Richard Gallon

Evolution and how it shapes biological systems fascinates me, and has fuelled my interest in human genetics and its application to healthcare and disease, in particular cancer.

My PhD at Newcastle University (UK) assessed novel biomarkers and tests to detect mismatch repair deficient colorectal cancer, and associated cancer predisposition syndromes. Under the supervision of Professor Sir John Burn, Dr Mike Jackson and Dr Mauro Santibanez-Koref, I developed a sequencing-based microsatellite instability (MSI) assay suitable for high throughput cancer diagnostics and Lynch syndrome screening. In collaboration with Dr Katharina Wimmer (Medical University Innsbruck), I adapted the assay to detect low-level microsatellite instability in non-neoplastic tissues of patients with Constitutional Mismatch Repair Deficiency (CMMRD). Working with Dr Matthias Kloor and Dr Aysel Ahadova (Heidelberg University Hospital), I also explored antibodies as serological biomarkers for the early detection of mismatch repair deficient colorectal cancer, and analysed the multiple pathways of colorectal tumorigenesis in Lynch syndrome.

I am currently in my first year as Research Associate with the same team, funded by a Cancer Research UK Catalyst Award. We are continuing to develop our MSI assay through deployment into local clinical service and at the Medical University of Innsbruck, and commercialisation with Cancer Research UK Commercial Partnerships.

With new and established collaborators, I am currently initiating a number of projects to explore how daily aspirin intake and the immune system can both prevent and shape colorectal tumorigenesis, and to better characterise the frequency of CMMRD among paediatric cancer patients.