Leukaemia and Autophagy Therapeutics
Dr Vignir Helgason
- Reader (Translational Research Centre)
Dr Vignir Helgason is a Reader in Cancer Research at the Institute of Cancer Sciences, University of Glasgow.
Dr Helgason graduated with a B.Sc. in Biology from the University of Iceland in 2000 and worked at deCODE genetics (Reykjavik, Iceland) for three years before embarking on an academic career. He trained for a PhD degree in Prof. Kevin Ryan’s “Tumour Cell Death Laboratory” at the Cancer Research UK Beatson Institute and graduated with a PhD from University of Glasgow in October 2007.
Dr Helgason held two post-doctoral positions in Prof. Tessa Holyoake’s lab at the Paul O’Gorman Leukaemia Research Centre, which has been described as “a flagship model of integrated basic, translational and clinical research.”
In 2013, Dr Helgason was awarded a Kay Kendall Leukaemia Fund Research Fellowship that supports “truly outstanding biomedical scientists prior to establishing an independent research group in an international centre of excellence”. This facilitated a successful application to the University of Glasgow’s flagship Leadership Fellowship scheme, which allowed Dr Helgason to setup his own research group at the world-class Wolfson Wohl Cancer Research Centre (WWCRC).
Additionally, Dr Helgason was awarded the John Goldman Fellowship for Future Science, a prestigious award aimed at those with “passion for science, a desire to develop new ideas and translate scientific advances into clinical practice”.
Through additional studentship/grant applications, collaborations, conferences, meetings and high-impact publications Dr Helgason achieved a promotion to a Reader in Cancer Research position in August 2020.
Leukaemia Stem Cells - Autophagy - Cancer Metabolism - Leukaemia Niche.
Dr Helgason’s team focuses on “Bench to Bedside” translational research and is directly in line with Wolfson Wohl Cancer Research Centre, CRUK Beatson Institute and CRUK Glasgow Cancer Centre vision and strategy. So far, the team has primarily focused on Chronic Myeloid Leukaemia (CML), a tumour type in which Glasgow has particular clinical expertise and excising translational projects.
The team has emerging interest in related leukaemias and myeloproliferative neoplasms, with the overall aim of targeting appropriate therapy to the stem cell compartment to remove the population in which drug resistance occurs. All on-going projects relate to targeting: “Leukaemia Stem Cells” - “Autophagy” - “Cancer Metabolism” - “Leukaemia Niche”.
Grants and Awards listed are those received whilst working with the University of Glasgow.
- A first-in-class peptide-based platform delivery technology to modulate mitochondria function in disease
Medical Research Council
2021 - 2022
- Targeting Autophagy and Aberrant Metabolism of Leukaemic Stem Cells
Cancer Research UK
2020 - 2026
- Unravelling clinical heterogeneity in Philadelphia positive ALL
Children's Cancer and Leukaemia Group
2019 - 2022
- Elucidating metabolomics changes in myeloproliferative neoplasms
2019 - 2020
- Targeting mitochondrial fuel oxidation for the treatment of chronic and acute myeloid leukaemias
Blood Cancer UK
2018 - 2021
- Drug-repurposing screen for new therapeutic options in chronic and acute myeloid leukaemias
Chief Scientist Office
2018 - 2018
- Complementing LCMS data with transcriptomics to target metabolic vulnerabilities in acute myeloid leukaemia
NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde Endowment Funds
2017 - 2019
- Identifying and Targeting Metabolic Dependencies in Tyrosine Kinase-Driven Myeloid Leukaemias
The Kay Kendall Leukaemia Fund
2016 - 2019
- Identifying Mitochondrial Metabolic Dependencies in CML using a Genome-Scale CRISPR-Knockout Screening Approach
Lady Tata Memorial Trust
2016 - 2018
- Single cell RNA sequencing on primative human leukaemic stem cell population to identify novel biomarkers involved in drug resistance and future immunotherapy
2016 - 2018
- Identification of cancer-specific repurposing drug(s) that can overcome acquired drug-resistance in chronic myeloid leukaemia (CML)
NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde
2016 - 2017
- Autophagy-dependent regulation of energy metabolism in leukaemic stem cells
2016 - 2018
- ISSF Catalyst: Identification of mechanism(s) of acquired drug resistance in CML using a genome-scale CRISPR-knockout screening approach
2015 - 2016
- Autophagy Inhibition Combined with Targeted Therapy for Elimination of CML Stem Cells.
