Meet the Team

Professor. Sam Janes

Sam JanesProfessor Sam Janes was recruited to UCL as an MRC Clinician Scientist in 2005 and in 2010 he became a Wellcome Senior Fellow in Clinical Science. In 2012, he formed the Lungs for Living patient information and fund raising group based within UCLH Charitable Foundation and launched the Lungs for Living Research Centre focusing on researching early lung cancer and the role of stem cells in its formation and treatments.

His work examines two aspects of stem cell biology in relation to lung cancer. First the use of stem cells to deliver anti-cancer therapies. This work has led to the design of a phase I safety study in humans. Second, he examines the key signalling pathways involved in airway stem cell maintenance and how dysregulation leads to the early stages of cancer development. His important work has been recognised by anumber of international awards for his research team and the personal award of European Thoracic Oncology Investigator of the Year in 2010.

Professor Janes works as a Consultant in Respiratory Medicine with an interest in interventional bronchoscopy. He is Director of Lung Cancer for North Central and North East London (London Cancer) with the remit to diagnose lung cancer earlier, improve survival and patient experience.

 

Dr. Adam Giangreco

Adam GiangrecoDuring his PhD Dr. Giangreco along with supervisor Professor Barry Stripp published seminal work identifying multiple airway stem cell populations and determined that these likely function as the originating cells for lung cancer. From June 2004 to May 2009 working with Professor Fiona Watt at Cancer Research UK he studied the contribution of stem cells to aging and carcinogenesis. During this time he made several novel findings related to stem cells as well as the discovery that Tumour suppressor of lung cancer 1 (TSLC1) is an important regulator of wound repair and cell movement.

He currently runs a research group within the Lungs for Living Research Centre, the goal of his teams research is to increase our understanding of the fundame

ntalmechanisms driving lung cancer and lung regeneration. He hopes to exploit this knowledge in order to develop more effective treatments for repairing irreversibly damaged lungs.

 

Dr Jeremy George

Jeremy GeorgeDr Jeremy George was appointed consultant in respiratory medicine at UCL Hospitals in 1996.  His main subspecialty interests are in interventional bronchoscopy (laser resection, photodynamic therapy, airway stenting, endobronchial radiotherapy) and lung cancer.

He established a programme for the early detection of lung cancer over 10 years ago and has established the UK's largest cohort of patients with pre-invasive lung cancer. He is now a principal investigator for a CRUK funded trial evaluating lung cancer screening and surveillance in a high risk group (lung-SEARCH trial).

In collaboration with Mr Guri Sandhu at the Royal National Throat Nose and Ear Hospital, he is developing and refining techniques for treating complex strictures of the upper airways.

 

Dr. Neal Navani

Neal NavaniDr Neal Navani qualified in Medicine from Cambridge and UCL in 2000 with distinction. He trained in Respiratory Medicine at the Brompton and Hammersmith Hospitals before winning a prestigious Medical Research Council Fellowship in 2008 and completing his PhD at UCL in 2011. He has also completed an MSc in Clinical Trials at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. Dr Navani is a Consultant in Thoracic Medicine at University College London Hospital. He specialises in Respiratory disorders and has particular expertise in patients with lung cancer and bronchoscopy. He runs the regional Endobronchial Ultrasound (EBUS) service at UCLH.

Dr Navani runs several clinical trials on the diagnosis and staging of lung disease and bronchoscopic techniques. He holds honorary positions at the Medical Research Council Clinical Trials Unit and University College London. His research is patient focused and aims to improve the patient experience and outcomes. He has led the UK on endobronchial ultrasound research and has published key papers in the field in major international journals.

 

Bernadette Carroll

Bernadette CarrollBernie qualified as a registered nurse in 1981 and worked in general nursing, tropical nursing and travel medicine and more recently with the Thoracic team at University College Hospital. For the past 15 years she has been involved in research and has helped run clinical studies on expatriate post tropical screening, malaria chemoprophylaxis and travellers' diarrhoea vaccine studies. In 2007 she joined the Thoracic team as a research nurse for the longitudinal study of patients with pre-invasive lesions.  

Lungs for Living is a project at UCL Hospitals, supported and fundraised for, by UCLH Charitable Foundation. Read more about this partnership here.

