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Dr Kim Bull BSc, MSc, PhD

Senior Research Fellow

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Kim Bull is a senior research fellow within Clinical and Experimental Sciences in the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Southampton.


No-one can prevent a tumour developing in a child’s brain but we must try to lessen its impact on the child’s quality of life.

As a Senior Research Fellow within Clinical and Experimental Sciences in the Faculty of Medicine but with my roots in psychology, my research focuses on quality of life of children treated for brain tumours. Meeting affected families and getting to know them during my PhD fuelled my passion to improve the lives of these children.

“No-one can prevent a tumour developing in a child’s brain but we must try to lessen its impact on the child’s quality of life.”

I began working at the University of Southampton in 1998 on projects relating to psychosocial outcomes in child and young adult survivors of cancer but since 2001 my research focus has been on quality of survival in children treated for brain tumours nationally and internationally. My PhD was a longitudinal study of quality of life in 110 children throughout England and Wales aged 8-14 years, two thirds of whom were within three years of diagnosis of a cerebellar tumour. The study highlighted the importance of asking children themselves about their own quality of life.

Appointments held

January 2016 to present – Senior Research Fellow
July 2013 to December 2015 – Research Fellow 
September 2001 to June 2013 – Senior Research Assistant 
September 1998 to August 2001 – Research Assistant

Research interests

  • I am co-investigator and the Quality of Survival (QoS) lead for the CRUK funded SIOPE RCT International prospective study on clinically high-risk medulloblastoma, the commonest malignant brain tumour of childhood, in children older than three years.  This study is currently in set up including finalising the study protocol in preparation for the 15 other European countries to apply for national funding to join the trial. In preparation for this protocol, I facilitated and brought to fruition a consensus among neuropsychologists across Europe, mainly Germany, France, Belgium, and the UK, for a hierarchy of neuropsychological assessments to be used in the trial based on our position paper (Limond et al., 2015). My role in this study will be to oversee and to coordinate the collection of QoS data for the whole study and to coordinate the development of the online platform KLIK to enable this across Europe.  I will also lead on subsequent QoS publications.
  • I am co-investigator and the project coordinator (funded by the Brain Tumour Charity) for the PROMOTE study (Patient Reported Outcome Measures Online To Enhance Communication and Quality of Life after childhood brain tumour) (  I am responsible for managing all aspects of this study along with the PI which includes the development of an online intervention called KLIK (in collaboration with colleagues in the Netherlands and the Universities of Exeter, Nottingham, and University College London Hospitals) and testing its feasibility (in Southampton, Nottingham, and Great Ormond Street Hospital) (  We aim to answer the research question:  Is it feasible to ask children with brain tumours, and their parents, about their health, well-being, and concerns, online and then discuss this information with clinicians during routine appointments in outpatient clinics with the aim of enhancing child-clinician-parent communication, the child's quality of life (QoL), and to improve follow-up treatment plans?  
  • I am the UK national and international quality of survival (QoS) coordinator (funded by The Brain Tumour Charity) for PNET5, the current European treatment RCT for medulloblastoma.  I am a member of the Trial Management Group in the UK and I am responsible for managing and advising on the collection of QoS data in 15 European countries. In nine of these, data will be collected using a web-based on-line tool that enables patients and parents to enter data themselves on PCs and laptops at home or in clinic in their own European language using the Neuro-Oncology Module on HealthTracker© (HT). I took the lead in developing this module from age-specific questionnaires, working with software developers at HT to fix many 100s of bugs. In addition I led the development of some of the questionnaires from which the module was developed. I have been working with children’s cancer treatment centres across Europe through their national lead teams and I am responsible for QoS data coordination, management, and analysis.
  • I am working with researchers from the University of Newcastle to collate and analyse data from patients with medulloblastoma who had been enrolled in PNET3 and PNET4 to see if the association between molecular subgroups of medulloblastoma and QoS that we found in PNET3 patients holds true in a larger sample.
  • I acted as the international QoS data coordinator for PNET4 and liaised with lead clinicians across Europe to create bundles of assessment measures in seven European languages.  I collated and analysed the data and was joint first author with Colin Kennedy in the subsequent publication IJROBP, the premier radiation oncology journal
  • In preparation for PNET5 I played a key role in working with software providers HealthTracker© to create a web-based on-line version of the same bundles of outcome measures that we had used successfully in PNET4.  This task was funded within work package 13 of the European Network for Cancer Research in Children and Adolescents (ENCCA) Network of Excellence research programme (European Commission FP7 research programme).  The on-line measurement tool is now in use in eight languages in the current PNET5 European study which opened to recruitment in 2014.
  • I undertook a longitudinal study of quality of life in 110 children throughout England and Wales aged 8-14 years each of whom was assessed in their homes with questionnaires, interviews, and direct psychometric assessments on three occasions over a 24 month period.  Two thirds of the group were within three years of diagnosis of a cerebellar brain tumour and the remaining third was a non-tumour comparison group drawn from the same schools and year groups.  This created a unique set of longitudinal data with a remarkably low attrition rate and complete longitudinal information on over 90% of eligible cases.  This has provided robust findings on the pre-eminent importance of children’s reports of their emotional and cognitive function for the prediction of their reports of their health-related quality of life.  My report of the value of questionnaire measures of quality of life and of emotional and behavioural health in screening for cognitive deficit was reported in Neuro-Oncology, the premier Neuro-oncology journal.

