in the clinic.


Elena Mandrou   

Elena is a second-year PhD student working with Rob Insall Insall (University of Glasgow/ CRUK Beatson Institute) and Laura Machesky (CRUK Beatson Institute/ ICS, University of Glasgow). Her project focuses on a fundamental mechanism of cell steering called self-generated gradients, in which cells create cues by changing the concentration of chemical attractants around themselves. She is using a range of microscopy techniques – developed in collaboration with the University’s Physics department – to visualise gradients in different models.


Christopher Walsh

Chris is a second-year PhD student with Rob Insall (University of Glasgow/ CRUK Beatson Institute) and Joanne Edwards (ICS, University of Glasgow). His project uses deep learning to investigate how the patterns of cells at the edges of tumours allow us to understand whether tumours are spreading or benign. This work will help patients by making cancer pathology faster and more efficient.  He also uses artificial intelligence to discern how cells communicate with one another, the surrounding tissues and the immune system.  


Francesco Amato

Francesco is a first-year student with Chiara Braconi (ICS, University of Glasgow) and Owen Sansom (CRUK Beatson Institute/University of Glasgow). His project studies the crosstalk of biliary tract cancer and the surrounding micro-environment. He uses co-cultures of patient-derived monocytes and cancer cell organoids to investigate the role of miRNAs involved in the conversion of monocytes to myeloid derived suppressor cells, a type of immune cell involved in the suppression of the immune system in cancer.


Lorna Stillie

Lorna is a first-year MB-PhD student under the supervision of Charlie Gourley (CRUK Edinburgh Centre) and Gareth Inman (CRUK Beatson Institute/University of Glasgow). Her project focuses on the most common form of epithelial ovarian cancer. She is investigating the link between clinical outcomes and the activation of the MAPK pathway; often defect in cancers, this pathway can lead to uncontrolled growth.


Teena Thakur   

Teena is a first-year PhD student in the labs of Ross Cagan (ICS, University of Glasgow) and Owen Sansom (CRUK Beatson Institute/University of Glasgow). Her project aims to understand the development of drug resistance in colorectal cancer and how it is linked to genetic mutations present within tumours. She is developing new approaches to integrate tumour studies from mice, flies and organ-on-a-chip models.