Scientific Advisory Panel

The members of our Scientific Advisory Panel freely give their time and expertise to drive forward research in our fight against childhood cancer. The Panel meets at least four times a year to assess research grant applications, discuss developments in the field and take forward new initiatives.

Research into childhood cancer is a broad field and we aim to reflect the diversity of the field amongst the membership of our Panel. Tenure on the Panel is for three years; this may be extended for a further period of up to three years by mutual agreement. At the end of the tenure period, a Panel member will be invited to become a Scientific Advisor.

The Chair is usually appointed from within the Panel membership and is rotated on an annual basis. With the exception of the Chair, members of the Panel are eligible to apply for funding but, in accordance with our Conflict of Interest procedures, will be excluded from all discussions relating to their application.

In addition to the expertise of our Panel members, we draw on the expertise of hundreds of scientists and medics around the world as part of our rigorous peer review process for assessing research grant applications.

Professor Silvia Marino MD, FMH-Path (Chair)

Professor Silvia MarinoProfessor of Neuropathology and Honorary Consultant Neuropathologist, Blizard Institute, Barts and the London School of Medicine, Queen Mary University of London

Silvia Marino studied medicine at the University of Turin in Italy before training in neuropathology and histopathology in Zurich and molecular genetics in Amsterdam. She has led her own research group at the Blizard Institute in London since 2006.

Silvia brings great expertise in the biology of brain tumours. The aim of her group is to understand how biological properties of stem cells, such as self-renewal and differentiation, are controlled and how this knowledge can be applied to understand the molecular basis of diseases including brain cancer. She has published widely on medulloblastoma.

Silvia is the Vice President of the British Neuro-oncology Society (BNOS) and co-organiser of the Glioma Club.

Silvia has been a member of our Scientific Advisory Panel since April 2013 and was elected to the role of Chair in May 2016. Silvia is in receipt of a small grant from Children with Cancer UK, in support of the Glioma Club; this was awarded in 2014.

Dr Yann Jamin BSc (Hons), PhD

Dr Yann JaminPaul O’Gorman Postdoctoral Fellow, The Institute of Cancer Research

Yann undertook his PhD in the Clinical Magnetic Resonance Group at The Institute of Cancer Research, focused on the development of molecular imaging to monitor gene therapy for children with cancer.

He subsequently joined the Preclinical Imaging Team, using functional magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to identify and validate non-invasive biomarkers of response to novel cancer-targeted therapies.

He has contributed to the evaluation of more than 50 novel cancer therapies in genetically engineered mouse models of childhood neuroblastoma through his design of robust MRI-embedded preclinical trials. He has identified two non-invasive biomarkers of response to therapy, which are currently being evaluated in functional, imaging-driven clinical trials of new treatments for children with neuroblastoma at The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust.

His aim is to improve radiological diagnosis of neuroblastoma and other childhood cancers and accelerate the development of more effective, safer therapies for children with cancer. In May 2014 he was awarded a Paul O’Gorman Postdoctoral Research Fellowship by Children with Cancer UK, to help him to take forward these ambitions. Yann joined our Scientific Advisory Panel in April 2016.

Read more: Accelerating the delivery of personalised treatment to children with neuroblastoma using MRI

Professor Pamela Kearns MBChB, BSc (Hons), PhD, FRCPCH

Professor Pamela KearnsProfessor of Clinical Paediatric Oncology, School of Cancer Sciences, University of Birmingham; Honorary Consultant in Paediatric Oncology, Birmingham Children’s Hospital

Pam is one of the UK’s leading experts in childhood leukaemia.

She is Director of the Cancer Research UK Clinical Trials Unit, which is responsible for the national portfolio of clinical trials for children’s cancer and leukaemia delivered in the network of 21 UK referral centres for children with malignant diseases, as well as clinical trials with international collaborators across Europe.

She is also on the Executive Board of the European Society of Paediatric Oncology (SIOP-E), the Executive Board of the academic consortium 'Innovative Therapies for Children with Cancer' (ITCC), and Vice-Chair of SIOP-E’s European Clinical Research Council for paediatric and adolescent oncology.

Pam’s primary research interest is experimental therapeutics in childhood leukaemia focussed on refractory and relapsed leukaemia with the aim of developing innovative, targeted therapy. Her clinical research is focused on early phase trials for childhood leukaemias, and she has been the lead investigator for several national and international studies.

Pam joined our Scientific Advisory Panel in March 2015.

