Executive Committee and Trustees
Dr Renata Walewska, Bournemouth (Chair)
Dr Renata Walewska has been a consultant haematologist at the Royal Bournemouth Hospital since 2010. She qualified in Sheffield and completed her specialist haematology training in Leicester where also she completed a PhD in identifying and characterising novel markers in CLL. She has been an active member of the UK CLL Forum and is part of the writing committee that recently updated the national BSH CLL guidelines, since March 2019 she is chairing UK CLL Forum.
Dr Walewska is an invited clinical advisor to the Evidence Review Group for NICE appraisals. In addition to CLL, she has developed an interest in Splenic Marginal Zone Lymphoma. She is a member of the NCRI CLL Low Grade NHL subgroup and also collaborates internationally with colleagues developing trials in SMZL. She remains active in scientific research and holds an honorary contract with Southampton University.
I am a self-confessed carb addict; however, strict abstinence from carbs and eating home-cooked meals stopped my food obsession. I cycle to work and everywhere I can regardless the weather; I like a challenge: 18 months ago started rowing in a sweep, and this year I am working on sculling and practising inversions in yoga (I have a long way to go).
Dr Piers Patten, London (Secretary)
Dr Piers Patten, FRCP FRCPath PhD
Clinical Senior Lecturer, King’s College London
Consultant Haematologist King’s College and Guy’s and St Thomas’ Hospitals, London
Dr Piers Patten is Clinical Senior Lecturer at King’s College London (KCL) and Consultant Haematologist at King’s Health Partners, incorporating King’s College (KCH) and Guy’s and St Thomas’ Hospitals (GSTT). He qualified from Bristol Univeristy in 1997, and undertook his Haematology training in London between 2000 and 2008. This included his Blood Cancer UK funded Clinical Training Fellowship resulting in a successful PhD investigating the microenvironment of CLL. This work was chosen as the winner of the inaugural CLL Catovsky in 2006.
Between 2009 and 2013, he undertook a Blood Cancer UK-funded Post-Doctoral Visiting Fellowship at the Feinstein Institute of Medical Research, New York, USA. Both periods of research resulted in his long term interest in the CLL/lymphoma tumour microenvironment. He recently obtained an MRC-funded Clinical Academic Research Partnership award, a programme designed to foster ongoing and future cross-seeding of clinical and academic biomedical translational research.
Dr Patten leads the King’s Health Partners CLL service, is Secretary for the UK CLL Forum and is actively involved in the NCRI CLL and low grade clinical studies subgroups. As part of this, he contributes to national and local guidelines and NICE technology appraisals on behalf of the forum. He undertakes an extensive clinical research portfolio in CLL/lymphoma trials at KHP which run alongside his laboratory research at KCL (https://kclpure.kcl.ac.uk/portal/en/persons/piers-patten(a8eb971c-0d00-45be-b66c-399f2d56d40e).html). In addition, he is highly engaged with and committed to training and education for students, trainees, allied health professionals, fellow consultants, scientists and patients at local, regional and national level.
Dr Nilima Parry-Jones, Abergavenny (Treasurer)
Dr Nilima Parry-Jones is a Consultant Haematologist at Aneurin Bevan University Health Board, where she subspecialises in Lymphoma and CLL. She graduated in Medicine from University College, London in 1992, and completed specialist haematology training in London, completing her MD thesis on mantle cell lymphoma presenting with leukaemia at the Institute of Cancer Research/Royal Marsden. She is the chair of the haemato-oncology guidelines taskforce of the British Society for Haematology, and current treasurer of UK CLL Forum.
Professor Jonathan Strefford, Southampton
As a Professor of Cancer Genomics, and an Honorary NHS Clinical Scientist, my research is translational and spans genomic screening, diagnostic methods as well as molecular mechanisms. My focus is on the application of massively parallel sequencing approaches to dissect the human genome and its epigenetic regulation. We then exploit these findings to develop novel biomarkers that help predict the disease course in cancer patients.
