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Our Principal Investigators

Professor Margaret Ashcroft – Principal Investigator

Margaret is Professor of Hypoxia Signalling and Cell Biology at The University of Cambridge, working primarily in the Department of Medicine. With over 20 years of experience in discovering and characterising novel molecular mechanisms of hypoxia signalling, she heads the Ashcroft Laboratory’s goal to understand the key cellular mechanisms involved in oxygen sensing and hypoxia signalling in mammalian cells.

With a particular interest in the hypoxia-inducible factor (HIF) family of transcription factors and their role in cancer, renal disease and cardiovascular disease, Margaret’s group was the first to discover the role of CHCHD4 (MIA40) in controlling intracellular oxygenation and hypoxia signalling in cancer. Their key research aims include evaluating hypoxia/HIF signalling regulators (particularly the link between mitochondria and cellular oxygen-sensing machinery), investigating key mammalian cellular mechanisms regulating hypoxia/HIF signalling and their mechanistic links to disease, and identifying and developing strategies to exploit them therapeutically. 

Margaret holds a BSc in Pharmacology and a PhD in Molecular and Cellular Biology from the University of Bristol, and was awarded fellowship of the Royal Society of Biology in 2011. Margaret was also awarded an honorary membership of the Royal College of Radiologists in 2015.

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Dr. Harveer Dev - Clinical Lecturer

Harveer is a CRUK Clinical Lecturer in the Early Detection Programme and an Honorary Specialty Registrar in Urology. With a particular interest in genome stability and prostate cancer, his research aims to improve understanding of therapeutic-vulnerability pathways of cancerous gene mutations and their relationship to disease progression, treatment response and clinical drug resistance, seeking ultimately to identify and stratify patients to individualised therapies at earlier stages of disease.

Harveer holds a Medical Degree and PhD in Biochemistry from the University of Cambridge, as well as an MSc in Surgical Sciences from the University of Edinburgh. After completing an Academic Surgery Foundation Programme there, Harveer became a NIKR Academic Clinical Fellow for the Cambridge University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust and a Clinical Doctoral Fellow of the Wellcome Trust/Cancer Research UK Gurdon Institute before he was appointed Honorary Speciality Registrar in Urology in 2005. 

A Fulbright Scholar at Harvard Medical School’s Department of Radiation Oncology from 2015 to 2016, Harveer was appointed CRUK Clinical Lecturer in April 2020.

Professor Tim Eisen - Professor of Medical Oncology

Tim is a Professor of Medical Oncology at The University of Cambridge and Vice President of Roche Home Institute. His research focuses primarily on renal cell carcinoma, with a particular interest in the curative treatment of localised disease and the development of novel therapies. With broad experience at senior levels of academia, clinical practice, industry and the charity sector, he is especially interested in bridging the interface between them.

Tim trained at the Royal Marsden Hospital and took up the Chair of Medical Oncology in 2006, gaining industry experience as Vice President of AstraZenica from 2014. His major research achievements include the first study of a BRAF inhibitor in melanoma, identification of genetic risk factors for lung cancer, and development of VEGFR receptor inhibitors as a new standard of care for patients with renal cell carcinoma. In 2019, Tim was elected a Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences. 

Working closely with several patient support charities, Tim has led the Macmillan Cancer Support Advisory Board for ten years and became a trustee in 2006. A keen fitness enthusiast outside of work, he credits his biggest gains to having to carry his young daughter and her ‘injured foot’ up and down mountains while holidaying in Austria!

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Dr. James Jones - NIHR Academic Clinical Lecturer in Medical Oncology

James is an Academic Clinical Fellow and Lecturer based at the Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and the MRC Cancer Unit.  With a particular interest in how the body’s response to a tumour influences cancer progression, his research investigates how a tumour’s microenvironment influences treatment efficacy, aiming to inform optimally-tailored treatment choices and improved therapies for the future.

Dividing his time between the clinic and the lab, James investigates the role of neutrophil extracellular traps in cancer progression as part of Dr Jacqui Shields’ laboratory. He is involved in a number of projects related to kidney cancer and was awarded a clinical Lectureship in Medical Oncology in early 2020. Prior to taking up his clinical fellowship, James also studied Crohn’s disease as an Academic Foundation Trainee in Professor Arthur Kaer’s lab.  

Alongside his Medical Degree, James also holds a PhD from the University of Cambridge, where he demonstrated the role of cancer-associated fibroblasts in protecting cancerous pancreatic tumours from the immune system. Outside of work, he’s set his sights on climbing all of Scotland's Munro mountains, all over 3,000 feet high. With 20 already under his belt, he ‘only’ has another 260 to go!

In memory of Dr Charlie Massie

Charlie was a Group Leader based at the Department of Oncology, University of Cambridge. Charlie was an inaugural group leader within the Cambridge Early Detection Programme, now the Early Cancer Institute. His particular research interests included cell-free DNA epigenetics, early cancer detection and data-driven insights into disease biology.


Before becoming Group Leader, Charlie worked as a Senior Research Associate at the CRUK Cambridge Institute, where he focused on the non-invasive genomics analysis of cancer using circulating-tumour DNA. As well as a BSc in Biochemistry and a PhD in Oncology, Charlie had a wealth of postdoctoral experience in functional genomics, cancer genomics, UK Prostate ICGC and liquid biopsy work.


Charlie passed away in May 2023, he will be greatly missed by colleagues in the UM Programme. His work is being continued by Dr Harveer Dev.

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