Group Leaders

Early Cancer Institute Group Leaders

Dr Jamie Blundell

Jamie trained as a theoretical physicist at the Cavendish laboratory, University of Cambridge with Eugene Terentjev studying the statistical physics of polymers. He moved to Stanford in 2012 as a postdoctoral scholar working on the dynamics of clonal evolution. He joined the CRUK Cambridge Centre Early Detection Programme in July 2017 and was awarded a UKRI Future leaders fellowship in September 2019 which funds much of his group’s research. His research interests lie in quantitatively understanding somatic evolution in human tissues and using this understanding to detect cancer earlier. He is also the Anthony L. Lyster fellow at Queens’ College, Cambridge.

Clonal evolution in early cancer
Find out more about Jamie Blundell’s lab and his group.

Dr Harveer Dev

Harveer graduated with a BA(Hons) in Natural Sciences (2008) and an MB BChir (2011) from the University of Cambridge, before completing his basic surgical training at Addenbrooke’s Hospital. He developed his research interest in the role of DNA repair in cancer as a Fulbright Scholar at the Dana- Farber Cancer Institute (Boston, USA), and as a Wellcome Trust Doctoral fellow at the Gurdon Institute (Cambridge, UK). He is currently a CRUK Academic Clinical Lecturer in early cancer detection at the University of Cambridge, and Prostate Cancer Foundation Young Investigator (2021).

Personalising DDA treatment for prostate cancer
Harveer Dev’s lab explores mechanisms of genome instability in early stage prostate cancer.

Professor Rebecca Fitzgerald

Rebecca Fitzgerald MD FMedSci EMBO is Professor of Cancer Prevention, Director of the Early Cancer Institute and a Fellow at Trinity College, University of Cambridge. She practices medicine as Hon Consultant in Gastroenterology at Cambridge University Hospitals Trust. Her research group investigates the steps in malignant transformation in the oesophagus and stomach and uses this information to develop novel early detection strategies. Her work to develop the Cytosponge and related biomarker assays for detection and stratification of Barrett's oesophagus has received several awards including the Westminster Medal, Jane Wardle and Don Listwin prizes.

Malignant transformation in the oesophagus and stomach
Find out more about the Fitzgerald Lab
Find out more about the Cytosponge
Professor Fitzgerald interviewed in CAM; the extraordinary story of the Cytosponge

Dr Charlie Massie

Dr Charlie Massie studied Biochemistry at Heriot-Watt University and went on to complete a PhD in Oncology at the University of Cambridge. Since then he has worked on a number of research projects at the Sanger Institute and the CRUK Cambridge Institute. While working in Dr Nitzan Rosenfeld's group he became interested in testing whether DNA methylation analysis could be applied to circulating tumour DNA (ctDNA) in blood and urine to detect prostate cancer. In 2017 he joined the CRUK Cambridge Centre Early Detection Programme as a group leader. He holds a CRUK Career Development Fellowship.

Charlie is using his bioinformatics and cancer genomics experience to develop tests that will distinguish at an early stage potentially lethal prostate cancer and benign or indolent lesions.

Molecular informatics in uro-oncology
Find out more about Charlie Massie's uro-oncology early detection lab

Dr Daniel Muñoz-Espín

Daniel Muñoz-Espín studied Biology and Molecular Biology at the Autonomous University of Madrid in Spain, where he also completed his PhD within the Viral DNA Replication Group at the Centre of Molecular Biology Severo Ochoa (CMBSO). He was awarded an I3P Fellowship followed by a Spanish National Research Council Fellowship to conduct postdoctoral research on DNA replication. He then moved to the Spanish National Cancer Research Centre (CNIO) to Dr Manuel Serrano’s group, where his productive work culminated with two awarded grants.

In 2016, Daniel joined the CRUK Cambridge Centre Early Detection Programme as a Principal Investigator. Dr Muñoz-Espín is Co-Director of the CRUK Cambridge Centre Thoracic Cancer Programme, member of the Cambridge Philosophical Society and member of the International Cellular Senescence Association Steering Committee.

Understanding and targeting cellular senescence
Find out more about the Muñoz-Espín lab and the CRUK Cambridge Centre Thoracic Cancer Programme

Dr Serena Nik-Zainal

Serena is a CRUK Advanced Clinician Scientist and an Honorary Consultant in Clinical Genetics. Since her PhD in 2009, during which she uncovered genome-wide mutational signatures in breast cancer using whole genome sequencing, Serena has continued to develop particular expertise in the analysis and interpretation of whole genome sequenced tumours. Serena now leads a growing and diverse team of researchers, clinicians, students and software developers devoted to studying mutational signatures and their implications in cancer, combining computational approaches with experimental and cancer data. She has a Research Professorship at the National Institute for Health Research and has received a number of awards for her outstanding contribution to science including the Josef Steiner Cancer Research Award, the Foulkes Foundation Academy of Medical Sciences Medal and the Francis Crick Medal and Lecture.

Mutagenesis and cellular resilience
Find out more about Serena's Mutagenesis in Medicine team
Watch Professor Serena Nik-Zainal explaining the significance of her recent study which uncovered new clues to the causes of cancer by analysing whole-genome sequences of more than 12,000 NHS cancer patients.

Dr Mona Shehata

Dr Mona Shehata obtained her BSc (Hons) and PhD at the University of Sydney, Australia. She is now the Krishnan-Ang Research Fellow at the Early Cancer Institute, University of Cambridge, where her group is working on breast cancer biology. Her research focuses on understanding the dynamics of normal breast stem and progenitor cells and how errors in these cells lead to breast cancer. They use patient derived organoid models to make ‘mini-breasts’, which recapitulate many aspects of normal breast tissue.

Understanding cell fate in breast cancer
Find out more on her CRUK Cambridge Centre personal page