Dr Matthew Murray MB BChir, MA, FRCPCH, DCH, PGCME, PhD

Dr Matthew MurrayAcademic Consultant Paediatric Oncologist, Addenbrooke’s Hospital; University Lecturer, University of Cambridge

Matthew Murray is a childhood cancer specialist working at Addenbrooke's Hospital, managing children with all types of solid tumours in the East of England, as well as working closely with haematology colleagues in the management of children with leukaemia. He has a particular interest in germ cell tumours and is a member of the NCRI Children's Germ Cell Tumour Clinical Studies Subgroup.

His translational research programme involves the study of genetic changes in solid tumours of childhood, with a focus on germ cell tumours. He has identified that the same genetic changes seen in germ cell tumours may also be found in the bloodstream at the time of diagnosis, offering the potential to improve the accuracy of diagnosis.

Matthew also has an interest in the late effects of cancer treatment. In addition, he has a special interest in Medical Education and has completed a Postgraduate Certificate of Medical Education.

Matthew joined our Scientific Advisory Panel in June 2015. He currently holds a project grant from Children with Cancer UK, awarded in June 2014.

Read more: Targeting short pieces of genetic code to treat malignant germ cell tumours

Charles Stiller

Charles StillerLead on Childhood Cancer, National Cancer Intelligence Network, Public Health England

Charles is one of the UK’s leading authorities on the epidemiology and registration of childhood cancer.

He is the Lead on Childhood Cancer with the National Cancer Intelligence Network, Public Health England, and is a long-standing member of the Children's Cancer and Leukaemia Group and of Teenagers and Young Adults with Cancer. 

Charles was for many years Senior Research Fellow and Director of the National Registry of Childhood Tumours in the Childhood Cancer Research Group at the University of Oxford, until the Group’s closure in 2014.

He has published widely on the epidemiology of childhood cancer and is a collaborator on international studies using cancer registry data, including CONCORD-2 (worldwide population-based study of cancer survival), EUROCARE (population-based cancer survival in Europe), International Incidence of Childhood Cancer and the Automated Childhood Cancer Information System. 

Charles is also Lecturer in Statistics at New College, Oxford.

Professor David Walker BMedSci, BM, BS, FRCP, FRCPCH

Professor David WalkerProfessor of Paediatric Oncology, Children’s Brain Tumour Research Centre, University of Nottingham; Honorary Consultant in Paediatric Oncology, Nottingham Children’s Hospital (QMC Campus NUH NHS Trust)

David Walker is one of the UK’s leading experts in childhood cancer, with a special interest in brain tumours.

He initiated and directed the development of the Children's Brain Tumour Research Centre in Nottingham in response to the desperate need for an improvement in the diagnosis and subsequent treatment of brain tumours in children.

David is an expert in the clinical factors affecting diagnostic factors in brain tumours and he initiated the Brain Pathways project, which developed the clinical referral guidance for children with symptoms and signs of a brain tumour. This guidance is the focus of a public and professional awareness campaign, called HeadSmart: be brain tumour aware.

He has previously been involved in leading clinical trials in children's brain tumours in the UK and Europe, and is a member of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Brain Tumours. He is also an elected member of the Europe Board of the International Society for Paediatric Oncology (SIOPe), representing professional and scientific views related to children and young people’s cancer in Europe.

David is the immediate past Chair of our Scientific Advisory Panel (until May 2016). He was President of the British Neuro-oncology Society (BNOS) from 2013 to 2015

Dr Owen Williams BSc (Hons), PhD

Dr Owen WilliamsReader in Cancer Biology and Head of Cancer Section, UCL Institute of Child Health and Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children NHS Trust

Owen is an expert in leukaemia/haematology models and drug repositioning.

He joined the UCL Institute of Child Health in 2000 and his research group has focussed on the generation and study of experimental models for molecularly defined subtypes of childhood leukaemia.

The aim of his research is to understand how particular cancer genes alter the function of normal blood cells, transforming them into leukaemia, and use this knowledge to develop novel therapies. He is particularly interested in using the experimental models generated by his group in drug repositioning studies. This approach aims to identify drugs, currently used to treat patients with unrelated disorders, that have hitherto unappreciated anti-leukaemia activities.

Owen joined the Panel in April 2016. He is receipt of a current project grant from Children with Cancer UK, awarded in June 2014.

Read more: Developing models to test new drug treatments for childhood leukaemia

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