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Future Leaders: Junior Fellowship Funding Announcement

We are pleased to announce the two researchers who have been awarded the Junior Fellowship grant – the second award in our Future Leaders programme!

We developed our Future Leaders programme to support excellent academic and clinical researchers at the beginning of their careers. This funding enables them to establish themselves as leading experts in research into brain tumours.

We designed this award to provide the right researcher with up to £1.8 million in funding over 12 years, and to give them the support needed to set up their own lab. After three years, the postdoctoral fellows who receive the first stage of the Future Leaders grant can apply for a four-year Junior Fellowship. This funding is intended to support themselves and a research associate in a host laboratory.

We have awarded our first two Junior FellowsDr Tyler Miller and Dr Spencer Watson – an additional £600,000 each to support their research for four more years.

Reprogramming immune cells in glioma patients

Dr Tyler Miller’s previous work focused on the profiling of myeloid cells (a type of immune cell) within gliomas. Normally, these cells are programmed to initiate the body’s immune response against tumours. However, researchers have discovered that myeloid cells within gliomas can actually become immunosuppressive. Dr Miller has been working towards understanding the different types of cell which are present and what each of them do. From this, he has been able to identify which types of cells are immunosuppressive.

In this next phase of research, Dr Miller aims to understand how certain myeloid cells become immunosuppressive in gliomas. He will use this information to create strategies to target this immunosuppression, with a view to make gliomas sensitive to immunotherapy.

Dr Tyler Miller

Tyler is a physician-scientist and Assistant Professor of Pathology at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine and University Hospitals Cleveland Medical Center, Ohio, USA. His lab studies how to make immunotherapies more effective for brain tumour patients.

Uncovering the role of tumour microenvironments

Dr Spencer Watson’s previous work revealed that glioblastoma cells that survive initial treatment can hide from the body’s immune system and the effects of further treatment.

In this next phase of his research, Dr Watson aims to understand how tumour cells in different regions respond to their microenvironment, and to pinpoint how cells moving between microenvironments can cause cell division and spread. He hopes that this work can lead to the development of new treatments that specifically target dormant and recurrent tumour cells in gliomas.

Dr Spencer S Watson

Spencer is a Postdoctoral Researcher in the Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research at the University of Lausanne, Department of Oncology, Switzerland. Spencer is mentored by Professor Johanna Joyce

Dr Spencer Watson smiles with a lake in the background. Dr Watson is one of our Future Leaders

Our Junior Fellowship grants fund the future leaders of scientific and clinical research into brain tumours, and our aspiration is that this research will help us accelerate a cure for brain tumours. Glioblastomas are aggressive brain tumours which almost always recur, so finding ways to prevent this recurrence is key. We are very excited to continue working with Tyler and Spencer for another four years, and we look forward to following the progress of their research.

Emma Thompson, Head of Research at The Brain Tumour Charity

Learn more about our Future Leaders programme

To find out more about our Future Leaders programme and how to apply, click the button below: