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Cancer research cluster

Our mission is to improve cancer care for all. We work with experts from a diverse range of disciplines, including technology, science, engineering and psychology. We work alongside NHS professionals, Government, patients and their families, from the very young, to the very old. When we work together, we create innovative ways of being diagnosed quicker and living well, with and beyond cancer. Our work helps optimise cancer outcomes and impacts positively on experiences of care.

Research interests

Evidence shows that people with cancer have unmet needs, particularly at the point of diagnosis, end of treatment and longer term. Whilst some people feel well, others are struggling with the consequences of cancer treatment, creating a burden of illness that impacts on quality of life, patient outcomes and family life. Early diagnosis is considered a cornerstone of improving cancer survival- and is importantly related to improved patient experience and quality of life.

Our work focuses on changing the way we diagnose and support people with cancer – and families managing cancer – in order to meet increasing demands and care needs. We work across the age span and disease course - from diagnosis to survivorship and palliative care.

Research areas

  • Early diagnosis
  • Inequalities in cancer outcomes (individually and intersectionally)
  • Cancer as a chronic condition
  • Influence of cancer treatment on people, informal carers, parents, siblings and other family members. Specific interests include:
    • Symptom assessment and management
    • Psychological support needs
    • Decision-making
    • Multi-morbidity
    • Survivorship
    • End-of-life care.
  • Patient reported outcome and experience measures
  • Optimising teamwork and patient care
  • Digital health/connected health, supportive technologies and web-based programmes to support mental and physical health for people with cancer.

Research methodologies

  • Participant co-design
  • Mixed methods
  • Development and evaluation of complex interventions
  • Film technologies
  • Creative arts based approaches.
  • Research Priority Setting Partnerships
  • Questionnaire design and validation approaches
  • Data linkage, statistical and machine learning

Areas of interest for doctoral study

We welcome approaches from people wishing to undertake postgraduate research with us. We particularly welcome enquiries in the following areas:

  • Prevention and early diagnosis
  • Supportive care and innovations
  • Cancer in children, teenagers and young adults
  • Digital health.

Please contact Freda Mold ( and Jenny Harris (, our postgraduate research directors, if you are considering postgraduate research.

Current PhD research 

  • The psychosocial needs of siblings when a brother or sister is diagnosed with cancer (Zoe Polly; supervised by Faith Gibson and Anna Cox)
  • Understanding breast cancer screening uptake among women of Black African descent in the UK- Individual and socio-cultural factors (Anietie Aliu; supervised by Afrodita Marcu and Robert Kerrison).
  • How, why, for whom and in which contexts does telemedicine work to meet the routine follow-up consultation needs of people with malignant and non-malignant haemato-oncological disorders? (Michelle Kenyon; supervised by Emma Ream and Cath Taylor).
  • Understanding socioeconomic differences in breast cancer outcomes (Mar Estupiñán Fdez. de Mesa; supervised by Katriina Whitaker, Emma Ream and Afrodita Marcu).
  • Improving supportive care during immunotherapy: co-design of a patient reported outcome measure to assess adverse events in people with renal and melanoma cancers (Alexandra Pritchard; supervised by Jo Armes and Jenny Harris).
  • Adaptation and pilot testing of the Registered Nursing Forecasting (RN4CAST) nurse survey for use in the ambulatory chemotherapy setting (Zhuming Bao; supervised by Jo Armes and Jenny Harris).
  • Improving predictive validity of tumour markers in pancreatic cancer: Developing and validating predictive models using a large United Kingdom primary care database (Claire Price; supervised by Agnieszka Lemanska, Nadia Smith (National Physics Laboratory) and Debbie Cooke).
  • Data-driven solutions to improving pancreatic cancer diagnosis. Developing and piloting a primary care intervention (Hugh Claridge, supervised by Agnieszka Lemanska, Spencer Thomas),
  • Data-driven solutions to address healthcare inequalities of prostate cancer in the United Kingdom using routinely collected primary care data (Gayasha Somathilake; supervised by Agnieszka Lemanska, Sotiris Moschoiyannis and Elizabeth Ford (Brighton and Sussex Medical School)
  • Improving early cancer diagnosis for people with learning disabilities. (Natalie Gil; supervised by Robert Kerrison, Anna Cox and Katriina Whitaker)
  • Investigating the influence of early diagnosis on psychological adjustment in cancer survivorship (Laura Boswell; supervised by Katriina Whitaker, Jenny Harris, Jo Armes, and Georgia Black (Queen Mary University of London)

Publication highlights


Cluster lead

Katriina Whitaker profile image

Professor Katriina Whitaker

Professor of Psychology and Lead for Cancer Care

Cluster members

Susie Aldiss profile image

Susie Aldiss

Research Fellow (Child Health)

Anne Arber profile image

Dr Anne Arber

Visiting Reader in Cancer and Palliative Care

Jo Armes profile image

Professor Jo Armes

Professor of Cancer Care and Lead for Digital Health

David Bartlett profile image

Dr David Bartlett

Senior Lecturer of Exercise Immunology

Laura Boswell profile image

Laura Boswell

Postgraduate Research Student

David Brighton

Lecturer, (adult nursing)

Gemma Bryan profile image

Dr Gemma Bryan

Research Fellow

Jane Cockle-Hearne profile image

Jane Cockle Hearne

Research Fellow

Melaine Coward profile image

Professor Melaine Coward

Head of the School of Health Sciences

Christos Dadousis profile image

Dr Christos Dadousis

Research Fellow in Health and Biomedical Informatics Research Group

Mar Estupiñán Fdez. de Mesa profile image

Mar Estupiñan Fernandez De Mesa

Postgraduate Research Student (PhDc)

Sara Faithfull profile image

Professor Sara Faithfull

Visiting Professor of Cancer Nursing Practice, Lead for Clinical Innovation

Faith Gibson profile image

Professor Faith Gibson

Professor of Child Health and Cancer Care

Jenny Harris profile image

Dr Jenny Harris

Senior Lecturer in Cancer Care and Health Statistics

Chris Jacobs profile image

Dr Chris Jacobs

Associate Professor, Genetic and Genomic Counselling

Robert Kerrison profile image

Dr Robert Kerrison

Senior Lecturer and Co-Lead for Cancer Care

Agnieszka Lemanska profile image

Dr Agnieszka Lemanska

Senior Lecturer in Health Data Science

Afrodita Marcu profile image

Dr Afrodita Marcu

Research Fellow (RA II)

Jackie McBride profile image

Jackie McBride

Associate Professor in Integrated Care, Head of Professional Preparation within Integrated Care

Alexandra Pritchard

Postgraduate Research Student

Emma Ream profile image

Professor Emma Ream

Professor, Director of Health Sciences Research

Dr Katie Sutton

Research Fellow