Leadership Team

The Cancer Diagnosis Network+ is managed by a leadership team composed of 4 STFC champions drawn from across the STFC community who have led knowledge exchange projects in healthcare, 4 thematic leaders from NHS foundation trusts, an impact lead, CPD lead and network manager.

Dr Laura Harkness-Brennan

Principal Investigator and STFC Champion

Laura is a senior lecturer in nuclear physics at the University of Liverpool. She is an expert in developing techniques for gamma-ray spectroscopy and imaging, leading a talented and enthusiastic research team of PDRAs and PhD students. She has secured funding of ~£3M as PI over the past 5 years and has published research in using semicondutor sensors for diagnostic and dosimetric imaging systems. She has published a Morgan and Claypool book "An introduction to the physics of nuclear medicine" as part of the IOP Concise Physics Series and teaches university undergraduate and postgraudate modules in medical physics and nuclear physics.

Prof John Lees

Co-Investigator and STFC Champion

John is a Professor at the Space Research Centre , University of Leicester. He established the interdisciplinary Leicester BioImaging Unit, expanding his research in advanced sensors for astronomy to establish collaborations with the Life and Medical Sciences community. He has attacted >£3M in research funding and commercial contracts, been responsible for 4 patents and formed a spin-out company that was subsequently sold to a private investor. He has 116 published papers and has co-edited. a book "Gamma Cameras for Interventional and Intraoperative Imaging", CRC Press/Taylor & Francis Group.

Prof Val O'Shea

Co-Investigator and STFC Champion

Val is a Professor of Applied Physics at the University of Glasgow. He has been responsible for the design/build of detectors for ZEUS (DESY), ALEPH and ATLAS (both at CERN). He is a founding member of the Medipix Collaboration and is developing new applications for the use of photon counting techniques enabled by this technology. This counting capability underpins the ability to realise spectral X-ray imaging, which is the current focus of commercial development in this area. He has been supported by grant funding of >£5M for the development of detectors and readout of imaging systems.

Matt Wilson

Co-Investigator and STFC Champion

Matt is Group Leader of the Detector Development Group, STFC Rutherford Appleton Laboratory. He has over 10 years’ experience in developing and exploiting novel X-ray detectors, with over 50 publications. Matt has delivered CZT and scintillator based detector systems for a range of applications including material science, solar and astrophysics, security screening and medical imaging.

Dr Dimitra Darambara

Co-Investigator and Lead of Precision and Quantitative Imaging Theme

Dimitra is Senior Team Leader in Multimodality Molecular Imaging at the Institute of Cancer Research and the Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust. She leads the development of novel imaging techniques and instrumentation to identify, visualise and quantify molecular and cellular characteristics of cancer. She has established a translational research laboratory focusing on quantitative molecular imaging, including photon-counting multi-spectral X-ray imaging. She collaborates with detector and healthcare industries and has secured >£3M funding. She is a RAE Biomedical Engineering Panel member, elected member of the IEEE Nuclear and Medical Sciences Council, immediate past Chair of the IOP Medical Physics Group and will Chair the 2019 IEEE Medical Imaging Conference (MIC).

Prof Nandita deSouza

Co-Investigator and Lead of Early Diagnosis Theme

Nandita is the Lead Radiologist at the Institute of Cancer Research and the Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust. She is co-director of the Cancer Research UK Imaging Centre at ICR. Her expertise is MRI to improve diagnosis for cancer patients and the development of biomarkers. She pioneered endocavitary probes, which provide high quality images and metabolic profiles of cancer tissue, allowing for accurate and early diagnosis. She is a Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians and the Royal College of Radiologists and Vice-chair of the European Organisation for Research and Treatment of Cancer imaging group.

