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Professor Francesco Forconi MD, DM, PhD, FRCPath

Professor of Haematology, Honorary Consultant Haematologist

Professor Francesco Forconi's photo
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Professor Forconi is a clinical haemato-oncologist and cancer immunologist. His group investigates the pathogenesis of mature B-cell lymphomas and chronic lymphocytic leukaemias, with focus on the structure and the function of the tumour B-cell receptor, to refine their prognosis and therapy.

As a clinician and scientist, I aim to translate new knowledge from bench to bedside and to improve the lives of patients with haematological cancers. My research investigates the key molecules that govern the behaviour of cancer B lymphocytes and that can be targeted therapeutically in patients with lymphomas and leukaemias.

Professor Francesco Forconi graduated in medicine (summa cum laude) in 1996 and completed his specialist training in haematology (70/70 cum laude) in 2003 at the University of Siena, Italy. He intercalated his clinical training with a research fellowship in lymphoma at the University of Turin in Novara in 1998, and with a 3 year PhD programme in cancer B-cell immunology at the Tenovus Laboratories, University of Southampton, that he completed in 2002. In 2004 he was appointed as Professor Assistant and Consultant in Haematology at the University of Siena Hospital Trust, before moving back to Southampton in 2011.

Professor Forconi is the clinical scientific lead of the Academic B-cell Group at the School of Cancer Sciences, where he interacts with world-class PIs and scientists investigating microenvironmental interactions, cell signalling, (epi)genetics, and novel therapies of B-cell tumours. His Haematological Oncology Research Group focuses on the behaviour of mature B-cell neoplasms by analysis of the structure and function of the tumour B-cell receptor (BCR) in the most common leukaemia (Chronic lymphocytic leukaemia - CLL) and lymphomas (Follicular lymphoma and Diffuse large B-cell lymphomas). He is currently the author of >140 publications (>9700 citations, >1000 impact factor, h-index 49, i10-index 124) and leads several collaborative scientific projects nationally and internationally in Lymphoma and CLL, including the recent CRUK ECRIN-M3 accelerator programme on monoclonal B-cell lymphocytosis with international partners (2020-2025).

His clinical activity is primarily dedicated to the care of patients with lymphomas and CLL. In Southampton, he leads the lymphoid clinic service and is a UK chief investigator an/or a principal investigator in several phase I/II/III clinical trials using novel therapeutic agents against lymphomas/leukaemia.

Professor Forconi has been a member of the UK NCRI Haematological Oncology Clinical Studies Group and regularly engages actively with the UK NCRI CLL Subgroup. He has served the UK National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE) for several technology appraisals for novel agents in the clinical practice. He is an active core member of the Hairy Cell leukemia Foundation, USA and leads Southampton as a “Center of Excellence” for Hairy Cell Leukemia.  He is Editorial Board Member for Blood and regularly contributes as a reviewer for the major journals of clinical and scientific immunology, oncology and haematology, has chaired sessions at major international conferences including the American Society of Hematology (ASH) annual meetings, and has provided educational contributions at major haemato-oncology meetings including UK CLL forum, EHA, ASH, and ECCO/ESMO.


MD, Medicine and Surgery, University of Siena, Italy 1996

DM, Cancer Immunology, University of Southampton, 2001

PhD, University of Siena, Italy 2002

Specialist Haematologist, University of Siena, 2003

FRCPath, Royal College of Pathologists, London, 2013

Appointments held.

2004-2011 Professore Aggregato (Lecturer/Reader) and Consultant Haematologist, University of Siena, Italy

2011-2014 Senior Lecturer and Consultant Haematologist, University of Southampton, UK

Forconi group
Forconi group

Research interests

PhD Supervision

2008-2011 Elisa Sozzi (PhD) – University of Siena

2011 Anna Sicuranza (PhD) – University of Siena

2012-2016 Annalisa D’Avola – University of Southampton

2013-2016 Giorgia Chiodin – University of Padua, Italy

2015-2019 Sarah Wilmore – University of Southampton

2015-2020 Yohannes Gebreselassie – University of Southampton

2017-present - David Dutton – CRUK Clinical fellow (DM/PhD degree)

2020-2024: iPhD student supervisor (4 years, TBA)

PhD thesis viva-voce examiner

2018 Jul 20th - University of Leeds

2017 Oct 11th - University of Southampton

2016 Nov 24th - University of Liverpool

2014 Dec 18th - King's College London

Research Projects

Please find them on our Research Theme page

Currently active research projects

2020-2025 - Early Cancer Research Initiative Network on monoclonal B-cell lymphocytosis (ECRIN-M3) (CRUK Accelerator Award)

2020-2023-  Generation and development of anti-DC-SIGN antibodies to treat follicular lymphoma (CRUK Biotherapeutic Drug Discovery Project Award)

2020- 2024 - Origin, behaviour and therapy of follicular lymphomas by bioinformatic and functional analysis of modified tumour B-cell receptors (Keanu Eyles Cancer immunology Centre integrated PhD)

2018-2021- Investigating surface Ig glycans of follicular and diffuse large B-cell lymphomas for diagnosis, prognosis and therapy (Blood Cancer UK scientific project)

2017-2022 - B-cell receptor signalling in B-cell malignancies: Identifying strategies for optimal therapeutic intervention based on common and distinct responses

2016-present - A longitudinal observational study with phenotypic, functional and molecular characterization in real-world patients with mature lymphoid malignancies in the UK (University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust)
Mature Lymphoid Malignancies observation study

Mature lymphoid malignancies observational study: a study looking at the cells in lymphoma

Funded by Blood Cancer UK.


Cancer Sciences

Affiliate Department(s)

Cancer Sciences Research group, Blood Cancer UK

Chair of the Faculty of Medicine (FoM) Conference, 2019-present

School of Cancer Sciences Operations Board, 2018-present

Cancer Sciences Seminars Series organiser, 2012-2015

Editorial Boards

  • Blood, journal of the American Society of Hematology, Editorial board member (2020 – present)
  • EHA Editorial board Associate reviewer (Clinical Hematology Lymphoid malignancies section) at the EHA Executive Office Learning Center (2015 – present)
  • Clinical Hemorheology and Microcirculation, Editorial board member (2012- present)

Reviewer for major international Haematology journals: Nature Cancer (2019-present), Blood (2011-present), Blood advances (2018 – present), Science Reports (2019 – present), Clinical Cancer Research (2018-present), Haematologica (2000-present), Leukemia (2000-present), Cancer Research (2018-present), Oncotarget (2014-present), British Journal of Haematology (1998-present), Leukemia and Lymphoma (1998-present), Haematological Oncology (2010-present), Molecular Medicine (2015-present).

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Teaching at the University of Southampton

  • Deputy Module Leader  and Clinical Advisor for Cancer in the ELC Module (MEDI 2043), 2019-present
  • Head, Haematology Field (MEDI3048), Research projects - BM5 (A100), BM(EU) (A103) , BM6 (A102) undergraduate degrees, 2012-present
  • Supervisor, Haematology Field (MEDI3048), Research projects - BM5 (A100), BM(EU) (A103) , BM6 (A102) undergraduate degrees, 2012-present
  • Personal Academic Tutor (PAT), 2018-present
  • Educational Supervisor, Southampton University Hospital Trust (Wessex Deanery), 2015-present
  • Supervisor of EU Medical Students at the Haematology Dept, Southampton University Hospital Trust, 2015-present
  • Supervisor of International Fellows at the School of Cancer Sciences, University of Southampton, 2014-present
  • Supervisor for Masters in Medical Sciences, 2019-present

Teaching for non-UK academic organisations since 2011

  • European School of Oncology (ESO) and Ulm University, Germany - Certificate of Competence in Lymphoma (CCL) programme - topic Hairy Cell Leukemia (2013-present)
  • Lecturer (Professore Aggregato) in Haematology University of Siena, Italy (2018-present)
  • Academic Board of the PhD Programme in Medical Sciences and Biotechnology, University of Eastern Piedmont, Novara, Italy (2019-present)
Professor Francesco Forconi
Haematology Oncology Group | School of Cancer Sciences | Faculty of Medicine | University of Southampton | Room CS/B9, MP824 Somers Building, Southampton General Hospital, Tremona Rd, Southampton, SO16 6YD, UK
Tel: +44 (0)23 8120 5780 Email:

Room Number: SGH/Somers/MP824

Telephone:(023) 8120 5780

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