My research focuses on the study of a number of mature B-cell neoplasm, in particular chronic lymphocytic leukaemia (CLL) and splenic marginal zone lymphoma (SMZL) and to a lesser extent follicular (FL) and diffuse large b-cell lymphoma (DLBCL).. The research projects coordinated by Professor Strefford runs from biomarker discover, using a plethora of genomics approaches, to biomarker validation employing large international patient cohorts, to functional analysis, employing in vitro and in vivo model systems.
Dr Ingo Ringshausen, Cambridge (Website Co-Ordinator)
Dr John Riches, London (Website Co-Ordinator, Paper of the Month – Clinical)
Dr John Riches is a consultant haemato-oncologist at Barts Health NHS Trust in London specialising in CLL and lymphoma. He studied medicine at Oxford University and undertook haematology training at Imperial College, London, becoming a fellow of the Royal College of Pathologists in 2015. He is also a Senior Lecturer at Barts Cancer Institute where he leads a research group investigating CLL and lymphoma metabolism
Dr Sunil Iyengar, London (NICE/NHS England)
Dr Sunil Iyengar is a consultant haematologist working at Royal Marsden Hospital and Institute of Cancer Research. He qualified at Bangalore Medical College and University in 2001 before undertaking haematology training at University College Hospital London, being awarded FRCPath in 2009. Dr Iyengar was awarded a PhD based on research into PI3 kinase signalling in Mantle cell lymphoma and won the Royal College of Pathologists medal for research in 2014. He was appointed as a Consultant Haematologist and honorary lecturer in 2014. He is a member of the UK NCRI CLL subgroup and lead for rare leukaemias.
Dr Toby Eyre, Oxford (Twitter)
Dr Toby Eyre is a consultant haematologist at Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust specialising in the management of lymphoid malignancies. He trained at the University of Bristol and qualified in 2006 before undertaking Haematology training in Oxford and being awared FRCPath in 2016. He has completed an MD Doctorate Thesis in early phase trials and biomarker studies in aggressive lymphoid disease in 2017. He completed his haematology training in the Oxford deanery between 2010 and 2017. He is an investigator on a number of national UK lymphoma and chronic lymphocytic leukaemia trials and has published over 80 peer-review articles on areas of lymphoma and CLL and has presented regularly at national and international conferences.
He is a core member of the low grade lymphoma and elderly high grade lymphoma NCRI clinical studies group and a member of the BSCH guideline writing groups for various lymphoid subtypes. He is a member of the BSH Haemato-Oncology Task Force.
He also has a strong interest in teaching and training and has completed a post-graduate Diploma in Medical Education.
Professor Tanja Stankovic, Birmingham (Paper of the Month – Scientific)
Professor Tatjana Stankovic is a Professor in Cancer Genetics.
Professor Tatjana Stankovic has published over 90 research papers in high impact scientific journals as well as reviews in the fields of cancer genetics and DNA damage response. She has received grants from the Bloodwise (previously Leukaemia Research Fund, Cancer Research UK, Kay Kendall Leukaemia Fund, and CLIC.
She is an enthusiastic advocator of translational cancer research and gives frequent talks at both national and international meetings.
Mrs Lianne Palmer, Oxford (Nurse Liaison)
Ms Helen Knight, Nottingham (Nurse Liaison)
Professor Adrian Bloor, Manchester (NICE/NHS England)
Professor Adrian Bloor MA MB BChir PhD FRCP FRCPath
Adrian trained in Haematology at Cambridge University and University College Hospital in London before moving to Manchester in 2006 to take up a Consultant post in Haemato-Oncology. He has a special interest in the management of Lymphoid Malignancies (CLL and Lymphoma), Cellular Therapies, Stem Cell Transplantation and in Clinical Trials and is a Director of the Christie Stem Cell Transplant Program. He is Principle or Chief Investigator for a large number of trials in Haemato-Oncology and Stem Cell Transplantation and is a member of the NCRI CLL Clinical Trials Committee, the Blood and Stem Cell Transplantation Clinical Reference Group (NHS England) the Leeds CLL Trials Management Group, the UK CLL Forum Executive Committee and Medical Advisory Panels to the Lymphoma Association and Bloodwise.
