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An update from one of our Future Leaders Junior Fellows

One of our first Junior Fellowship grant holders, Dr Tyler Miller, has opened his own research lab focused on developing immunotherapies to treat brain tumours.

Our Future Leaders programme was developed to support excellent academic and clinical researchers who are just beginning their careers, so that they can establish themselves as leading experts in the field of research into brain tumours. Dr Miller’s transition from early career researcher to head of his own lab and research team is a significant milestone not only for his own career, but for our Future Leaders grant programme!

The Future Leaders grant programme

The Future Leaders grant programme was launched in 2020, with the intention of providing the best and brightest researchers with the support and stability to reach their full potential in the field of brain tumours. At The Brain Tumour Charity, we are committed to funding excellent research that has the potential to make a real difference to people diagnosed with a brain tumour and their families. We believe that investing in the next generation of brain tumour researchers is crucial to achieving our goals of doubling survival and halving the harm caused by brain tumours. By supporting these Future Leaders, we’re helping to shape the future of research into brain tumours and improve outcomes for people diagnosed.

Ty’s Future Leaders project

Ty was awarded the Future Leaders postdoctoral fellowship in 2020 for his ground-breaking work on glioblastoma, whilst working as a pathology resident at Massachusetts General Hospital and the Dana Farber Cancer Institute, USA.

His project focused on profiling cells in the immune system known as myeloid cells which are found within gliomas. There are different types of myeloid cells, so Ty aimed to understand what each of them do.

He was able to identify myeloid cells which prevent the immune system from attacking and killing glioblastoma cells, allowing them to survive and grow. By increasing our understanding of these immune cells’ behaviour, Ty has identified potential treatment targets. You can read more about this project here.

Ty’s Junior Fellowship project

In 2023, Ty was awarded the second grant in the Future Leaders programme – the Junior Fellowship. This step of the programme is intended to provide the best researchers with further support to continue to develop their own research ideas and to begin to set up their own research group to further establish themselves as experts in the field of research into brain tumours.

Ty’s Junior Fellowship project builds upon the findings from his previous work. He aims to understand how certain myeloid cells in gliomas prevent the immune system from killing tumour cells. He will use this information to create ways to make gliomas sensitive to immunotherapy. Currently, immunotherapy treatments for glioblastoma have had limited success because the cells surrounding the tumour prevent the immune system killing the tumour cells.

The funding Ty has received from our Future Leaders programme has enabled him to set up his own research lab, and he is now in the process of recruiting a team of researchers at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, Cleveland, OH, USA.

You can read more about Ty’s new lab here.

Ty also visited The Brain Tumour Charity’s head office earlier this year for a Meet the Researcher event, where he got to give an update on his project and meet supporter groups who helped to fund his research. You can watch a video from the event here.

Headshot of Dr Tyler Miller, a Junior Fellow in The Brain Tumour Charity's Future Leaders programme

The Future Leaders funding has been instrumental in realizing my dream of opening my own lab. The Postdoctoral Fellowship funding enabled me to pursue highly innovative research experiments and learn how to manage grant funding for my own projects. The Junior Fellowship funding really laid the groundwork for my new lab and helped me obtain my new position. I could not be more grateful to The Brain Tumour Charity and their innovative Future Leaders funding scheme for putting me in the position to be a leader in this field.

– Dr Tyler Miller

The Future Leaders’ grant programme is a unique initiative designed to develop the next generation of brain tumour researchers. This devastating disease demands dedicated scientists to make the ground-breaking discoveries necessary for a cure. We are proud to offer this programme, providing the brightest minds with the stability they need to develop their ideas and establish themselves as world-leading experts in the field. Ty has made significant contributions to the field with his work to date, and we look forward to continuing to support him as he progresses in his career.

– Dr Simon Newman, Chief Scientific Officer at The Brain Tumour Charity
Headshot of Dr Simon Newman, Chief Scientific Officer at The Brain Tumour Charity