Faculty of Medical Sciences

Staff Profile

Dr Lisa Russell

Newcastle University Research Fellow


Current Position

Aug 2015-Jan 2021: Newcastle University Research Fellow, Newcastle University

Area of expertise



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

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

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 EMBO B-cell development and Leukemia meeting (2019)

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

Leuka Seminar and Reception September 2018

29th Annual Meeting of the International BFM Study Group, Helsinki, Finland, May 2018 

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


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 Research Career Development Group

NICR Teaching and Training Committee


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

Tsun Ming Fung - PhD Student

Daniel Kent - 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:

The Wellcome Trust



Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

JGW Patterson Foundation


Kay Kendall Leukaemia Fund

CCLG Little Princess Trust


Student Supervision

PhD: Second supervisor to one student October 2011-March 2016.

Primary supervisor to one student October 2017-September 2020

Second supervisor to one student October 2018-September 2021

MPhil: Primary supervisor to one student 2016-2018

MRes: Supervised six master’s students between 2009-2018

BSc: Supervised six undergraduate students (Biomedical Sciences) between 2009-2018


MSc Medical Research - (MMS8101: Research Practice in the 21st Century)