Skip to main contentSkip to footer
A finger pointing at a scan
Brighton & Sussex Medical School

Our staff

BSMS > About BSMS > Contact us > Staff > Dr Andrea Pepper (née Buggins)

Dr Andrea Pepper (née Buggins)

Andrea Pepper

Dr Andrea Pepper (Ph.D) (née Buggins)

Reader in Cancer Research
Location: Medical Research Building, University of Sussex, Falmer BN1 9PX

Area of expertise: Haemato-Oncology 

Research areas: CLL and other Haematological Malignancies and Tumour microenvironment. 



I joined BSMS in 2017 from King’s College London (KCL). For the first 12 years of my career I was a diagnostic Biomedical Scientist and rose to the level Chief specialising in Foetal Haematology where I discovered my passion for research. I was integral to the development of both foetal blood testing for numerous Haematological disorders and maternal-foetal intrauterine blood and platelet transfusions. As a result of this work I was offered an opportunity to do a PhD in Acute Myeloid Leukaemia (AML). This was entitled ‘Role of provision of costimulation and soluble inhibitory factors on immune responses to myeloid leukaemia’. In this I demonstrated that AML cells can be genetically modified to present antigen, but that the T-cell response generated is hindered by the cytokine milieu produced by the tumour. Since then my research career has predominately been focussed on another Leukaemia, Chronic Lymphocytic Leukaemia (CLL) but I also have active research interests in other types of B-cell Lymphoma, ALL, AML and Multiple Myeloma. In addition, I am involved in two CAR T cell research projects running alongside clinical trials at KCL. In my previous post I managed a research team comprised of 4 Postdoctoral Scientists, 4 Clinical Fellow Ph.D. students and 1 non-clinical PhD student.


The focus of my research has been on the effect of the microenvironment on tumour proliferation and survival. This work has built on the main finding of my PhD, which was that the successful elimination of a tumour requires looking beyond the tumour itself to the effects of the surrounding microenvironment. To date I have published over 30 peer-reviewed papers and have acquired a national reputation in my field, particularly for my expertise in the immunosuppressive and anti-apoptotic effect of the tumour microenvironment. In addition, I have been involved in the collaborative development of a novel circulation system to study tumour migration. This was established with my husband Professor Chris Pepper who has also recently joined BSMS from Cardiff university. At BSMS we will be building on this model to study the signalling pathways and critical drivers involved in tumour migration and retention with the aim of identifying and testing therapeutic targets.  



My teaching experience is primarily in the area student research supervision with a particular emphasis in supervising Clinical Training Fellows. In addition to the 4 Clinical Fellows and non-clinical PhD student I have directly supervised to completion, I have also made a significant contribution to the supervision of 3 other PhD students, all of whom have also successfully completed their studies.  As a co-applicant I have helped secure external grant support amounting to more than £1.5 million from both charitable and commercial sources including Bloodwise (previously Leukaemia Lymphoma Research UK), Kay Kendall Leukaemia Fund and British Society of Haematology. I have retained strong academic collaborations within my colleagues at KCL and a wider network of national collaborators, in particular Dr Elisabeth Walsby at Cardiff University. At BSMS I have set up new and exciting collaborations with Professor Chris Pepper, Dr Tim Chevassut and Dr Sandra Sacre and look forward to expanding these in the future.  

Selected publications

(Some publications in previous name Buggins)

Graham, Charlotte, Jozwik, Agnieszka, Pepper, Andrea and Benjamin, Reuben (2018) Allogeneic CAR-T cells: more than ease of access? Cells, 7 (10). p. 155. ISSN 2073-4409

Mele, Sylvia, Devereux, Stephen, Pepper, Andrea G, Infante, Elvira and Ridley, Anne J (2018) Calcium-RasGRP2-Rap1 signaling mediates CD38-induced migration of chronic lymphocytic leukemia cells. Blood Advances, 2 (13). pp. 1551-1561. ISSN 2473-9529

Coulter, Eve M, Pepper, Andrea, Mele, Silvia, Folarin, Najeem'deen, Townsend, William, Cuthill, Kirsty, Phillips, Elizabeth, Patten, Piers and Devereux, Stephen (2017) In-vitro and in-vivo evidence for uncoupling of BCR internalization and signaling in chronic lymphocytic leukemia. Haematologica. ISSN 1592-8721

Phenotype and immune function of lymph node and peripheral blood CLL cells are linked to transendothelial migration. Pasikowska, M., walsby, E., Apollonio, B., Cuthill, K. M., Phillips, E. H., Coulter, E. M., Longhi, M. S., Ma, Y., Yallop, D., Barber, L. D., Patten, P. E. M., Fegan, C., Ramsay, A. G., Pepper, C., Devereux, S. & Buggins, A. G. S. Blood 2016 Jul 28;128(4):563-73. [IF 11.8]

Phenotypic heterogeneity in IGHV mutated CLL patients has prognostic impact and identifies a subset with increased sensitivity to BTK inhibition.  Andrea G.S. Buggins2*, Chris Pepper1*, Ceri H. Jones1, Elisabeth J. Walsby1, Francesco Forconi3, Guy Pratt4, Stephen Devereux2, Freda K.Stevenson3, Chris Fegan. Leukemia. 2015 Mar;29(3):744-7. [IF 12.1]

The effect of hydroxybenzoate calcium compounds in inducing cell death in epithelial breast cancer cells. Nada M Merghani, Amal Al Hazzaa, Eamon J G Mahdi, Abigail J Manning, Andrea G S Buggins, Chris Pepper, Jassem G Mahdi. Advances in Modern Oncology Research. 2015. Vol1(2) 122-131. 

Development and characterization of a physiologically relevant model of lymphocyte migration in chronic lymphocytic leukemia. Walsby E, Buggins A, Devereux S, Jones C, Pratt G, Brennan P, Fegan, Pepper C. Blood. 2014 Jun 5;123(23):3607-17. [IF 11.8]

Hamilton E, Pearce L, Morgan L, Robinson S, Ware V, Brennan P, Thomas NS, Yallop D, Devereux S, Fegan C, and *, Pepper C* and Buggins A.G.S* Joint senior author.  Mimicking the tumour microenvironment: three different co-culture systems induce a similar phenotype but distinct proliferative signals in primary chronic lymphocytic leukaemia cells. Br J Haematol. 2012 Sep;158(5):589-99. [IF 5.8]

Buggins AG, Levi A, Gohil S, Fishlock K, Patten PE, Calle Y, Yallop D, Devereux S.  Evidence for a macromolecular complex in poor prognosis CLL that contains CD38, CD49d, CD44 and MMP-9. Br J Haematol. 2011 May 14.1365-2141. [IF 5.8]

Pepper C*, Mahdi JG*, Buggins AG≠, Hewamana S, Walsby E, Mahdi E, Al-Haza'a A, Mahdi AJ, Lin TT, Pearce L, Morgan L, Bowen ID, Brennan P, Fegan C. Two novel aspirin analogues show selective cytotoxicity in primary chronic lymphocytic leukaemia cells that is associated with dual inhibition of Rel A and COX-2. Cell Prolif. 2011 Jun 6. 1365-2184. [IF 3.1]

Read more >