Dr Sophie T Williams

by | 7 Sep 2023 | Academy fellows | 0 comments

Sophie T WilliamsOverview

Cohort: 7
Start date: October 2023

My training has made me ideally placed to work at the intersection of physical and biological sciences and clinical practice.

I graduated from the Imperial College London School of Medicine accelerated Graduate Entry Course in 2017, graduating with distinctions in Clinical Sciences and Clinical Practice, winning the Glazer and Norman C. Lake prizes as well as competing for the University of London Gold Medal. This followed a research master’s and undergraduate degree in Chemistry at the University of Oxford in the laboratories of Professors Chris Schofield and Akane Kawamura, and a period working as a technical assistant at the European Bioinformatics Institute in Cambridge under Professor Dame Janet Thornton.

I have continued my research training alongside my clinical training, undertaking an AFP in Oncology based at Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust, King’s College London, and an National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR) Academic Clinical Fellowship in Medical Oncology based at The University of Sheffield, before being awarded a 4Ward North PhD Fellowship.

PhD title

Investigating the contribution of ageing mechanisms to glioblastoma treatment resistance.

Brief summary of PhD project

Glioblastoma is a devastating cancer. Despite aggressive treatments, the cancer inevitably recurs. Ageing is the greatest contributing factor to developing glioblastoma and older patients have the least favourable outcomes. After surgery, disease recurs from where tumorous cells have invaded the healthy brain, beyond the resection margin. Therefore, there is a need to understand the cellular interactions beyond the typically resected tumour at the glioma-brain interface.

A key question is how do biological mechanisms associated with brain ageing influence tumour treatment response and recurrence for these patients? One such mechanism is quiescence, which is influenced by inflammation present in ageing brains. My PhD will explore this ageing mechanism using single-cell transcriptomic approaches in patient samples and patient-derived cell lines.

Key collaborators/supervisors

  • Dr Spenser Collis (The University of Sheffield)
  • Dr Lucy Stead (University of Leeds)
  • Professor Laura Ferraiuolo (The University of Sheffield)
  • Professor Karen Piper-Hanley (The University of Manchester)
  • Professor Sarah Danson (The University of Sheffield)

Specialty interest/techniques

  • Neuro-oncology
  • Glioblastoma stem cells
  • Spatial and single-cell transcriptomics
  • Bioinformatics

Career aspirations

This PhD is the next step in my training as an academic oncologist. I aim to be a Clinician Scientist, combining research with clinical practice. My overarching career aspiration is to contribute to improving treatment options for glioblastoma, making it a cancer managed more like a chronic disease, without the terrible prognosis it has currently.