 

 

 

ZhengQiang Yuan PhD

Yuan Portrait

As a Chinese scholar, I have been working on cancer research in UK for over 15 years. I came to UK in 2001 after my PhD study in Beijing China.  In the first 6 years I studied the role of viruses in the tumourigenesis of Equine species in University of Glasgow, followed by 3 years research on cancer cell migration and invasion in the Beatson Institute for Cancer Research in

Scotland. From February 2011 I came to University College London and started preclinical study exploring to harness Mesenchymal Stromal Cell (MSC) to deliver anti-cancer therapy for lungcancer treatment. Now the involved project has gone further to the next stage-phase I/II clinical trial, hopefully delivering a miracle to cancer patients not long in the future. Additionally I have been also interested in bionano technology. In the past a few years, I found MSCs could be engineered produce large amount of extracellular vesicles-exosomes loaded with anticancer protein/small RNAs. This is a very promising finding. Considering the stability and flexibility of bionano particle, one can expect its extensive application in cancer treatment and other disease intervention soon in the future.  

 

 

Leticia Bosshard-Carter

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I am a state registered biomedical scientist with 10 years experience in diagnostics and cancer clinical trials. I have worked a number of years in pathology laboratories in the NHS as a senior biomedical scientist, and more recently, I became involved with cancer clinical trials, developing targeted immunotherapies for Head and Neck cancer. I have joined the Lungs for Living team in 2015 , and my work consists in the derivation of primary cell lines, both from bronchoscopy samples from patients presenting with CIS (carcinoma -in-situ -  longitudinal study of patients with pre-invasive lesions ) and biopsies from patients enrolled in the TRACERx clinical trial (Tracking Cancer Evolution through Treatment (Rx) .

 

 

Kate Gowers 

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Dr Kate Gowers completed a B.Sc. in Biochemisty at the University of York before moving to London to undertake a Masters in Biomedical Research and then a PhD at Imperial College London. She completed her PhD in 2012, studying bone marrow stem cells in the laboratory of Professor Sara Rankin.

She joined Sam Janes' laboratory as a research associate in 2013 after gaining experience in scientific publishing as a copy editor at Nature Reviews Immunology. Kate's research focuses on how normal human airway epithelial cells are altered to become cancerous in the very earliest stages of lung squamous cell carcinoma. Kate is also part of the airway tissue regeneration team in Lungs for Living, which aims to develop techniques to allow epithelial cell delivery to tissue-engineered tracheal replacements.

 

 Dr Beth SageP4260022

Dr Beth Sage is an NIHR Academic Clinical Lecturer and Specialist Registrar in Respiratory Medicine in North West London.  She completed a degree in Physiological Sciences at Oxford University before going on to study Medicine and graduated from St George's Hospital Medical School in 2003.  In 2009 she was awarded and MRC Clinical Training Fellowship to undertake a PhD with Professor Sam Janes to develop a genetically modified cellular therapy for the treatment of malignant mesothelioma.  

On completion of her PhD she worked with Professor Janes and his team to secure funding from the MedicalResearch Council Developmental Pathway Funding Scheme to run a first in man clinical trial using genetically modified cell therapy for the treatment of metastatic lung cancer.  She is a co-investigator on the TACTICAL trial (Targeted stem Cells expressing TRAIL as a therapy for lung Cancer) which is due to start recruiting patients in 2017.  Her other research interest is to understand more about how stem cells behave when delivered to patients with cancer and their interaction with the immune system to improve the efficacy of future treatments.

 

Dr Vitor Teixeira P4260020

Dr Vitor Teixeira completed his BSc and MSc at the University of Coimbra, Portugal. In 2006 he obtained a doctoral fellowship from the Ministry for Science and Technology of Portugal and moved to Paris where he completed his PhD in 2009. During his PhD he identified and characterised new genes and genes-autoantibodies-environment interactions which contributed to a better understanding of Rheumatoid Arthritis disease mechanisms and lead to the identification of innovative clinical biomarkers for diagnostic procedures.

He joined Professor Sam Janes' Lungs for Living Research Centre in 2009 as a research associate. The aims of his research are to increase the understanding of pre-invasive lung cancer progression and to discover novel molecular mechanisms involved in carcinogenesis and field cancerization. He is now a Senior Research Associate and in 2015 he was awarded a Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation research grant.

