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Dan is a CRUK Clinical Research Training Fellow who started his DPhil in 2018.

Research project title: “Ex-vivo human pancreatic cancer avatars; establishing a platform to evaluate chemotherapeutic sensitivity.”

  • Dan’s research focuses on establishing a novel system to keep pancreatic tumour alive following surgical resection. He has been creating patient derived pancreatic cancer avatars.
  • Maintaining tumour viability in the ex-vivo setting provides a unique opportunity to study both the tumour and associated microenvironment in detail. It also serves as a platform where a drug screen can be undertaken in order to evaluate the tumour’s responsiveness to chemotherapy.
  • The aim is to move away from the concept of a set chemotherapy regime for all patients, to selecting specific therapies based on the individual’s own tumour biology

On a personal note: Dan enjoys playing the guitar, reading and hiking. He has recently become a father to Tomas so his leisure time is very hectic looking after the little one.

Best thing about this department: A distinctive feature of the Department of Oncology is the diversity of the research that is being conducted. There is a variety of different research themes and numerous opportunities to learn from others, there are high levels of interaction between clinicians and scientists that supports a meaningful translational impact. 

Overcoming the pandemic: Dan’s research uses primary human tumours for study and he was unable to obtain any further human tumours for a significant time period during the pandemic. Dan used the time to write up various aspects of his thesis, publish a systematic review and learn research skills such as bioinformatic analysis.   

 Top tip: Dan recommends that any prospective student should try and spend some time in the group’s lab before starting their course. It is a great opportunity to get to know the other members of the team and to gain an understanding of the different research projects undertaken.