2017 Barry Reed PhD Studentships

Reza Roozitalab Posted in General News, BCI Spotlight Articles, Engagement 11 October 2017

4 new students awarded Barry Reed PhD studentships for 2017

Faraz, Sarah, Yasmine, Emma, Syahmi, Laura, Norah, Simon, Arran and Emma

Thanks to tireless fundraising efforts by Norah Reed of the Barry Reed Cancer Research Fund, we are pleased to be introducing four new PhD students Emma NewportLaura Tovini, Judit Csere and Syahmi Azman; a recent graduate from our MSc Molecular Pathology and Genomics programme, to various labs in the BCI.

Last week, the first ever cohort of Barry Reed PhD students from 2014; Yasmine, Emma and Arran, came to welcome the new students and share their experiences as they approach the end of their PhD journeys.

Joining them, our Emeritus Reader in Cancer Pharmacology Dr Simon Joel, who established many of our postgraduate courses at the institute, greeted the new students at Charterhouse Square. We look forward to meeting fellow newcomer Judit shortly. 

Barry Reed Cancer Research Fund

In 1991, following the passing of her late husband, Barry Reed, Norah founded the Cancer Research Fund and has for over 20 years dedicated her time to supporting Barts. These grants enable the next generation of budding researchers to work on cutting edge projects that will have a real impact on future developments in the clinic.

Simon, Yasmine, Norah, Emma and Arran

We are delighted at how successful the first 3 Barry Reed Cancer Research Fund PhD studentships have been and how well the students engaged with our supporters at fundraising events. Arran, Emma and Yasmine have set a very high standard for the 4 new students to follow. We look forward to seeing them develop over the course of their studentships.

In addition to smaller events like coffee mornings throughout the year, Norah organises two major annual events. This year, the autumn event will feature a stage performance of, ‘Tell Me on a Sunday’ followed by dinner, with a concert being planned for the summer.

Our students will provide regular updates as well as attending these events to share the details of their research; an exciting opportunity for all.

The science behind the projects

Simon, Syahmi, Emma, Laura and Norah touring the labs

Emma will join Professor Kairbaan-Hodivala Dilke in our Centre for Tumour Biology to explore new ways to improve current immunotherapies. Using a new approach called, ‘vascular promotion’, Emma will try to see whether increasing the number and size blood vessels in a tumour can increase the delivery and efficacy of treatment.

Barry Reed 2017 3

Syahmi will be supervised by Dr Faraz Mardakheh(right) in Molecular Oncology to identify new targets in pancreatic cancer cells that use the KRAS signalling protein to communicate. He will gain expertise in proteomics and bioinformatics whilst trying to understand the complete signalling network downstream of KRAS.   

Judit also joins the team in Molecular Oncology, under the supervision of Dr Susana Godinho. With yet again a focus on pancreatic cancer, she will use a state of the art mass spectrometry method to identify the cocktail of proteins in fatty secreted packages called ‘exosomes’. By recreating a 3D model of a real tumour in the lab, the team will test the ability of these proteins to activate neighbouring ‘pancreatic stellate cells’; neighbouring cells that add to the aggressive prognosis of pancreatic cancer.   

Barry Reed 2017 4

Laura, under the supervision of Dr Sarah McClelland (right) will determine how DNA copying errors and chromosome missegregation aid the growth and division or clonal evolution of cancer.

Using next-generation cell imaging techniques coupled with complex mathematical models, her work will allow us to recognise and target these cancer-promoting mechanisms in future patients.

We look forward to receiving regular updates from our new students and celebrating the future successes of Arran, Emma and Yasmine!


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