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World-leading expert appointed as The Brain Tumour Charity neuro-oncology chair at University of Manchester

We are delighted to announce the appointment of the first-ever The Brain Tumour Charity Chair of Translational Neuro-Oncology at The University of Manchester’s Cancer Research Centre (MCRC).

Professor Petra Hamerlik, one of the world’s experts in neuro-oncology, takes on this role alongside her post at AstraZeneca where she is a Director and Bioscience Lead in Oncology R&D, and brings with her a wealth of knowledge and expertise in brain tumour research.

Prior to her role at AstraZeneca, Professor Hamerlik was Group Leader for the Brain Tumour Biology laboratory within the Danish Cancer Research Centre and Associate Professor at the University of Copenhagen.

Among her achievements are the prestigious DFF Young Elite Scientist, Hallas-Møller Investigator and Danish Cancer Society Young Researcher Awards, which enabled her to establish an independent research line primarily focused on improving our understanding of DNA damage response regulation and its impact on genomic instability of glioblastoma brain tumours.

Her links with AstraZeneca have the potential to enhance collaboration between academic research and industry, and bring together the brightest scientific minds to tackle this deadly disease.

Funded by a grant worth £1.35 million by The Charity, Professor Hamerlik’s research will focus on the development of novel ways to treat and understand central nervous system (CNS) tumour biology, in addition to the discovery of new drug and immunotherapy treatments.

The new role supports the Manchester Cancer Research Centre’s ambition to bring together world-leading experts to tackle cancer, and we are proud to be able to support this.

Our decision to award £1.35 million of funding over the next five years demonstrates our commitment to developing new and innovative ways to improve the survival and ensure a better quality of life for those affected by a brain tumour.

Dr David Jenkinson, Chief Scientific Officer for The Brain Tumour Charity, said:

We are incredibly excited that Professor Petra Hamerlik has been appointed as the inaugural The Brain Tumour Charity Chair of Neuro-Oncology, which will be a major boost to brain tumour research here in the UK.

With over 5,400 people still losing their lives to this devastating disease every year in the UK, we urgently need to accelerate progress towards new and kinder treatment options. Professor Hamerlik’s appointment will be critical to establishing a world-leading research centre in Manchester, helping attract the brightest minds to the field in this country and maximising opportunities to collaborate to help us find new therapies faster.

Thanks to the amazing generosity of our supporters, we’re immensely proud to be able to invest £1.35m to support this transformational role for the next five years. With such a strong track-record in translating breakthroughs from the lab bench through to improved care in NHS hospitals, Manchester represents a really unique research environment to catalyse much-needed progress for thousands of families affected by brain tumours – and we’re delighted that Petra has joined to lead and drive this work forward. A cure can’t wait!”

Commenting on her appointment as The Brain Tumour Charity Chair of Translational Neuro-Oncology at The University of Manchester, Professor Petra Hamerlik said:

I am very excited about this unique opportunity and hope to leverage both my academic and industrial experience to synergise with an outstanding network of scientific and clinical researchers in Manchester. My ambition is to build a platform of evidence which would serve as a stepping stone to redefining the care and thereby improving the outcome of patients suffering from this deadly disease.