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. As well as expanding the main Panel, we are also recruiting a second tier of Scientific Advisors to provide additional expertise in specialist areas.

In addition, 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 David Walker BMedSci, BM, BS, FRCP, FRCPCH (Chair)

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 President of the British Neuro-oncology Society (BNOS).

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.

Professor Silvia Marino MD, FMH-Path

Silvia Marino Professor 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.

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.

Dr Murray 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.

Professor Geoffrey Pilkington BSc PhD CBiol FSB FRCPath

Professor Geoff PilkingtonProfessor of Cellular and Molecular Neuro-oncology, University of Portsmouth

Geoff has more than 40 years’ experience in brain tumour research. He has published a wealth of scientific papers, sits on multiple scientific advisory and editorial boards and has lectured on brain tumours throughout the world.

Geoff’s laboratories at the University of Portsmouth represent the Brain Tumour Research flagship centre for dedicated brain tumour research, boasting state-of-the-art neuro-oncology research facilities including a microscope imaging suite and a brand new molecular laboratory.

Geoff established the South of England Brain Tumour Alliance (SEBTA) to facilitate the sharing of expertise, information and resources between seven regional bases with a strong interest and involvement in diagnosis, treatment and research in neuro-oncology.

He is past President of the British Neuro-oncology Society (BNOS) and an Executive Board Member of the European Association for Neuro-oncology.

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.

Scientific Advisors

Our Scientific Advisors mainly consist of former members of our Scientific Advisory Panel. They are not routinely involved in the assessment of grant applications but provide a further tier of specialist knowledge we can call on when required.

Professor Jillian Birch BSc, PhD

Jill BirchProfessor of Cancer Studies and Director, CRUK Paediatric and Familial Cancer Research Group, University of Manchester

Jill Birch is involved in the development of research programmes on cancer in children, teenagers and young adults at the national and international level. She is recognised as the national leader in the epidemiology of cancers in teenagers and young adults and has gained international recognition in the field..

Jill is also an established world authority in the study of the incidence and patterns of cancer and congenital anomalies in the families of children with cancer and is participating in international collaborations on childhood leukaemias and brain tumours. Jill is a member of a number of national and international committees and working groups on cancer in young people. Among these, she is a major contributor to the UK Childhood Cancer Study (UKCCS) and the Children’s Leukemia International Consortium (CLIC. She is also member of the NCRI Teenage and Young Adult Clinical Studies Group and the International Working Group on Adolescent/ Teenage and Young Adult Oncology

Dr Peter Nunn BSc, PhD

Dr Peter NunnHonorary Senior Lecturer in Cellular and Molecular Medicine, University of Portsmouth
From a diverse background in bacteriology, nutrition, chemistry, mammalian physiology and biochemistry, Peter’s research has concentrated on environmental chemicals, especially those of dietary origin, that are implicated as causative factors in neurodegenerative diseases.

A member of the Biochemical Society, he is a past member of the Medical Research Advisory Panel, Motor Neurone Disease Association (UK) and the Third World Medical Research Foundation (USA).  Presently he is a member of the Scientific Advisory Board of the Institute for Ethnomedicine (USA).  

Current research concerns the causes of the complex neurodegenerative diseases on the island of Guam, and other sites in the western Pacific, and upper motor neuron diseases related to nutritional factors in parts of Africa and the Indian sub-continent. Peter also has a research interest in artificial sweeteners and their reported link to leukaemia risk.

Dr Malcolm Taylor PhD, MRCPCH, FRCPath

Dr Malcolm TaylorRecently retired as Reader in Cancer Immunogenetics and Child Health in the School of Cancer at the University of Manchester, Malcolm maintains active collaborations with colleagues at the University and in other Universities in the UK and overseas.

His primary interests focus on the role of host immune response genes in the causation, therapy and prevention of childhood leukaemia and Hodgkin lymphoma and he is in receipt of a collaborative grant from Children with Cancer UK to develop an anti-leukaemic vaccine as an adjunct to conventional therapy and as a preventative option.

Malcolm is an active full member of the American Association for Cancer Research, the UK Childhood Cancer Study research committee, and the Childhood Leukemia International Consortium.

He is also an editorial board member of Cancer Immunology and Immunotherapy and Cancer Epidemiology and undertakes peer reviews for several international journals and funding bodies.

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