Tim’s research interests are focused on understanding the molecular changes that occur as cancers develop and evade destruction by our immune system. His goal is to apply these findings to enable earlier diagnosis and more effective therapy.
Tim’s group has made several important contributions, including the discovery that APOBEC enzymes (part of our innate immune response to viral infection) cause oncogenic driver mutations, thus directly contributing to cancer development. His group also helped to clarify the role of human papillomavirus infection in head and neck cancer causation and prognosis and developed a computational tool (MethylCIBERSORT), to allow estimation of the different cell types present in the tumour microenvironment using DNA methylation data from bulk tumour samples.
Regulation and function of the APOBEC3 enzymes in normal and cancer cells.
Head and neck cancer genomics (member of the head and neck cancer Genomics England Clinical Interpretation Partnership for the 100,000 genomes project).
Identification of therapeutic targets for HPV-associated malignancies.
Current PhD Students
Tim is an Associate Professor in Cancer Biology in School of Cancer Sciences and member of the Institute for Life Sciences. He obtained his BSc in Molecular Biology and Biochemistry from the University of Durham in 2001, followed by a PhD at the Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research, UCL with Prof Ivan Gout, studying the ribosomal S6 kinases (enzymes involved in the control of cell growth in response to nutrient and growth factor signals). In 2005 Tim took up a postdoctoral position in Prof Webster Cavenee’s lab at the University of California San Diego LICR branch, where he continued to work on growth factor signalling in cancer, uncovering a molecular mechanism that renders brain tumour cells resistant to drugs targeting the Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor. In 2011 Tim moved back to UCL, joining Prof Chris Boshoff’s Cancer Research UK Viral Oncology Lab as a senior research associate before gaining funding from Rosetrees Trust to establish his independent research, taking up a faculty position in the School of Biosciences as the University of Kent in April 2017, where he worked first as a Lecturer, then Senior Lecturer before moving to Southampton in January 2022.