Dr. Sarah Welsh - Programme Lead
Sarah is a Consultant in Medical Oncology with particular expertise in translational clinical trials and the use of immunotherapies in cancer, including drug combination trials, new small molecule and antibody therapies, management of toxicities relating to immunotherapy agents, development of pharmocodynamic and predictive biomarkers and novel clinical trials designs including Bayesian/ adaptive approaches. She has been joint Programme Lead in the Urological Malignancies Programme since the beginning of 2020. As well as her role as Principal Investigator on a number of academic and industry-sponsored clinical trials, Sarah is Chair of the Immunotoxicity Working Group, deputy Chair of the Oncology Clinic Management Group, a member of the Cambridge Renal Cancer Network, and leads the translational studies of a number of Cambridge-led clinical trials in Renal Cancer, Melanoma and Immunotoxicity.
With a special interest in the management of immunotherapy-induced toxicities, Sarah has published over 40 peer-reviewed publications relating to cancer and its management and secured almost £500,000 of grant funding – most notably the MRC Clinical Academic Research Partnership Grant for the development and validation of a ‘humanised’ mouse model for renal cancer. After early clinical training in London at Imperial and University College London Hospitals, she was ranked #1 in the UK for entry into Medical Oncology training and completed her Medical Oncology training at the Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Trust, whilst also being awarded an Academic Clinical Lectureship at University of Cambridge. Her research program focused on exploiting novel pathways for the development of anti-cancer agents - particularly in renal cancer - and was based at Professor John Griffiths’ laboratory at the CRUK Cambridge Institute. In 2015 she undertook a further Fellowship at the Melanoma Institute Australia in Sydney to specialise in Melanoma and the role of the immune system in response to anti-cancer agents, focusing primarily on immunotherapies.
Sarah holds a degree in Biochemistry from the University of Birmingham and in Medicine from the University of Oxford, as well as a PhD in Biochemistry on ‘Mechanisms of response and resistance to anti-cancer agents’ from the Institute of Cancer Research, London. She undertook a Postdoctoral Fellowship in the USA, developing novel inhibitors for treatment of cancer at the Arizona Cancer Center, before returning to the UK for her medical degree at Oxford where she was awarded a prestigious Foulkes Foundation Fellowship.
Professor Grant Stewart - Programme Lead
Grant is an academic surgeon at the University of Cambridge with a broad and impactful portfolio of translational research and a particular interest in optimising early detection and management of patients with initially localised renal cell cancer. He has been joint Programme lead of the Urological Malignancies Programme since early 2020, following his appointment as Professor of Surgical Oncology at the University of Cambridge. With over 150 peer reviewed publications and £52 million in research grants and clinical trial income, he is a global leader in renal cell cancer research and coordinates the a group of over 40 clinicians, translational researchers and basic scientists across the Cambridge Biomedical Campus with a shared interest in renal cell cancer research (CamRenCan). Clinically, Grant provides all modes of treatment for kidney cancer, from major open surgery to robotic minimally invasive approaches.
Grant has a particular interest in the early detection and screening for kidney cancer, as well as peri-surgical systemic therapy to optimise survival (see the NAXIVA, RAMPART and WIRE clinical trials), and has developed a raft of interconnected clinical trials and translational research underpinned by clinical excellence in renal cancer at Addenbrooke’s Hospital, Cambridge. These include feasibility trials, multi-arm multi-stage designed, CTIMPs, spanning an impressive range of methodologies with a view to identifying and developing novel diagnostic and therapeutic approaches to renal cell cancer. Large-scale patient sampling and bio-banking has allowed him to develop multiple translational approaches and workstreams alongside these clinical trials, including work on DNA methylation, circulating tumour DNA, transcriptional regulation and dynamic metabolism assessment of tumour environments. He recently established in the UK the European Active Surveillance of Renal Cell Carcinoma Study to determine the natural history of small renal cancers.