Dr John Fenwick

Co-Investigator and Lead of Data Science and Integrative Imaging Theme

John is the Head of Research Physics at the Clatterbridge Cancer Centre NHS Foundation Trust, and Senior Lecturer in Radiation Oncology at the University of Liverpool. He is a clinical scientist with expertise in physics applied to radiation oncology and cancer imaging. Highlights include toxicity analysis of the Royal Marsden's pilot trial of conformal radiotherapy; clinical implementation of prototype and production model Tomotherapy machines in Madison, WI; design of isotoxically dose-escalated radiotherapy schedules tested in several UK phase I/II studies; analysis of tracer kinetics in dynamic positron emission tomography (PET) scans, and of correlations between FDG kinetics and mRNA microarray data; and development of innovative image reconstruction techniques for 4D PET.

Prof Paul Marsden

Co-Investigator and Lead of Multimodality Imaging Theme

Paul is Professor of PET Physics at King's College London. He led the early development of combined PET and MRI multimodality imaging systems and his research interests include data acquisition and analysis methods for clinical and research PET studies. Much of this involves collaborating with clinicians and scientists in oncology, cardiology and neuropsychiatry. As Director of Medical Physics at Guy's and St Thomas' PET Centre Paul is familiar with the regulatory, logistical and technical issues associated with PET imaging. He is co-lead of the UK PET Core Lab and General Chair of the 2019 IEEE Nuclear Science Symposium and Medical Imaging Conference.

Dr Sarah Bugby

Co-Investigator and Impact Lead

Sarah completed her PhD in 2015 at the Department of Physics & Astronomy, University of Leicester. She then spent several years as a postdoctoral researcher, focusing on portable medical gamma imaging, detection of dual gamma-NIR tracers for cancer imaging and XRF imaging. Over this time, she has been able to take a new medical imaging device from bench testing to clinical pilot studies and now to commercial development. In 2018, Sarah became an STFC Innovation fellow within the Department of Physics & Astronomy, University of Leicester with a remit to translate core STFC-funded research in detectors and imaging systems to interdisciplinary areas. Her current research interests include intraoperative imaging, preclinical imaging techniques, semiconductor detectors for medical imaging and environmental monitoring. She is an elected member of the IOP Medical Physics Group committee.

Dr Helen Boston

Co-Investigator and CPD Lead

Helen obtained a PhD in experimental nuclear physics from the University of Liverpool, before completing a postdoc at TRIUMF, Canada researching super allowed beta decays and nuclear spectroscopy using the 8Pi and TIGRESS arrays. She returned to Liverpool to take up a position in the applied nuclear physics group leading research into novel detector designs for medical imaging and nuclear decommissioning. She is the Programme Director for the Clinical Science MSc degree programmes in Medical Physics and Bioinformatics (Physical Sciences) being delivered at the University of Liverpool as part of the Modernising Scientific Careers for the NHS Scientific Training Partnership under contract with Health Education England. This programme is delivered as part of the teaching partnership developed by Helen with staff from the Royal Liverpool University Hospital and Clatterbridge Cancer Centre. She is on the executive board for MAHSE, Manchester’s Academy for Healthcare Scientist Education, and is a member of the academic liaison group sharing good practice throughout the STP HEI partners in the UK. She is in the process of overhauling the Medical Physics curriculum in conjunction with the National School of Healthcare Science.

Steering Committee

Dr Craig Buckley is Head of Research and Innovation, Siemens Healthineers GB&I. He has held industry positions with Siemens Healthineers engineering, service management and various R&D roles with technical and scientific responsibility for Siemens clinical and research sites across Great Britain and Ireland, focussing on industrial partnerships. During this time he has been invited to sit on various advisory boards, has co-supervised industry/academic PhD projects and been the project lead for high value UKRI funded research programmes. He has previously held posts in academia, the last at the University of Cambridge.

Prof Freek Beekman is the founder and CEO of MILabs and head of Biomedical Imaging at Delft University of Technology. MILabs markets hybrid PET/SPECT/Optical/CT systems and has recieved a Frost & Sullivan Medical Product Innovation Award and World Molecular Imaging Society Innovation of the year award. He is a board member of the International Journal of Biomedical Imaging and of Physics in Medicine & Biology. He has over 150 peer reviewed publications.

