Research Team

Emma Parsons, Resources and Outreach Manager, University of Glasgow

Emma is the Resources and Outreach Manager for INCISE, supporting patient and clinical engagement as part of work package 2. She completed her MSci in Biochemistry at the University of Aberdeen in 2019 and worked in the pharmaceutical industry for one year during her undergraduate degree. She is currently writing her PhD thesis on the role of RNA-Seq identified genes in the development of prostate cancer and hopes to graduate from the University of Glasgow in 2024.

Ben Young, Postdoctoral Researcher, University of Glasgow

Dr Ben Young undertakes research into psychological and behavioural processes in cancer prevention and early detection. This often includes surveys and interviews to explore people's experiences of cancer screening. The research aims to find ways to make it easier to take part in cancer screening and to improve understanding of screening information.

William Sloan, Clinical Data Manager, NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde

Billy Sloan is a Technical Specialist based at the NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde Biorepository. He specialises in relational database development and related systems. He has over 20 years’ experience in developing database systems for use in clinical trials, cancer research and routine clinical data management, and has a broad knowledge of information technology from network security and administration through to large system development.

Natalie Fisher, Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Queen's University Belfast

Dr Natalie Fisher is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow within the Computational Oncology Group at Queen’s University Belfast. She works in Colorectal Cancer and to date Natalie’s primary research expertise involve both digital pathology and transcriptomic data analysis, including implementing both in tandem in answer key research questions.  A key focus of Natalie’s research is around the biological interpretation of complex data types, including being able to critically analyse data in a biologically meaningful way. This will be the focus of Natalie’s role within INCISE.

Aula Ammar, Postdoctoral Researcher, University of Glasgow

Dr Aula Ammar is a cancer biologist who has several years of experience working across different types of epithelial cancers. Aula is interested in understanding cancer biology and finding new ways to treat cancer or predict its recurrence/metastasis.

Aula’s previous research focused on understanding mechanisms controlling breast cancer metastasis through lymphatic vessels. She also studied the interaction of macrophages with breast cancer cells and the effect of this on response to radiotherapy. She assessed the prognostic significance of different molecules in terms of patient survival, cancer recurrence or response to treatment. Aula’s work in ovarian cancer aimed to assess the efficacy of blocking an inflammatory cytokine known as interleukin-6 in ovarian cancer and to investigate any changes in immune cells following this treatment.

Aula is excited to use her previous experience to analyse immune cells present in patients’ polys. She aims to define immune cell signatures that can help predict patients at higher risk of developing future polyps and potentially cancer. Aula’s data will feed into other INCISE packages including digital pathology, transcriptomics and genomics with the ultimate aim to achieve more accurate postpolypectomy surveillance protocol and improve early detection of colorectal cancer which subsequently improves cancer outcomes and patients’ survival.

Sara Samir Foad Al-Badran, PhD Researcher, University of Glasgow

Sara is a PhD researcher and cancer scientist. She graduated from the University of Nottingham in 2018 with a BSc in Biomedical Sciences with Honours. She then joined the University of Glasgow to undertake her MSc in Cancer Sciences, graduating with distinction in 2019.
 
Sara joined INCISE at the start of her PhD in 2021, to investigate the polyp microbiome and possible related pathways, and their effect on the development of future polyps. Sara is using a variety of techniques for this, including immunohistochemistry, TempO-Seq, RNAscope, and CosMX. 
 
Sara's previous research interests include housekeeping gene identification for microRNA research, and using immune checkpoints as prognostic biomarkers for colorectal cancer. 

Mark Johnstone, Clinical Research Fellow, NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde

Mark Johnstone is a general surgical registrar currently working as a clinical research fellow at the Glasgow Royal Infirmary Academic Unit of Surgery. He undertook his undergraduate training at the University of Glasgow, completing an intercalated BSc in cancer science before graduating with honours from Glasgow Medical School in 2014. He completed 2 years of academic foundation training and 2 years of core surgical training and was appointed as the surgical Glasgow Academic Training Environment (GATE) Trainee in 2016. Mark gained membership of Royal College of Surgeons (MRCS) in 2017 before being appointed as a general surgical speciality registrar in the West of Scotland in 2018. To date Mark has published in areas including colonoscopic localisation of colorectal cancers and surgical reconstruction of the perineum following APR in the era of laparoscopic surgery. As well as his work on the INCISE project, his other research interests include the use of qFIT in symptomatic patients and the impact of co-morbidity on bowel cancer screening outcomes.

Simon Fisher, Data Integration and Machine Learning, Canon Medical Research Europe

Simon completed a PhD in human genetics with a focus on precision medicine. His previous research focused on proving causation for GWAS variants in hypertension, with a focus on bioinformatics, statistics and in-vivo models. 
 
He currently works as an AI scientist on the INCISE project. Alongside his team, his primary focus is processing, modelling and integrating the multiomics datasets characterised in INCISE, in order to create machine learning models to predict the risk of recurrence of adenomatous polyps. 
 
An additional focus of his work is in designing the user interface which will be used in-clinic to communicate the "black box" findings of AI back to the patient in a meaningful way.

Russell Hung, Data Integration and Machine Learning, Canon Medical Research Europe

Russell is a bioinformatician and AI research engineer at Canon Medical Research Europe Ltd. He specialises in developing and applying computation methods in addressing biological and clinical questions. After completing his MSci in Bioinformatics at the University of Bristol he joined the INCISE project. His research interests include health informatics, artificial intelligence, systems biology and biomodelling.

Jacob Bradley, Data Integration and Machine Learning, Canon Medical Research Europe

Jacob Bradley is a research engineer at Canon Medical Research Europe (CMRE), specialising in machine learning and bioinformatics. He completed his PhD in statistical and machine learning approaches to genomic medicine in 2023, where he worked on prognostic prediction of survival from non-small cell lung cancer. His work at Canon spans research software engineering and data science, particular the development and application of new algorithms for analysing biological data.
 
On the INCISE project, Jacob is jointly responsible along with colleagues from CMRE for integration of INCISE's multiple data sources into a pipeline for production of prognostic risk scores. These risk scores will then be used to guide patients' pathway through screening for colorectal cancer - in particular, their frequency of invitation for follow-up colonoscopies. This aims to significantly streamline the burden on the NHS of providing such appointments, which is currently increasing at an unsustainable rate. Jacob's role is both technical and outward facing, working alongside INCISE's many partner organisations to successfully deliver on the promise of new biomedical technologies.