Associate Professorship

Associate Professorship


We are part funding (25%) the Associate Professorship of Ryan Mathew at the University of Leeds. Ryan is also Honorary Consultant Neurosurgeon at Leeds General Infirmary. This funding is for a period of four years from 2019 - 2023.


Official Title: Associate Professorship
Lead Researcher: Ryan Mathew
Where: Leeds, West Yorkshire
When: 2019 to 2023
Cost: £50,000
Research Type: Adult and Paediatric

Ryan Mathew is an Associate Professor and Honorary Consultant Neurosurgeon at Leeds. His clinical interests cover the full spectrum of brain tumours with a special focus on gliomas, awake surgery and meningiomas. During his neurosurgical training, he was awarded a PhD based on Glioma Modelling using Stem Cells and Cerebral Organoids (“mini-brains”*), after which he spent time at The Brain Tumour Research Centre (Sickkids, Toronto).

*Mini-brains are grown from existing cells in the human body that are programmed to become a new brain cell. The cell then starts to grow in a 3D pattern and all the genes are there to direct the brain to grow, forming a structure to about 2 or 3 millimetres in size. In the lab, tumours can be placed and grown within the mini-brains to see how they develop, as well as enabling testing of treatments to see how specific tumours in particular parts of the brain react.  

Ryan's basic, translational and clinical trials research interests focus primarily on brain tumour biology and precision cancer surgery using innovative technologies. He co-leads a brain tumour research lab with Dr Heiko Wurdak, is Neurosurgery Lead for the NIHR Surgical MIC, Academic Lead for Health and Well-being at the Centre for Immersive Technology, and is a member of the Academic Committee of the Society of British Neurological Surgeons and Glioma Subgroup of the National Cancer Research Institute.

Ryan Mathew works in a unique way, he is a Neurosurgeon but also an Associate Professor; working the roles on alternate weeks. You can read his story "A day in the life of..." HERE.

Ryan works in the brain tumour research lab at Leeds and is leading on a number of exciting projects, including developing "mini-brains" as well as furthering the use of robotics and AI.

Ryan Mathews - CLICK HERE for more information

CLICK HERE to see the video of Ryan talking about research being carried out at the University of Leeds and Leeds Teaching Hospitals Trust to develop new treatments for brain cancers.

We have an update from Ryan with everything he has acheived in his first two years (to September 2020) in post - CLICK HERE

New research "The cell cycle state defines TACC3 as a regulator gene in glioblastoma" published 22/10/2020 CLICK HERE to read. This is quite a complicated piece of research. Ryan has kindly provided us with a summary:

"Cancer cells rapidly make copies of themselves, which is how tumours grow.
There are 4 stages that each cell goes through during the copying process – this is called the ‘cell cycle.’

Genetic information (genes) inside the cells controls how the cell progresses through the cell cycle.

By making glioblastoma cells light up different colours when they are in the 4 different stages of the cell cycle, we could look at how the genetic control changes over the duration of the entire cycle.

Previously, it was thought that genes controlled each stage an equal amount in brain cancer. But we found that some genes, that are dependent on a ‘master’ gene – called TACC3 - are more active at particular stages.

Understanding this is important when developing new treatments as researchers need to take into account that there is a ‘moving target’ depending on what stage the cell cycle is at."


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