 

Rob HyndsP4260017

Rob joined Lungs for Living in 2012 following his B.Sc. in Natural Sciences at Durham University. During his PhD, Rob developed methods to isolate human airway epithelial cells from patient biopsy samples and grow them in the lab. We're using these techniques to develop patient-specific drug testing assays to improve the development of drugs for respiratory diseases and as a candidate source of cells for tracheal tissue engineering, where restoration of airway barrier function is important to restore normal lung function following transplantation. In 2016, Rob joined Professor Charles Swanton's team at the Francis Crick Institute to investigate intratumor heterogeneity in primary cells derived from patients enrolled in the Tracking Cancer Evolution through Treatment (TRACERx) clinical trial.

 

Dr Angela BarrettP4270031

Dr Angela Barrett gained a BSc in Biochemistry before going on to complete a PhD in Professor Ian Zachary's Cardiovascular Biology and Medicine group at UCL. Her PhD studies examined key components of the signalling which controls the movement and adhesion of brain tumour cells. A result of this work was the discovery of a new signalling pathway critical for the migration and invasion of these cells.

Angela joined Professor Sam Janes' Lungs for Living Research Centre in 2016 as a research associate. She works with Dr Vitor Teixeira to find new molecular mechanisms involved in carcinogenesis and field cancerization, in order to increase the understanding how pre-invasive lesions progress to lung cancer. Her work is funded by a Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation research grant.

 

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Dr Laura Succony 

Dr Laura Succony is a Specialist Registrar in Respiratory Medicine.  She completed her medical degree at Southampton University, graduating in 2016.  Laura joined Lungs for Living in 2012 and spent a year developing her clinical lung cancer interest, through assisting with lung cancer clinics and obtaining skills in endobronchial ultrasound and interventional bronchoscopy.

Laura subsequently obtained funding from the Wellcome Trust to complete a PhD investigating the molecular changes associated with early lung cancer.

 

Dr. Yuki Ishii P4260025

Dr. Yuki Ishii obtained a PhD in Japan, studying induction of differentiation and apoptosis in leukemia using natural plant compounds. During her first postdoc (Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York) she discovered a combination treatment for hormonal receptor-positive breast cancer. This work led to a multicentre clinical trial.

She then worked on the drug resistance to tyrosin kinase inhibitors in chronic myelogenous leukemia at the Moores Cancer Center, University of California San Diego (UCSD). She also worked in Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research (UCSD) collaborating with chemists and yeast geneticists and found new drugs that lead to synthetic lethality in breast and ovarian cancer.

In 2016, Yuki joined Professor Samuel Janes' laboratory as a research associate. She is involved in the following projects: 1) Development of biomarkers and drugs for the treatment of malignant pleural mesothelioma, and 2) Investigating the mechanism of progression from pre-invasive to invasive lung cancer.

 

Dr Sandra Gomez LopezP4280034

 Sandra completed her PhD at the University of Cambridge, under the supervision of Professor Austin Smith, studying the transcriptional regulation of cell fate decisions in neural stem cells. During her postdoctoral work at the National Autonomous University of Mexico, and later at the University of California San Francisco, she examined the mechanisms involved in the maintenance of stem cells in the adult brain, and how their dysregulation may contribute to disease, including cancer. 

She joined the Lungs for Living Research Centre in 2016, as a research associate in the laboratory of Sam Janes. Sandra's research aims to get a better understanding of the cellular and molecular alterations implicated in the formation of pre-invasive lung lesions and their progression to invasive cancer.

 

Dr Neelu KumarP4260028

Neelu is a clinical PhD student in the Lungs for Living group. After completing medical training at Cambridge and Oxford Universities she embarked upon specialty training in Respiratory Medicine in North West London. In 2014 she was awarded a place on the UCL-Wellcome Clinical PhD programme and joined the Lungs for Living group to study thoracic cancers at a molecular level.

Neelu's project involves looking at new ways of targeting existing treatments in mesothelioma and other cancers. She is interested in understanding how genomic data can be used to target therapies to those patients most likely to respond and to develop synergistic treatments to improve outcomes for patients.

