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Dr Kim Bull BSc, MSc, PhD

Lecturer B

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Kim Bull is a lecturer 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.

I began my university education as a mature student when I was 30 with three young children (aged 6, and twins, aged 4). With my roots in psychology, I have worked in the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Southampton since 1998 when I began working on projects relating to psychosocial outcomes in child and young adult survivors of cancer but then in 2001 my research focus changed to concentrate on quality of survival in children treated for brain tumours.

I was awarded my PhD in 2013 after many years devoted to studying while bringing up my children. Meeting affected families and getting to know them during my PhD fuelled my passion to improve the lives of these children. My work has largely been in relation to European treatment trials for childhood brain tumours and all my research has involved collaboration with academic partners in the UK and across Europe.

In spite of being charity funded to work on specific research projects most of the time, I have taken on education roles as well, mainly because I enjoy working with the students and working with young people to help them to achieve their goals.

Appointments held

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

  • Faculty of Medicine ethics committee. 
  • Faculty of Medicine Fitness to Practice Panel. 
  • Member of the Children’s Cancer and Leukaemia Group (CCLG) neuro-oncology special interest group. 
  • Member of the SIOP-Europe Brain Tumour Group and the Quality of Survival and Embryonal Tumours working groups. 
  • Member of the PNET5 and HRMB trial management groups. 
  • Member of the National Cancer Research Institute (NCRI) Children’s Cancer & Leukaemia Clinical Studies Group, CNS subgroup. 
  • Editorial Board member for Neuro-Oncology Practice. 
  • UHS Patient Reported Outcome Measures Steering Group in relation to UHS digital and My Medical Record. 
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Book Chapter




  • Faculty of Medicine psychology subject lead. 
  • Clinical and Experimental Sciences BM5 project coordinator. 
  • Head of Field Clinical Neurosciences student projects. 
  • BM5 project leaders group. 
  • Foundations of Medicine deputy module lead. 
  • BM5 Year 1 & 2 steering and assessment group. 
  • BM Foundations of Medicine tutor. 
  • BM student selected unit (SSU1) Foundations of Medicine Health Improvement facilitator. 
  • Personal academic tutor. 
  • MSc Health Psychology supervisor.

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, Room AB215, Mailpoint 801, South Academic Block, University Hospital Southampton, Tremona Road, Southampton, SO16 6YD

Room Number: SGH//MP803

Telephone:(023) 8120 3980

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