Professor Peter Hillmen, Leeds (Senior Advisory Group)
Professor Andrea Pepper, Brighton (Charity Commission)
Andrea is a Reader and laboratory-based research scientist who runs the leukaemia and lymphoma research team at Brighton and Sussex Medical School (BSMS) alongside her husband Prof. Chris Pepper and Dr Simon Mitchell. She originally trained as a Biomedical scientist at St. Thomas’s hospital in London and then at King’s College Hospital. In 1996 she moved to King’s College London University as a research scientist and completed her PhD on AML in 1999. Since then she has worked predominately on CLL but also follicular lymphoma and lately, AML again. In 2017 she moved to BSMS where the research team is rapidly expanding following grant awards from the MRC, Blood cancer UK, Sussex Cancer Fund, UKRI and Leukaemia UK. She works closely with fellow executive committee member Dr. Roz Johnston.
Exercise, current, goals for future, ambitions: I workout 5 x per week with a variety of exercise including running, circuit training, pilates and spin classes.
Reading/listening/watching habits: I mainly like watching sport. I watch my daughter play hockey and watch football, rugby and cricket on TV.
What do I eat: I try to eat healthily. My husband Chris is an amazing cook so I feel I eat posh restaurant quality food on a daily basis!
Stress busting activities: work outs and wine…… but not together!
What I would like to do and not doing now: I would like to cycle more, I have a bike but don’t use it as often as I would like.
Other interesting facts about me. I love sewing (particularly making curtains and cushions) and also decorating and finding lots of DIY jobs for Chris!
Professor Andrew Pettitt, Liverpool (Senior Advisory Group)
Professor Andrew Pettitt studied Medicine at the University of Cambridge (1983-1989) before taking up clinical training posts in Internal Medicine (Nottingham, 1990-1992) and Haematology (Liverpool, 1992-2000), during which time he completed a PhD on drug resistance in chronic lymphocytic leukaemia (CLL).
In 2000, he was appointed as Clinical Senior Lecturer in Haematology at the University of Liverpool, with subsequent promotion to Reader (2004), Personal Chair (2006) and Ronald Finn Professor of Experimental Medicine (2013). University leadership roles include Head of Department of Molecular and Clinical Cancer Medicine (2011-2020) and Chair of the Clinical Trials Oversight Committee (from 2018).
Andrew is an Honorary Consultant Haemato-oncologist and Associate Medical Director (from 2020) at The Clatterbridge Cancer Centre NHS Foundation Trust, as well as Director of the Liverpool Health Partners Cancer Programme (from 2019) and inaugural Director of the Liverpool Cancer Research Institute.
At national level, Andrew is Chair of the National Cancer Research Institute (NCRI) Lymphoma Research Group (from 2017), having previously chaired the NCRI Haematological Oncology Clinical Studies Group (2012-2017) and UK CLL Forum (2006-2012). He also represents the UK in the European Lymphoma Institute (from 2019).
Dr Rosalynd Johnston (Real World Data)
Dr Helen McCarthy, Bournemouth (Real World Data, Pharma Liaison)
Dr Helen Marr, Newcastle
Dr Helen Marr is a Consultant Haematologist working at the Freeman Hospital in Newcastle upon Tyne. She trained at the University of Nottingham and qualified in 2002. She worked as a haematology registrar in Christchurch, New Zealand from 2006 to 2008 before going on to complete her specialty haematology training in the Northern Deanery in 2016. She was awarded her FRCPath in 2012 and was awarded a PhD into the role of CD38 in IRF4 transcription in CLL in 2015. Having completed her specialty training, Dr Marr worked as a Trials Fellow at the Freeman Hospital for 18 months, as a sub investigator on early and late phase malignant haematology trials. She was appointed as a Consultant in December 2017. She is the Chair of the Regional North of Tyne Haematology MDT.
