I have spent my entire career in brain tumour research, having started work on chemical neuro-carcinogenesis where I studied brain cancer stem cells and brain tumour development at the Middlesex Hospital Medical School in the early 1970s and subsequently spent 23 years at the Institute of Psychiatry, King’s College, London, latterly as Professor of Experimental Neuro-oncology. In 2003 I moved to the School of Pharmacy & Biomedical Sciences, University of Portsmouth, as Professor of Cellular & Molecular Neuro-oncology & Director of Research. I now head the Portsmouth Brain Tumour Research Centre, the largest laboratory-based Centre of its kind in the UK. Over the years the research focus of my group has been development of models for the study of intrinsic brain tumours, elucidation of the mechanisms underlying diffuse local invasive behaviour in glioma, delivery systems for passage of agents across the blood-brain barrier (BBB) and development of novel strategies for mitochondrial mediation of apoptosis in glioma. I have published numerous papers on the results of my research on human glioma and have developed various “all human” three-dimensional in vitro models to study brain tumour invasion and the BBB. At the University of Portsmouth I have established an excellent suite of laboratories and a host of state-of-the-art equipment in which to accommodate the Brain Tumour Research Centre.

I hold a BSc (2.1) in Life Sciences and a PhD in Neuropathology (University of London). I am also a Fellow of the Royal Society of Biology, a Fellow of the Royal College of Pathologists and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Medicine. I am also a Past-President of the British Neuro-oncology Society and currently Honorary Treasurer and Executive Board Member of the European Association of Neuro-oncology. In addition, I hold membership of the British Neuroscience Association, the British Neuropathological Society (formally a committee member and Programme Secretary), the Society of Neuro-oncology (USA), and the European Association for Cancer Research. I was instrumental in the formation of Brain Tumour UK (now integrated into The Brain Tumour Charity). I have also served as advisor to Brainstrust, Ali’s Dream and Charlie’s Challenge, as well as formerly holding membership of the Samantha Dickson Brain Tumour Trust (now The Brain Tumour Charity) Scientific & Medical Advisory Board and a member of the Scientific Advisory Board of Children with Cancer UK. Moreover, I have worked closely with Hammer Out (now Brain Tumour Support) and the Brain Tumour Research Campaign. I have supervised over 30 PhD students and have examined an additional 33 at various universities, both nationally and internationally, I am currently Neuro-oncology Editor for Oncology News, and served on the Editorial Boards of five journals. I have also acted as a referee for 58 journals and 42 grant awarding bodies in Europe, North America, New Zealand, Australia and Singapore. I am also a regular attendee at the quarterly All Party Parliamentary Group meetings on brain tumours at Westminster and have served on expert advisory panels on drug repurposing and brain tumour research funding.

For more information about my research please visit my lab page.

Research Interests


  • Translational approaches to brain tumour therapy
  • Pathogenesis & origin of brain tumours
  • Drug repurposing and reformulation
  • NG2, CD44 and gangliosides in brain tumour behaviour
  • The brain tumour microenvironment
  • Brain cancer metastasis
  • Mitochondria and metabolism in brain tumours
  • Paediatric brain tumours
  • The blood brain barrier in cancer metastasis and drug delivery

Main Techniques used

Live cell imaging, scanning & transmission electron microscopy, atomic force microscopy, laser confocal microscopy, TIRF microscopy, flow cytometry, RT-PCR gene expression studies, immunocyto/histochemistry, cell culture, oxygen electrode assay, mitochondrial membrane potential, apoptosis, assays, laser capture microdissection with gene & proteomic analysis.