Previous undergraduate medical student projects

Systematic reviews:

  • The Impact of Active Video Gaming on the Well Being of Childhood Brain Tumour Survivors: A Systematic Review
  • Quality of Life in Long-term Survivors of Paediatric Low-grade Glioma: A Systematic Review
  • A systematic review comparing emotional functioning in adolescent brain tumour survivors with survivors of other cancers
  • Long-Term Psychosocial Outcomes of Paediatric Craniopharyngioma Survivors: A Systematic Review
  • Internet and mobile phone interventions for improving social functioning in adolescent-and-young-adult survivors of childhood brain injury: A systematic review

Research projects:

  • Acceptability and Usability of SISOM; an interactive tool to aid communication in Paediatric Oncology. With two BMedSc students, I collaborated with researchers at the Centre of Shared Decision Making and Collaborative Care Research at the University of Oslo in Norway to create a version of SISOM which is suitable for use in the UK. SISOM is an interactive computer programme which allows children with cancer to communicate their symptoms and problems.
  • Exploring the Views of Medical Students regarding Patient Involvement in the Undergraduate Medical Curriculum.
  • Sailing as an intervention to enhance the psychosocial wellbeing of children and young adults with cancer. With a BMedSc student I collaborated with the Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust to conduct a qualitative analysis of the open ended questions from the Trust’s feedback questionnaires collected from the young sailors during the 2013 sailing season. Sailing as an intervention was shown to enhance psychosocial well-being in the participating children and young adults treated for cancer.
  • Adaptation and Validation of Cancer Needs Questionnaire – Young People (CNQ-YP) for use in children with cancer – parent proxy-report (Winner of the Cow and Gate Prize 2012 for the best report of a BMedSc Project concerned with aspects of paediatrics, child health or nutrition).
  • Emotional and behavioural functioning in children with cancer and their siblings.

Previous Masters student projects

  • Neuro-Oncology Rehabilitation Services in the UK for Children and Young Adults: Are Needs Being Met? (MSc Health Psychology)
  • A detailed exploration of the use of home video somnography in chronic insomnia in child brain tumour survivors (MMedSc)


Clinical and Experimental Sciences

Responsibilities tab

  • I am a member of the Quality of Survival Group of the Brain Tumour Group of the International Society of Paediatric Oncology – Europe. This group meets annually to discuss quality of survival issues within the context of European treatment trials for paediatric brain tumours.
  • I am a graduate member of the British Psychological Society
  • Associate member of the Children’s Cancer and Leukaemia Group (CCLG) and the neuro-oncology special interest group
  • I am a member of the Pan-European Network for Care of Survivors after Childhood and Adolescent Cancer (PANCARE) and on the PANCARE Research Committee
  • I am on the Editorial Board of Neuro-Oncology Practice
  • I am a BM programme selector
  • I am Head of Field for Clinical Neurosciences projects for year 3 medical students
  • I am a member of the Faculty of Medicine ethics committee
  • I am a member of the UHS PROMs Steering Group in relation to UHS digital and MyMedicalRecord
  • I am a member of the National Cancer Research Institute (NCRI) Children’s Cancer & Leukaemia Clinical Studies Group, CNS subgroup
  • I am a STEM ambassador and regularly take part in ‘meet the scientist’ sessions in LifeLab
  • I am an associate member of the International Society of Paediatric Oncology (SIOP) and member of the SIOP Paediatric Psycho-Oncology group
  • I am a personal academic tutor for two BM4 students and two BM5 students
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Book Chapter




Undergraduate and postgraduate research supervision

Enhancing child-clinician-parent communication, quality of life, and improving follow-up treatment for children diagnosed with a brain tumour.

Dr Kim Bull
Faculty of Medicine, University of Southampton, Building 85, Life Sciences Building, Highfield Campus, Southampton, SO171BJ

Room Number: SGH/CG77/MP803

Telephone:(023) 8120 3980

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