The Kay Kendall Leukaemia Fund
2013 - 2018
Meeting/Conference Presentations & Workshop Convening
2020:23rd Annual Molecular Haemopoiesis Meeting, Virtual event.
2019:Mexican Society for Stem Cell Research Conference, Mexico City, Mexico (Plenary Presentation).
2019:EMBO Autophagy Workshop Seminar, Crieff, UK
2019: University of Bern Cancer Research Seminar, Bern, Switzerland.
2019: Target Assessment Meeting, LifeArc, Open Innovation Campus, Stevenage, London, UK.
2018: POG-LRC 10-year Anniversary Symposium, Glasgow, UK.
2018:French Society of Hematology Congress 2018, Paris, France (Invited speaker).
2018: Paul O’Gorman Leukaemia Research Centre 10-year Anniversary Symposium, Glasgow, UK (Speaker).
2017:19th Annual John Goldman Conference on Chronic Myeloid Leukemia: Biology and Therapy, Estoril, Portugal (Invited speaker – Keynote Presentation).
2017:Leuka event for John Goldman Fellows, London, UK (Invited speaker and poster prize award).
2016:18th Annual John Goldman Conference on Chronic Myeloid Leukemia: Biology and Therapy, Houston, USA (Speaker. Abstract selected for “Top 3 Biology Abstracts”).
2015: 17th Annual John Goldman Conference on Chronic Myeloid Leukemia: Biology and Therapy, Estoril, Portugal (Speaker).
2014: 16th Annual John Goldman Conference on Chronic Myeloid Leukemia: Biology and Therapy, Philadelphia, USA (Speaker and Workshop convenor).
2013: Analysis of Autophagy Regulation: Discussion of recent research and new technologies, London, UK (Speaker).
2013: 2nd International Conference "Leukemia 2013", Genoa, Italy (Invited speaker – Special Lecture).
2012: Managed Clinical Network (MCN) meeting, Glasgow, UK (Speaker).
2012: ESH iCML 14th International Conference: Chronic Myeloid Leukemia – Biology and Therapy, Baltimore, USA (Workshop convenor).
2012: British Association for Cancer Research Special Meeting; Chasing Cancer Stem-like Cells, Harrogate, UK (Invited speaker).
2012: 1st Scottish Autophagy Workshop, Glasgow, UK (Speaker).
2012: BSH 52nd Annual Scientific Meeting, Glasgow, UK (Speaker).
2012: Autophagy workshop, Autophagy: An Emerging Therapeutic Target in Human Disease, Vancouver, Canada (Speaker).
2011: ESH iCML 13th International Conference: Chronic Myeloid Leukemia – Biology and Therapy, Estoril, Portugal (Speaker and Workshop convenor).
2010:ESH iCML 12th International Conference: Chronic Myeloid Leukemia – Biological Basis of Therapy, Washington, USA (Speaker).
2008: ESH 11th International Conference: Chronic Myeloid Leukemia – Biological Basis of Therapy, Boston, USA (Speaker).
Other Invited Oral Presentations
2019: University of Southampton Cancer Sciences Seminar, Southampton, UK.
2019:LifeArc, SBC Open Innovation Campus, Stevenage, London, UK.
2018:MRC Weatherall Institute of Molecular Medicine, Oxford, UK.
2018:Georg Speyer Haus, Frankfurt, Germany.
2018:CR-UK Beatson Institute Retreat at Crieff Hydro, Scotland.
2017:Imperial College/Hammersmith Hospital, London.
2014: ARIAD Pharmaceuticals, Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA.
Selected International Oral Presentation by Staff
2019: Keystone Symposia. Autophagy: From Model Systems to Therapeutic Opportunities, Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA.
