Institute of Cellular Medicine

Staff Profile

Rachel O'Leary

Associate Researcher



Originally from Washington, Tyne & Wear I graduated from the University of Sheffield (UoS) in July 2012 with a degree in Physics with Medical Physics (MPhys, 2:1, Hons). Without a real career plan in place, I returned to former employment with Gateshead Libraries to keep myself ticking over and in January 2014 I moved back to Sheffield to take up the post of "Research Assistant in Radionuclide Therapies", again, at the University. I worked alongside academics from the Department of Cardiovascular Science, Medical Physics Group and clinicians from Sheffield Teaching Hospitals (STH). We worked in collaboration with Guy's and St. Thomas' NHS Trust and King's College London on a six month scoping exercise funded by Sheffield Hospitals Charity and the Insigneo Institute for In-Silico Medicine; a joint venture between UoS and STH. My task was to identify the potential uses of in-silico (computational) methods in the delivery of peptide receptor radionuclide therapy (PRRT) for the management of neuroendocrine tumours (NETs) and the final deliverable, "In Pursuit of Personalised, Predictive Molecular Radiotherapy", encompassed a number of features:

  • The clinical use of PRRT from the literature
  • The clinical pathways taken by NET patients in Sheffield
  • The uses already established for in-silico medicine in the literature
  • The components required for implementation
  • Development of a basic Matlab model
  • Introduction to the ContraCancrum Oncosimulator
  • Project evolution and delivery timeline

Having completed my fixed term contract, I recently returned to the North East to take up the post of "Research Scientist" with Newcastle Upon Tyne Hospitals (NUTH) NHS Foundation Trust. I am based in one of four National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) funded Diagnostic Evidence Cooperatives (DECs); the others being located in Leeds, Oxford and London. The primary aim of the DECs is to help generate high quality evidence of clinical validity, clinical utility, cost effectiveness and care pathway benefits of commercial in-vitro diagnostics (IVDs). Another aim is to develop new, world class methodologies for IVD assessment. In support of this, the Newcastle DEC, with funding from the Academic Health Science Network (AHSN), has teamed up with local company, Biosignatures, to further develop their Work Packet System for implementation within the DEC. The software, coded in XML, offers printing of clinical study recruitment documentation, automatic assignment of unique patient identification numbers, data storage and in the future, data analysis tools. My role is to