Prior to moving to Cambridge University, Grant was Senior Lecturer in Urological Surgery at the University of Edinburgh, where he led the Edinburgh Urological Cancer Group and developed and still co-directs the Scottish Collaboration on Translational Research into Renal Cell Cancer (SCOTRRCC) - a Scotland-wide kidney-cancer bio-repository of 1200 patients with high-quality clinical-data linkage. He also chairs the Scientific and Education Committee of The Urology Foundation, is a member of the Clinical Expert Review Panel of Cancer Research UK and is Chief Investigator for several renal-cancer clinical trials. Grant is a trustee of The Urology Foundation and Kidney Cancer UK, he is a section Editor of the British Journal of Urology International, member of Association of Academic European Urologists and Fellow of Selwyn College, Cambridge. Outside of his busy professional life, he is a keen golfer as well as an impressive athlete, having represented Scotland in cross-country in 1997 and 1998 and in the World Mountain Running Championships on four occasions between 1995 and 2008.
Dr. Sarah Burge - Programme Manager
Sarah is responsible for the overall management of the Urological Malignancies Programme Manager, and has a particular interest in nucleic acids and informatics. Having graduated with an MSc in Chemistry from Imperial College and a PhD in Biophysics from the University of London, Sarah went on to secure an MRC Career Development Fellowship at the Centre for Protein Engineering. This was followed by a period working in scientific databases at the European Bioinformatics Institute (EMBL-EBI) and three years’ experience running the Rfam RNA database team at the Welcome Trust Sanger Institute. Before joining the Urological Maligancies programme in 2019, Sarah also worked on the epigenetics of trophoblast development at the Babraham Institute. Her quick-fire precision is also reflected outside of work where she holds a full motorbike licence, and puts it to excellent use riding and owning everything from a 1911 Triumph to a Ducati track bike.
Ruby Cross - Research Nurse
Ruby Cross is responsible for the day-to-day co-ordination of patient care and research data, and has a particular interest in public health, microbiology and diagnostics. Having completed an undergraduate degree in Medical Sciences at the University of Leeds, Ruby went on to achieve a post-graduate diploma in adult nursing at the University of York and subsequently worked as a Staff Nurse there in the teaching hospital. As well as her time as a Research Nurse in the Infectious Disease and Microbiology department of Leeds Teaching hospital, Ruby also has direct experience working in a microbiology laboratory. She is also a seasoned traveller with a passion for exploration, having globe-trotted her way to an impressive 34 countries so far.
Lauren Wallis - Research Assistant
Lauren Wallis is responsible for supporting the day-to-day management of research studies, and has a passion for understanding the link between science and medicine and translating underlying disease mechanisms into personalised treatments. Lauren completed a BSc in Biological Sciences at Bournemouth University and went on to gain an MSc in Genomic Medicine at St George’s University of London, focusing on novel genetic identification of a rare disease phenotype similar to Walker-Warburg Syndrome (WWS). In addition to her time as a community carer for elderly and vulnerable adults, Lauren has previously worked as a Research Assistant at Circadian Therapeutics. She has also been a regular blood donor since she was 18, and is now approaching her 16th donation.
Carley Batley - Administration and Communications Assistant
Carley is responsible for supporting the day-to-day running of the department. She graduated with a BA in History from Leeds Metropolitan University, as well as an MA in Social and Cultural History from the University of Leeds after winning a Beresford Scholarship. She also holds a PGCE qualification in Secondary History from Leeds Trinity University - where she was a departmental award-winner - and has previously worked in Admin and Communications for the Minnesota Nurses Association before coming to Cambridge. Outside of work, Carley runs an arts events business and is an avid reader, devouring at least one new book a week for the past six years.
Farhana Easita - Research Assistant
Farhana is responsible for supporting the day-to-day management of research studies. She is particularly interested in immunology; as an undergraduate she completed a four-month project in an immunology lab focusing on innate lymphoid cells and T cell biology. Farhana graduated from the University of Birmingham in 2019 with a BSc in Biomedical Science. Before joining the Urological Malignancies programme, she worked in the BRC Phenotyping Hub providing laboratory and flow cytometry services to group across the Biomedical Campus. Farhana describes herself as a "jack of all trades" when it comes to crafts; she's mastered knitting, baking, painting, polymer clay models and loves a bit of DIY.
Angela Pusha-Rajah - YKST Project Manager
Angela is responsible for managing the Yorkshire Kidney Screening Trial run with the University of Leeds. She has a BSc in Molecular Medicine and Medical Biochemistry. Angela also has a PGCE (Postgraduate Certificate in Education) and taught high school maths and science. Angela has over 14 years of experience in clinical trials in different medical specialities. Outside of work, Angela enjoys making things from baking a decent gluten free loaf to jewellery design and silversmithing.