Dr Hilary Lindsay (Chair of the CLL Support Association)
Hilary studied statistics at University College London before qualifying as a chartered accountant. Her mid-career MBA at the Open University led on to further research into continuing professional development and lifelong learning and her Doctorate in Education studies resulted in a learning framework now used by doctoral researchers at the OU.
She has held various senior roles in the accountancy profession including being President of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales in 2016-17 – the first academic and second woman in 140 years to hold the role. Hilary was diagnosed with CLL in 2009, in a blood test before a knee replacement operation (see possible causes below!), and is fortunate enough to still be on active monitoring.
Hilary found the CLL Support webinars invaluable during lockdown, when she also shared her CLL diagnosis beyond her immediate family. She responded to a request for more Trustees and didn’t run quickly enough when they were looking for a new Chair. She is settling into the role, made easy by her fantastic team of patient-led Trustees including Vice-Chair John Greensmyth, and is finding her particular involvement in the STATIC and UnCoVer Plus trials both fascinating and rewarding.
Sport and exercise have always played an important part in Hilary’s life. Early cricket, hockey and rock climbing turned into squash in her mid-thirties and to running (including several marathons) in her fifties. Her new knee then restricted her and husband Colin to walking which peaked (literally) with Wainwright’s Coast to Coast walk in 2017 and now includes regular trips to water their allotment. Colin and Hilary have been involved with Northampton Samaritans for over twenty-five years.
Dr Alison Michie, Glasgow (Joint Scientific Secretary)
Dr Alison M. Michie
Reader in Molecular Lymphopoiesis, Institute of Cancer Sciences, University of Glasgow.
Alison graduated with a PhD in Biochemistry from the University of Glasgow, before being awarded a post-doctoral fellowship from Cancer Research Institute to study at the University of Toronto. The award of an MRC Career Development Award enabled Alison to return to the University of Glasgow to start her independent research group investigating the molecular events that regulate lymphocyte lineage commitment and development. During the course of her studies Alison established that subversion of PKC signalling acts as an oncogenic trigger in B lymphocytes, resulting in the development of CLL in vitro and in vivo. This finding resulted in a change in focus for her research group from lymphocyte development towards translational CLL research and in 2005, Alison established the Molecular Lymphopoiesis group within Institute of Cancer Sciences. The main focus of Alison’s research is to determine the cellular and molecular mechanisms that underlie the initiation and progression of CLL, with a view to identifying novel targets for therapeutic intervention: the CLL-like mouse model offers great potential for translational research, resembling a model of progressive CLL which, combined with studies involving CLL patient samples, provides a cohesive translational platform to enable characterisation of novel targets/therapies.
Dr Alan Ramsay, London (Joint Scientific Secretary/Facebook)
Dr. Alan G. Ramsay is a Senior PI at King’s College London leading a research group (Lymphoma Immunology) focusing on translational research. His work has characterized tumour cell-induced T cell immune evasion mechanisms in CLL/lymphoma and translated bench science to clinical trials with immunotherapy. Current projects are modeling and studying immunosuppressive tumour microenvironment (TME) stromal cells in order to gain knowledge for optimising future immunotherapy-based treatments for patients. Previous Fellowships have included a European Hematology Association (EHA) grant at Barts Cancer Institute and a British Society of Haematology (BSH) award at King’s.