 

Zhi Zhou

After completing my bachelor degree in XiangYa School of Medicine, Central South University, China, I join this passionate and innovated team as a MRes student to continue my exploration about mechanism of onset, progression & deterioration and cure of cancer diseases. It is so amazing to witness results of our projects directly contribute to the clinical trial. Running and playing Chinese zither in spare time help me renew my neurons and make sure I can focus on every moment in the lab with abundant energy.   

 

Krishna Kalyan KolluriKrishna Kolluri 01

Dr Krishna Kolluri graduated in chemistry in India and came to the UK to do a Master of Science in pharmacology. He did a Master of Research in clinical and experimental medicine in UCL during which he developed interest in advanced therapies and secured a UCL grand challenges studentship to do a PhD in cell and gene therapy in Prof. Sam Janes' lab.

He is now working as a research associate on the TACTICAL clinical trial (Targeted stem Cells expressing TRAIL as a therapy for lung Cancer). He is involved in product manufacture, development of SOPs, study documentation and assisting in applications for approvals from regulatory agencies. His research interests include the identification of genomic biomarkers to specifically target TRAIL therapy to patients who it would benefit the most.

 

Nick HamiltonNick Hamilton 02 2

Nick Hamilton is a Specialist Registrar in Otorhinolaryngology and was awarded a three-year MRC Clinical Research Fellowship in 2013 to investigate methods of re-epithelialising airway constructs. He is currently pioneering the development of a respiratory epithelial sheet that can be used to reline a section of windpipe as part of an airway transplant. Other interests include the role of extracellular matrix proteins in airway cell behaviour, methods of cell delivery and techniques to tissue-engineer sections of larynx.

Nick graduated from Manchester University in 2006 with a degree in Medicine and a first class honours BSc in Neuroscience. He has been awarded funding from the Wellcome Trust as an undergraduate and gained a Royal College of Surgeons Research Fellowship during his postgraduate training before securing a three year funded post from the Medical Research Council. He has trained at the UK's leading complex airway centres including the National Centre for Airway Reconstruction and Great Ormond Street Hospital where he developed his interest in advanced tissue-engineering to address complex airway disease. 

 

Mamta RuparelUnnamed

Mamta completed medical school at Guys King's and St Thomas' and then undertook specialist training in Respiratory and General Internal Medicine in Cambridge and London. During this time, she developed a special interest in Lung Cancer and has subsequently embarked on a PhD in Lung Cancer Screening at UCL, under the supervision of Professor Samuel Janes. The main focus of her work is to study the optimum methods for implementation of lung cancer screening, specifically looking at aspects of lung cancer risk, the radiology of CT screening and informed decision making. 

 

Flore Lesage 

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Flore is a visiting PhD student in Biomedical Sciences from the University of Leuven, Belgium. Her research focuses on perinatal interventions for the modulation of lung development and,more specifically, for the prevention and/or reversal of pulmonary hypoplasia and bronchopulmonary dysplasia. In collaboration with the lab of Prof. Sam Janes she aims to optimize the isolation and expansion of pulmonary progenitors from the amniotic fluid and to explore the potential for a cell therapeutic approach for congenital lung disorders.

Dr Ricky Thakrar

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Dr Ricky Thakrar qualified in Medicine from Imperial College London and subsequently undertook specialist training in Respiratory and General Internal Medicine in North West London. In 2014, he embarked on a PhD in 'Advanced Diagnostic and Therapeutic Bronchoscopy' under the supervision of Professor Sam Janes.
Dr Thakrar currently helps to manage the bronchoscopy service at UCLH and his main interests are in interventional bronchoscopy (laser surgery, airway stenting, brachytherapy and photodynamic therapy). The main focus of his research is in bronchoscopic surveillance of patients at high risk for lung cancer and he will establish a CRUK-funded trial in photodynamic therapy treatment of early lung cancer.

Dr Fraser MillarP4280041

Fraser is currently an Academic Clinical Fellow working in the Lungs for Living research group. He studied Medicine at the University of Edinburgh and graduated in 2012, before moving to London to undertake postgraduate speciality training in Respiratory medicine.
Fraser's project involved looking at the cell intrinsic and environmental determinants of early cancer cell migration. He is currently applying for funding to undertake a PhD with the Lungs for Living research group.