- Clinical Lecturer in General Surgery (Surgery)
My clinical interests include upper GI surgery, with research interest strongly focused on pancreaticobiliary disease. In my PhD thesis, funded by the Chief Scientist Office, I investigated novel pancreatic cancer prognostic markers identified by genomic profiling. Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma is the 5th commonest cancer and 4th commonest cause of cancer deaths in Europe. Current therapies are essentially ineffective in advanced, inoperable disease, and the 5-year overall survival less than 5%. Despite the poor outcome associated with pancreatic cancer a spectrum of outcomes exists.
Our first research aim is the improvement of outcome stratification for patients undergoing surgical resection. Translational clinical pancreatic cancer research is our next focus. We have constructed tissue microarrays (TMAs) that cover a broad range of pancreaticobiliary malignancies allowing high throughput validation of protein biomarkers, identified as part of gene expression microarray analysis. To increase our tissue resource, we are involved in collecting a focused pancreatic biobank, including samples from pancreatic conditions at a pre- and post-operative stage.
A further thread of research involves microRNAs, small RNAs that play a critical role in post-transcriptional gene regulation. We have previously investigated microRNA expression profile of pancreatic cancer using microarray technology, with a proportion of these significantly associated with disease outcome. We aim to explore the mechanistic role of these microRNAs in various models of pancreatic disease and investigate their role in enhancing pre-operative diagnosis.
Finally, we previously identified that an elevated systemic inflammatory response is associated with poor outcome in pancreatic cancer. We are now profiling the complex tumour microenvironment and local inflammatory response associated with pancreatic cancer to better understand complex inter-relationship between the immune system, tumour and patient survival.
We currently have several active collaborations including Owen Sansom (Glasgow), Jim Norman (Glasgow), Professor Peter Adams (Glasgow), and Professor Nigel Pyne (Strathclyde).
As part of my role as clinical lecturer I will be involved in the running of SSCs focused on pancreatic disease, as well as the supervising of BMed Sci and MD students.