Lab members

Adrian Biddle, PhD - Principal Investigator

Adrian is a group leader and lecturer in animal replacement science within the Centre for Cell Biology and Cutaneous Research at the Blizard Institute. His research interest is in non-genetic cellular heterogeneity in oral cancer, and the importance of such heterogeneity for tumour spread and therapeutic resistance.

Adrian obtained a BSc in Biochemistry from the University of Bristol, then spent a year working on lung cancer therapeutics at Dartmouth College, New Hampshire. Adrian performed his PhD with Professor Sir John Gurdon at Cambridge University, studying nuclear reprogramming in Xenopus laevis oocytes, and obtained his PhD in 2008. He then joined the Blizard Institute as a postdoctoral fellow working on cancer stem cells in oral cancer with Professor Ian Mackenzie. Adrian was awarded an NC3Rs David Sainsbury fellowship in 2012 and became a Principal Investigator in 2017. Adrian is the Animal Free Research UK lecturer in animal replacement science.

Adrian organises the London cancer and stem cell in vitro models club. If you are interested in joining the club mailing list, please get in contact.



Gehad Youssef, PhD - Postdoctoral Fellow

Gehad studies cancer stem cell heterogeneity in oral and breast cancer using 2D and 3D in vitro models. His current focus is on identifying plastic EMT stem cells in FFPE tissue, deriving these cells from patient biopsies and using machine learning to create a classifer to predict recurrence using protein expression derived from immunofluorescence staining.

Gehad obtained a BSc in molecular genetics from King's College London (KCL) then his masters (MRes in Biomedicine) at University College London (UCL) . Gehad then did his PhD at the UCL Great Ormond Street Institute of Child Health in the laboratory of Dr Ryan O'Shaughnessy to investigate signalling pathways in autosomal recessive congenital ichthyosis. Gehad also spend time in Professor John Anderson's laboratory working with Dr Ximena Montano to evaluate prognostic markers in neuroblastoma and at the UCL Cancer Institute investigating the role of DNA methyltransferases in embryonic stem cells. Gehad joined the Biddle lab in 2017.


  • Cancer stem cells
  • EMT and developmental plasticity
  • Machine learning and statistics
  • Drug resistance


Leah Palmer - PhD student

Leah is studying cancer stem cells in oral squamous cell carcinoma (OSCC). Accumulating evidence suggests that cancer stem cells drive the metastatic spread of tumours. Metastasis is considered to be the primary predictor of outcome in OSCC cases, and is an important factor in treatment decisions, but it is currently very difficult to predict which tumours will develop metastases. During Leah’s 3 year PhD project she aims to develop a test for metastatic cancer stem cells which would allow us to discriminate between tumours which are likely to spread and those that are not, allowing us to identify the highest risk patients and tailor their treatment accordingly.

Leah obtained a BSc in Biomedical sciences from the University of Kent, before studying for an MSc in Cancer, Molecular Pathology and Genomics at Queen Mary University of London. Leah then spent two years working on CAR-T therapies for rare childhood brain tumours at University college London, before starting her PhD in the Biddle lab.


Alice Scemama - PhD student

During Alice’s 3 year PhD project, she aims to develop a metastasis-on-a-chip model for oral squamous cell carcinoma. Through this model, Alice will study in 3D the interactions between cancer cells and endothelial cells. Furthermore, Alice aims to characterise the phenotypes of the cancer cells at the different stages of the metastasis process. In the future, Alice is looking to further develop her model by, for instance adding organoids into her device as well as immune cells to study their role in the metastasis process. Alice's project is a collaboration with

Alice obtained a BSc in Genetics from University College London before studying for an MSc in Applied Biosciences and Biotechnology at Imperial College London. Before starting her PhD at Queen Mary University of London, Alice worked for one year within Bayer UK’s oncology medical affairs department.

Anna Matusiewicz - intercalating BSc student

Project title: Investigating the environmental signals maintaining cancer stem cell identity.