Professor Ulf Klein, Leeds (Joint Scientific Secretary)
Dr Klein is Professor of Immunology and Haemato-oncology at the Leeds Institute of Medical Research at St. James’s, School of Medicine, University of Leeds. He has been working on the molecular basis of B-cell development and lymphomagenesis throughout his career. He obtained his PhD at the University of Cologne in 1998, before moving to Columbia University, New York, for postdoctoral research. In 2009, he established his own lab at Columbia University, where he was promoted to Associate Professor with tenure in 2016. Dr Klein joined the University of Leeds in 2017, where he continues his work on elucidating the oncogenic mechanisms that cause malignant transformation of B cells. https://medicinehealth.leeds.ac.uk/medicine/staff/517/professor-ulf-klein
Dr Feargal McNicholl, Northern Ireland
Dr Alison McCaig, Glasgow
Dr Alison McCaig is a consultant haematologist at the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital, Glasgow, where she has a specialist interest in chronic lymphocytic leukaemia and lymphoma. She trained at the University of Edinburgh Medical School and qualified in 2000, before undertaking haematology training in the West of Scotland, being awarded FRCPath in 2011. During her Haematology specialist training, Dr McCaig completed a PhD research programme investigating novel therapeutic approaches for chronic lymphocytic leukaemia, at the Paul O’Gorman Leukaemia Research Laboratory, University of Glasgow. In her clinical practice, Dr McCaig has been a local principal investigator for several CLL clinical trials in addition to maintaining her academic interests.
Dr Helen Parry, Birmingham (Real World Data/NICE)
Dr Helen Parry completed her undergraduate training with honours at the University of Birmingham. She was awarded an MSc (Dist) in 2005 and subsequently in 2016 completed a Wellcome PhD fellowship researching viral responses and secondary immunodeficiency in patients with CLL. During her PhD she spent time at Mayo Clinic, studying the role of cytomegalovirus in CLL. Since 2016, she has been an NIHR clinical lecturer in Haematology at the University of Birmingham and Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Birmingham. Her main areas of research are secondary immunodeficiency, T cell immunity and vaccine responsiveness in patients with haematological malignancies. She is also interested in medical education and public engagement and is co-founder of Blooducation podcasts.
Dr Nicolas Martinez-Calle, Nottingham (Real World Data/NICE)
Nicolas Martinez-Calle, MD, MSc, PhD(c), is currently a consultant Haematologist in Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust with a special interest in CLL and lymphoma. Dr. Martinez-Calle completed his medical degree in Colombia at La Sabana University in 2008 and his specialty training in Spain at the Navarra University Clinic in 2015. He is currently completing his PhD studies at Navarra University in the field of epigenetics and DNA methylation. He was granted the Celgene-SEHH (Spanish Society of Haematology) scholarship in 2015 for completion of his PhD work.
Dr. Martinez-Calle was an Honorary Clinical Assistant Professor at Navarra University school of Medicine from 2014-2016 and has prior experience working in pharmaceutical industry as a new product medical advisor during 2008-2009. He is an active member of the European Haematology Association and the British Society of Haematology.
Dr. Martinez-Calle main research interest is CLL. He has been Sub-Investigator of more than 30 clinical trials in lymphoma and CLL and currently principal investigator of 3 studies currently recruiting in Nottingham in both CLL and lymphoma. He has authored or co-authored over 25 relevant publications in the field.
Mr Nick York (Co-Opted Member – Leukaemia Care)
A diagnosis of CLL in 2009 inspired me to work as a patient advocate to build on the work of those who had gone before and continue to bring patients and other stakeholders together to improve outcomes for those affected by a diagnosis of CLL. A previous trustee of CLL Support and founder administrator of UK and international on-line support communities; I work today as Patient Advocacy Healthcare Liaison Officer with Leukaemia Care https://www.leukaemiacare.org.uk and am founder and Chair of the CLL Advocate Network the international coalition of CLL support organisations https://www.clladvocates.net
Prof George Follows (Senior Advisory Group)
George Follows received his medical degree from Oxford University Medical School, UK, and completed his medical and hematology training in Newcastle and Edinburgh, and his PhD at Leeds University, UK. He moved to Cambridge University as a Leukaemia Research Fund Senior Clinical Fellow and was later appointed Clinical Lead for lymphoma, CLL and clinical trials. He is a former chair of the UK CLL Forum and CLL Guidelines Panel and currently chairs the BCSH UK Hodgkin Lymphoma Guidelines Panel. Dr Follows is the the Research Lead for hematology clinical trials at the Cambridge Cancer Trials Centre and was recently appointed to the academic faculty of the Anglia Ruskin Medical School as the Visiting Professor of Haematology. He has authored/co-authored over 90 peer-reviewed papers in different areas of hematological biology and therapeutics in journals, including the New England Journal of Medicine, The Lancet, Journal of Clinical Oncology, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Cell, and Nature Genetics.
