Northern Institute for Cancer Research

Staff Profile

Marian Case

Research Associate


Roles and Responsibilities

As a research associate I am part of a team involved in work leading to improving the treatment of children with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia. We are looking for alternative therapies to decrease the amount of chemotherapeutic drugs children are given, and to decrease the toxicity of any drugs that have to be given. In addition we are working towards finding specific targeted drugs for individual patients with treatable genetic profiles.

Along with everyone else, I have to make sure that consumables are ordered so that experimental research work can continue without hindrance and all experimental results are written up and logged so that everyone in the group can understand and access them.

Within the NICR I am part of the paediatric research groups that have moved into a satellite research area based in the Herschel Building. I am the lab manager for this group of research workers and I am in charge of making sure the whole lab is in good running order. I liaise with everyone in the lab to sort out problems with broken equipment and I try to maintain the smooth day to day running of the lab.


B.Sc. in Agricultural Biochemistry and Nutrition

M.Sc. in Immunology

M.Sc. in Applied Bioinformatics

Previous Positions

Feb 2004-present Research Associate, NICR, Paul O'Gorman Building, University of Newcastle, Newcastle upon Tyne.

Oct 1997-Feb 2004 Research Associate, Paediatric Oncology Unit, Cancer Research Unit, University of Newcastle, Newcastle upon Tyne.

Oct 1995-Sept 1997 Research Associate, Department of Medical Molecular Biology (Pathology/Medicine), University of Newcastle, Newcastle upon Tyne.

Sept 1992-Sept 1995 Theartre Technician, Theatre Royal, Newcastle Playhouse, Live Theatre, Tyne Theatre and Opera House, all at Newcastle upon Tyne and The Maltings Art Centre, Berwick upon Tweed.

May 1988-Aug 1992 Research Technician, Department of Immunology, University of Newcastle, Newcastle upon Tyne.

Nov 1986-April 1988 Junior Research Associate, Department of Pathology, University of Newcastle, Newcastle upon Tyne.

June 1984-Oct 1986 Junior Research Associate, Department of Medicine, University of Newcastle, Newcastle upon Tyne.

July 1980-May 1984 Research Technician, Department of Medicine, University of Newcastle, Newcastle upon Tyne.

Oct 1978-June 1980 Research Technician, Department of Agricultural Biochemistry and Nutrition, University of Newcastle, Newcastle upon Tyne.


British Association for Cancer Research


French (some)
BSL (some)


Research Interests

Analysing and sorting mononuclear cells from blood and bone marrow of patients with acute lymphocytic leukaemia using up to ten colour fluorescence on a Fisher Attune acoustic focusing flow cytometer, a FACSCanto, a FACSCalibur and a FACSAria machine.
Follow-up ten colour fluorescence analysis of bone marrow samples after the patient has started chemotherapy, to detect minimal residual disease.

Using an Amnis Image Stream cytometer to detect movement of molecules into and out of cells after specific treatments.

Analysis of  data after WGA and whole exome sequencing using my bioinformatics background.

Other Expertise

Long term cell culture using antibiotic free medium.
Isolation, fractionation and purification of blood and bone marrow mononulear cells using sucrose density centrifugation.
PCR, RQ-RT-PCR, immuno-PCR.
Isolation of DNA and RNA from pellets of mononulear cells.
Use of a Beckman CEQ 8000 for detecting LOH in sequential patient DNA samples using microsatellite markers.
Immunocytochemistry, cryo-imunocytochemistry.
Protein detection using western SDS-PAGE analysis.
Isolation of viable mitrochondria fron cells and their subsequent analysis for changes in membrane potential/permeability and glutathione homeostasis.
Isolation of human thyroid and lymph node cells by mechanical disaggregation and enzyme digestion.
Stable and transient transfection of expression plasmids into mammalian cells in culture.
Generation, cloning and long term maintenance of mouse T lymphocyte clones.
Proliferation assays using 3H-Thymidine uptake and XTT (or MTT) colourimetric assays.
Antigen production and purification from plasmid infected E. coli using affinity chromatography and SDS-PAGE analysis.
Complement mediated cytotoxicity and antibody-dependent cell-mediated cytotoxicity using 51Cr labeled thyroid cell monolayers as target cells.
Labeling IgG, IgM, IgA and thyroglobulin with NaI125 for use in radio immunoassays.
Analysis of serum and urine for glucose, lipids, cholesterol, urea, a-amino acid nitrogen and insulin.
Analysis of faeces for protein, lipids, fibre and minerals.

Current Work

Analysis of patient blood and bone marrow using leukaemic cell CD markers. Sorting leukaemic cells from normal cells using FACS machines. Analysing follow-up samples for minimal residual leukaemic disease. Analysis of sequencing data.

Research Roles

I have responsibilities to look after the day to day running and maintenance of many of the machines in the lab, including the FACS machines, the RQ-RT-PCR machine and the spectrophotometer.
I am involved with day to day teaching and guiding of any student that works in our lab.


Mitochondrial permeability transition during spontaneous and steroid induced cell death in blasts from children with ALL, 1998 – 1999. £32,200. Hall, A.G., Kearns, P., Case, M.C. Leukaemia Research Fund.

A study of the cytotoxic effect of buthionine sulfoxamine in neuroblastoma, 1998 – 2000. £70,869. Hall, A.G., Case, M.C., Coulthard, S.A., Pearson, A.D.J. Neuroblastoma Society.

Mitochondrial glutathione homeostasis during drug-induced cell death in leukaemic cells, 2000 - 2003. £130,589. Hall, A.G., Case, M.C., McGuckin, A.G. North of England Children's Cancer Research Fund.


Undergraduate Teaching

Whenever students come into the lab for work experience or to carry out final year or MSc projects, I am always available to help with lab techniques and general queries about research and experimental work.

Postgraduate Teaching

Whenever post graduate students come into the lab, I am always available to help with lab techniques and general queries about research and experimental work.