My expertise is in the integration of basic science and clinical research in the context of translational medicine, particularly with regard to the development of Precision Medicine. The focus of my research is disease diagnostics and I have established collaborations with many clinical groups.
I have been developing a number of novel enabling technologies for precision medicine research including Sequential Window All Theoretical fragment ion mass spectrometry (SWATH-MS) for disease characterisation, diagnostics and archiving. This is the underpinning technology in the Stoller Biomarker Discovery Centre. SWATH MS, compared to techniques it will replace, can be compared to single nucleotide polymorphism analysis replacement by whole genome sequencing. Unique to SWATH MS is the rapid generation, in a single measurement, of a complete permanent recording of all the detectable components in a biological sample. Such SWATH MS maps are, due to the novelty of the technique, a technological resource that will harbour undiscovered biomarkers, and hence represent an invaluable resource.
I have developed this technique for the production of SWATH maps from precious biobank serum samples establishing permanent proteomic records that support iterative biomarker discovery and personalized proteome phenotyping. The maps are easily stored in silico, shared and cross compared (a further resource for the wider research community). The integration of quantitative outputs from proteomics into rigorous statistical models for pre-clinical and clinical trial design, clinical prediction and latent endotype models is then possible distinguishing markers associated with specific diseases, pinpointing areas of the map which support the diagnostic outcomes and allowing assessment of proteins and pathways that are affected and how this may relate to genomic or other data.
This technique is leading the field and is the future for the application of mass spectrometry to translational/precision medicine.
I am applying my expertise to research directed at improving the quality of life of ovarian cancer patients, through early detection of the disease. Within this context I lead the Manchester PROMISE project (Predicting Risk of Ovarian Malignancies, Improved Screening and Early Detection), a £3.1 million programme funded jointly by the Eve appeal and CRUK. I have built collaborative partnerships that allow me access to The UKCTOCS (United Kingdom Collaborative Trial of Ovarian Cancer Screening), a £26 million MRC and CRUK funded project. This is a biobank, which contains over 500,000 serum samples from 202,000 women from the general population all carefully followed up for over 10 years. The intention is to accelerate the translation of my research into clinical application to deliver improved outcomes for ovarian cancer patients.