About me:I completed my PhD at Cambridge University and then obtained a post-doctoral fellowship within the Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics (DCEG) at the National Cancer Institute (NCI), National Institutes of Health (NIH) in the United States. After two years of post-doctoral research, I was awarded a research fellowship and shortly after became a tenure-track investigator at NCI. I spent 11 years at NCI before moving back to the UK to Imperial College London. At Imperial, I have two research groups, one in the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics within the School of Public Health and one in the Division of Surgery within the Department of Surgery and Cancer.

My main research interests focus on the aetiology, prevention and early detection of gastrointestinal malignancies.

What is this project about?  I was awarded a three-year project grant from Cancer Research UK to investigate the aetiology of oesophageal and gastric cancers. These malignancies have a poor survival rate and their aetiology is largely unclear and understudied. Observational evidence suggests that these tumours may be linked to variation in endocrinologic pathways; for example, both oesophageal and gastric cancer are more common in men, while obesity, which is frequently accompanied by metabolic and hormonal abnormalities such as hyperinsulinemia, is positively associated with oesophageal adenocarcinoma and gastric cardia cancer.

The aim of this study is to investigate hormones and hormone-related factors in relation to oesophageal and gastric cancers by prospectively examining lifestyle, behavioural and biochemical data. Firstly, we will investigate questionnaire-based anthropometric and reproductive factors in relation to oesophageal and gastric cancer by subtype and subsite. Secondly, we will examine serum levels of sex hormones, appetite/digestive hormones, and markers of metabolic health in relation these malignancies.

How does this project align with the rest of our research?This study has direct translational potential by using the data generated to identify specific risk factors that can be used to identify individuals who would most benefit from interventions and more targeted screening and surveillance programs. Other components of our research include investigating similar pathways for colorectal cancer, as well as investigating screening and early detection of this cancer.