Prof Sobhan Vinjamuri is Lead Consultant Physician in Nuclear Medicine at Royal Liverpool and Broadgreen University Hospital NHS Trust. He is an expert in diagnostic nuclear medicine and PET-CT, leading one of the largest nucleaar medicine departments in the UK. He is Clinical Audit Lead for his trust, 2016-2018 President of the British Nuclear Medicine Society and member of the NHS Clinical Diagnosis Clinical Reference Group.

Prof Terry Jones is the Director of the Liverpool Head and Neck Centre and leads the 100k Genome Head and Neck GeCIP. He co-founded the Mersey Head and Neck Oncology Research Group, which now comprises ~60 clinicians, scientists and students with >£15M research funding and >400 publications since 2007. He is a Professor of Head and Neck Surgery at the University of Liverpool and an Honorary NHS Head and Neck Surgeon at Aintree University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.

Dr Silvia Pani is a senior lecturer in Applied Radiation Physics at the University of Surrey, where she is the programme director for the MSc Medical Physics. She obtained her PhD in Physics from the University of Trieste (Italy) in 2001 with a dissertation on the use of synchrotron radiation for breast computed tomography, and was part of the team that developed the first facility in the world for in-vivo synchrotron mammography. She then worked at the Department of Medical Physics and Bioengineering at UCL with a Marie Curie Intra-European Fellowship, and under the Barts Cancer Institute at Queen Mary, University of London. Her research interest has always been the development of novel X-ray imaging modalities for applications ranging from diagnosis to baggage inspection, with a strong focus on the screening and early diagnosis of breast cancer.

Prof Brian Hutton is Professor of Medical Physics at the Institute of Nuclear Medicine, University College London. He is an international leader in quantitative emission tomography, medical image processing and tomographic processing. He was co-recipient of the Marie Sklodowska Curie Award for his contribution ot the development of iterative reconstruction and its application in healthcare. He pioneered an IAEA funded scheme for distance assisted training of Nuclear Medicine Technologiests, which has been adopted in Asia, Africa and Latin America.

Prof Dan Watts is a Professor in Nuclear Physics at the University of York, appointed as an Inspirational Reserach Leader. He was previously a Chair in Hadron and Nuclear Physics at the University of Edinburgh. He studies the fundmental structure of hadronic matter using intense electromagnetic beams. He has been translating his STFC expertise to develop novel techniques for next generation Positron Emission Tomography systems and new imaging methods in gamma and proton radiotherapy.

Mr Ian Radley is Chief Technical Officer at Kromek. He has a BSc in Applied Physics and Chemistry from Durham University and has over 40 years’ experience in the development of scientific instrumentation. He has recently overseen the development of 4D spectral-spatial CZT gamma detectors for diagnostic imaging systems including SPECT, bone mineral densitometry and colour photon-counting computed tomography CT.

Prof Mark McGurk is a Consultant Oral and Maxillofacial and Head and Neck Surgeon at University College Hospital and Founder of the Head and Neck Cancer Foundation. He is an expert in the early diagnosis of head and neck cancer having led a European trial in sentinel node biopsy, which has led to a 75% reduction in the need for surgery for tumours of the mouth. His work has changed the practice of Head and Neck cancer in the UK.

Dr Bjoern Seitz is a Senior Lecturer in Nuclear Physics at the University of Glasgow. He has research interests in revealing the spin structure of the nucleon and describing the nucleons internal structure in terms of Generalized Parton Distributions. He has pioneered new particle identification detectors for these experiments and is applying them in projects with medical physicists and biologists.

Katherine Hollinshead is 21st Century Challenges Programme Manager in UKRI-STFC. She manages a programme that seeks to ensure that STFC science and technology is harnessed to provide solutions to complex multidisciplinary challenges. A key aim is to enable STFC-funded researchers to engage with key stakeholders and challenges owners. Before working at STFC, she was Diversity Programme Leader at the Institute of Physics and worked at the Building Research Establishment and the Transport Research Laboratory, where she conducted research on detection, monitoring, prevention and repair of corrosion of reinforcement in concrete.

Patient Representative - To be appointed