Dr Timothy Chevassut
MA, BMBCh, MRCP, MPH, FRCPath, PhD
Senior Lecturer and Honorary Consultant in Haematology
Area of Expertise:
Clinical haematology, leukaemia, stem cells, DNA methylation, cell reprogramming
+44 (0)1273 873232
Medical Research Building Administrator:
Medical School Research Building,
Rm 2.08, Brighton & Sussex Medical School, BN1 9PS
MRCPath (London), 2006
Specialist Registrar in Haematology, Edinburgh, 2002-2007
Research Fellow, Edinburgh University, 2000-2002
Research Fellow, Harvard Medical School, 1998-2000
PhD (Edinburgh), 2006
MPH (Harvard), 1998
MRCP (UK), 1996
BMBCh, Oxford University Medical School, 1993
BA Hons. (Physiological Sciences), Oxford University, 1989
I am fascinated by the biology of leukaemia and believe that a better understanding of the mechanism of leukaemogenesis will lead to improved treatments for people unfortunate enough to develop this disease. Current chemotherapy regimes typically achieve periods of remission but frequently fail to cure the patient who relapses some months later. Increasing evidence suggests that this is due to the presence of leukaemia stem cells that are able to evade killing by conventional drugs. Novel treatment strategies that specifically target these stem cells are needed to improve the outlook for patients with leukaemia.
'I believe that we can improve treatment strategies for cancer patients by targeting the cancer stem cell that fuel the disease and that leukaemia represents a prime model for testing this hypothesis.'
The overarching ethos of my research is a translational bench-to-bedside approach that aims to bring new treatments to leukaemia patients. My current focus aims to characterise the leukaemia stem cell using a mouse xenograft model with a view to testing new drug treatments that specifically target the stem cell compartment such as rapamycin and parthenolide. It is hoped that the most promising compounds will be taken forward into phase I/II clinical trials in patients with relapsed or refractory leukaemia who presently have a very poor prognosis.
My previous research has included work on embryonic stem cells, haematopoiesis, RNA interference and epigenetics. In particular, I have an interest in the role of DNA methylation in tumourigenesis, as modelled by a mouse genetically modified to over-express the gene DNMT3a, and I retain strong collaborative ties with Bernard Ramsahoye in Edinburgh in this regard.
My research is funded through a generous grant from the Elimination of Leukaemia Fund (ELF) and I employ one senior research scientist, Dr. Helen Stewart PhD, who is an expert in the field of haematological disease. I supervise two PhD students and numerous other undergraduate research students and clinical fellows. I am also a co-supervisor with Dr. Majid Hafezparast on a project grant from the MRC to study motor neurone using induced pluripotent stem cells. My clinical research programme presently focuses on early phase clinical trials of novel agents in acute myeloid leukaemia of which we have one phase I study in younger patients and one phase II study in older patients currently on-going.