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2020 NIHR ACF PES UCL Platform Science and Bioinformatics



2020 NIHR Academic Clinical Fellowship in Priority Research Themes

HEE Local Office: North Central and East London
Medical School: University College London
Research Theme: Platform Science and Bioinformatics
Specialty Options: Haematology

Plain English Summary

Health informatics analysis of Clonal haematopoiesis of indeterminate potential (CHIP) in a longitudinal cohort of older individuals: Acquired genetic alterations (mutations) are common in DNA as we age. Recently mutations known to lead to development of leukaemias and related disorders have been found in the blood of normal patients at low levels – these occur with increasing frequency with age, occurring in up to 20% of persons in their 90’s. This has been called “clonal haematopoiesis” (CH). CH leads to an increased risk of blood cancers, however the absolute risk remains low. This project will analyse large numbers of older patients across over a decade to determine additional risk factors that may predict those at greatest risk. In addition the consequences of CH mutations will be studied alone and in combination to determine why they predispose to leukaemias. Finally CH also results in increased risk of cardiovascular disease and stroke highlighting the need to better understand the function of these mutations and factors which may reduce or increase the health risks associated with them.

Training and development:

UCLH has the largest Haematology clinical practice in the UK, led by senior clinical academics with internationally recognised programmes.  The ACF will be based in the Cancer Institute and will join a cohort of clinical academic trainees at various stages of their careers, including pre-, doctoral and post-doctoral fellows working on biological and translational aspects of blood cancers.  There is a weekly seminar programme where research staff present their work, institute seminars from world renowned investigators, as well as departmental clinical grand rounds. The fellow will be supervised by Dr Beth Payne, who holds an Advanced Clinician Scientist CRUK Fellowship, and will be mentored by Prof Kwee Yong, departmental academic programme lead.  They will be supervised to write applications for doctoral fellowship funding, with support at institute level in the form of interview practice and grant clinics.