- Abstract from my PhD student selected for short oral presentation.
2017:European Hematology Association (EHA). 22nd Congress of EHA, Madrid, Spain.
- Oral presentation by my Post-doc.
2016:58th American Society of Hematology (ASH) Annual Meeting, San Diego, USA.
- Oral presentation by my PhD student.
2016: European Institute of Oncology (IEO). Hematological Malignancies: From Mechanism to Therapy, Milan, Italy.
- Oral presentation by my PhD student.
Organisation of Scientific Meetings
2020Co-chair for a “Proteomics / Secretomics” workshop at the 22nd Annual John Goldman Conference on CML (Virtual Event). 1st-4th October 2020.
2019Chair and main organiser for the 2019 Annual Autophagy-UK Network Meeting
(> 100 participants). 21st-22nd May 2019 Glasgow, UK.
2019Scientific Committee Member for the 2019 Beatson International Cancer Conference.
30th June - 3rd July 2019 Glasgow, UK.
2018Session Chair, Stem Cells and the Microenvironment Scientific Session, 20th Annual John Goldman Conference on CML (>400 participants). Miami, USA
2015 -Member of the Autophagy-UK Network Meeting Steering Committee. UK.
2011 -Workshop Convener on three occasions at the Annual John Goldman Conference on CML (~100 participants each time). Europe/USA.
2013 -Journal Reviewer for >20 journals including:
Blood, Leukemia, Autophagy, Cell Death and Differentiation, Cell Death and Disease, Leukemia Research, Stem Cells, Cancer Research.
2013 -Grant Reviewer for Research Councils/Charities including:
Cancer Research UK, Medical Research Council (MRC), Wellcome Trust, European Haematology Association (EHA), Worldwide Cancer Research, Bloodwise, Leuka, Kay Kendall Leukaemia Fund (KKLF).
2014 -Fondazione Cariplo Grant Review Panel member (Biomedical research conducted by your researchers). Italy.
2018 -Local Scientific Advisory Committee (LSAC) member, Tenovus Scotland, UK.
2019 Expert reviewer of abstracts submitted under the topic “CML - Biology & Translational Research” for the 24th Congress of European Haematology Association (EHA).
2018 -Chair of GMO Safety Committee. Institute of Cancer Sciences, University of Glasgow.
(Member of the GMC Safety Committee since 2014).
2013 - MBChB Advisor of Studies (~20 students/year). University of Glasgow.
2013 -PhD examination as an internal and external examiner. Assessments for MSc/PhD students and Clinical Research Fellows. University of Glasgow.
2018 -Co-ordinator. MSc in Cancer Sciences: Hallmarks of Cancer. University of Glasgow.
Invited International Presentations
- 2013: Genoa, Italy - 2nd International Conference "Leukemia 2013" (Invited speaker Special lecture)
- 2013: London, England, UK - Analysis of Autophagy Regulation: Discussion of recent research and new technologies
- 2012: Glasgow, Scotland, UK - Manage Clinical Network (MCN) meeting
- 2012: Glasgow, Scotland, UK - BSH 52nd Annual Scientific Meeting
- 2012: Glasgow, Scotland, UK - 1st Scottish Autophagy Workshop
- 2012: Baltimore, Maryland, USA - ESH iCML 14th International Conference: Chronic Myeloid Leukemia – Biology and Therapy (Workshop Convener)
- 2012: Vancouver, BC, Canada - Autophagy workshop, Autophagy: an Emerging Therapeutic Target in Human Disease
- 2012: Harrogate, England, UK - British Association for Cancer Research Special Meeting; Chasing Cancer Stem-like Cells
- 2011: Estoril, Portugal - ESH iCML 13th International Conference: Chronic Myeloid Leukemia Biology and Therapy (Speaker and Workshop convenor)
- 2010: Washington, DC, USA - ESH iCML 12th International Conference: Chronic Myeloid Leukemia Biological Basis of Therapy
- 2008: Boston, Massachusetts, USA - ESH 11th International Conference: Chronic Myeloid Leukemia Biological Basis of Therapy