Dr Becky Allchin
Dr Becky Allchin is a Consultant Haematologist at University Hospitals of Leicester, specialising in lymphoproliferative disease with an interest in clinical trials. She graduated from the University of Birmingham in 2008 then moved to Leicester for specialty training in 2012. She completed a PhD at the University of Leicester looking into the pathogenesis of AITL and pre-clinical models during her training. Since being appointed as a consultant she has been working with colleagues to develop the early phase trials programme delivered on the Hope Trials Unit in Leicester.
Outside of work she is a keen cyclist and can regularly be found exploring the lanes of Leicestershire and further afield, looking for the best coffee and cake.
Dr Stella Williams
Dr Stella Williams is a consultant haematologist working at the Clatterbridge Cancer Centre, Liverpool, where she has a specialist interest in chronic lymphocytic leukaemia and lymphoma. She trained at the University of Liverpool and qualified in 2010, before undertaking haematology training in the Mersey region, being awarded FRCPath in 2020. She was subsequently appointed as a consultant in 2021. Dr Williams is a member of the NCRI CLL study group.
A bit about me…
For exercise I enjoy playing tennis and high-intensity interval training classes at the gym. Over the past year I had a goal of running a 10 kilometre race, which I have now achieved, and will continue to try and improve upon my time. I find exercise especially helpful in relieving stress.
I often read before sleep in order to switch off, in particular crime novels.
I hope in the future to spend more time developing my interest in woodwork, and would love to have a small workshop at home to dedicate time to this.
Professor Francesco Forconi, Southampton
Francesco Forconi (MD, DM, PhD, FRCPath) is a Professor of Haematology at the University of Southampton, UK.
Francesco is the clinical scientific leader of the academic Cancer B-cell Group, comprising world-class scientists investigating the pathogenesis and clinical behaviour of chronic lymphocytic leukaemia (CLL) and lymphomas. He holds grants with a focus on early cancer interception by analysis of the tumour B-cell receptor and on novel antibodies targeting its unique structures and functions. His most recent investigations have also expanded around the cancer-specific post-translation modifications (oligomannose-type glycans) of the B-cell receptor of lymphomas and how to target them therapeutically.
His clinical activity is primarily dedicated to the care of patients with CLL and lymphomas, leading the CLL Service and a broad portfolio of interventional clinical trials and real-life observational studies, while improving patient experience together with CLL advocacy groups including CLL Horizons, Leukaemia Care and CLL Support Association, and implementing large patients data managing platforms.
Francesco is the UK lead of the international CRUK ECRIN-M3 consortium in monoclonal B-cell lymphocytosis http://ecrinm3.usal.es/, investigating the early diagnosis of CLL and lymphomas in close partnerships with European and international stakeholders. He has been a Member of the UK NCRI Haematological Oncology Clinical Studies Group and continues to be an active participant in the UK NCRI CLL subgroup activities. He has served the National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE) for several technology appraisals for novel agents in clinical practice.
He is an active core member of the International Hairy Cell Leukemia Foundation, USA and leads Southampton as a “Center of Excellence” for Hairy Cell Leukemia. He is Editorial Board Member for BLOOD and regularly contributes as a reviewer for the major journals of clinical and scientific immunology, oncology, and haematology; has chaired sessions at major international and national conferences including the American Society of Hematology (ASH) and the British Society of Haematology (BSH) annual meetings, and has provided educational contributions at major haemato-oncology meetings including UK CLL forum, EHA, ASH, and ECCO/ESMO. He is currently the author of ~170 peer-reviewed publications with >80% publications in the top 10% scientific journals.