Faculty of Medical Sciences

Staff Profile

Dr Lisa Russell

Newcastle University Research Fellow

Background

Current Position

Aug 2015-July 2020: Newcastle University Research Fellow, Newcastle University

June 2015-April 2018: John Goldman Fellow, Leuka, Newcastle University

Qualifications

2015: Newcastle University Research Fellow

2015: John Goldman Fellow

2011: KKLF Intermediate Fellowship

2007: PhD Cancer Sciences Division, University of Southampton

2002: BSc Biology, University of Southampton

Previous positions

Feb 2001-Aug 2015: Kay Kendall Leukaemia Fund Intermediate Research Fellow, Newcastle University

April 2008- Feb 2011: Research Associate, Newcastle University

December 2006-March 2008: Postdoctoral Scientist, University of Southamtpon

April 2008-January 2011: Research Associate, Newcastle University

Professional Awards

British Society of Haematology Travel Grant to attend the 57th ASH annual Meeting (2015)

British Society of Haematology Travel Grant to attend the FASEB summer conference on Hematological malignancies (2011)

British Society of Haematology Travel Grant to attend the 50th ASH Annual Meeting (2008)

European Haematology Association Travel Grant (2008)

Wessex Medical Research Prize for Postgraduate Research in Biomedical Sciences (2008)

Poster prize at the Cancer Sciences Conference, University of Southampton (2007)

Oral presentation prize at the British Society of Haematology (2007)

Invited Presentations

Association of Clinical Genetic Science (ACGS) Annual Meeting – Cancer Genetics, September 2015

24th Annual Meeting of the International BFM Study Group, Kiel, Germany, May 2013

BSHG, Warwick University, September 2011

Professor Nick Cross, Wessex Regional Genetics Laboratory, Salisbury, 15th June 2011

Professor Mel Greaves and Dr Lyndal Kearny, Institute of Cancer Research, 15th April 2009

Memberships

British Society of Haematology since 2008

Manuscript/Grant Peer Review

Journals: Blood, British Journal of Haematology, Leukemia, Clinical Epigenetics and Haematologica.

Funding bodies: MRC, Cure Kids, Wellcome Trust Indian Alliance Fellowship Scheme.

Boards and Committees

Editorial Board Member for Scientific Reports, a journal from Nature Publishing Group since February 2015.

Newcastle University Faculty of Medical Sciences Fellowship Committee


Research

Research Interests

Genetic aberrations are important indicators of prognosis in acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (ALL) and are widely used in risk stratification. Translocations involving the immunoglobulin heavy chain locus (IGH) are hallmarks of mature B-cell malignancies, where they drive pathogenesis. IGH translocations have been described in B-cell precursor ALL (BCP-ALL), where they target different genes with the same consequence; the partner gene is overexpressed as a result of its close proximity to the IGH enhancer. We have previously reported recurrent BCP-ALL translocation partner genes including five members of the CCAAT/enhancer binding protein (CEBP) family of transcription factors, showing opposing functions for deregulation in myeloid and lymphoid leukemogenesis; the inhibitory transcription factor, ID4, in the translocation, t(6;14)(p22;q32), defining a subgroup characterized by deletion of CDKN2A/B and PAX; the cytokine receptor for erythropoietin (EPOR) at 19p13; type I cytokine receptor, CRLF2, at Xp22/Yp11; and other sporadic partner genes. We estimate that the incidence of IGH-t is approximately 5% in both patients with BCP-ALL and T-ALL and 16% in patients with DS-ALL. Furthermore, we have identified novel partner genes and shown that IGH translocations can represent both primary and secondary events. However, the most striking observation was that IGH translocations were clearly associated with adolescents and young adults, providing the first report of a chromosomal aberration showing a strong association with this age group in BCP-ALL.

I am currently continuing to unravel the clinical and genomic landscapes of patients with deregulated expression of CRLF2 (CRLF2-d). We have identified novel aberrations within the genomes of these patients. We are investigating the functional consequence these aberrations may have in both cell line models and primary patient material. We aim to identify important secondary abnormalities that together with CRLF2-d trigger transformation and may lend themselves to therapeutic intervention.  

Staff Supervision

Group Leader: Dr Lisa Russell

Nefeli Karataraki - Research Technician

Brynelle Myers - MPhil Student

Tsun Ming Fung - PhD Student 

Public Engagement

I have been a STEM (Science, Technology, Electronics and Mathematics) Ambassador since 2009. 

I have been involved in running open days for the general public and charity fundraisers.

Current and Past Funding

We gratefully acknowledge financial support from:

Leuka

Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

JGW Patterson Foundation

Bloodwise

Kay Kendall Leukaemia Fund



Teaching

Student Supervision

PhD: Second supervisor of one student October 2011-March 2016

MRes: Supervised five Master’s students between 2009-2016

BSc: Supervised five Undergraduate students (Biomedical Sciences) between 2009-2016

Lecturing

MMS8101 Medical Research (2015-present)

Publications