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Dr Helen Pearson

Dr Helen Pearson


School of Biosciences

+44 (0)29 2068 8517
Hadyn Ellis Building, Maindy Road, Cardiff, CF24 4HQ

Research Overview

My research is exploring the relationship between genetic alterations and prostate cancer. I am particularly interested in the molecular mechanisms that underpin prostate cancer tumourigenesis, progression and therapeutic resistance. This knowledge is then applied to the development of new therapeutic approaches to treat prostate cancer.

I received my BSc from the University of East Anglia and my PhD from Cardiff University, where I developed and characterised novel models of prostate cancer. Following the award of my PhD in 2008, I undertook post-doctoral training at the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre in Australia, and in 2012 became an honorary fellow of Melbourne University and the inaugural Richard Pratt Foundation Fellow for prostate cancer research.

In 2016, I moved to Cardiff University and am currently a Marie Sklodowska-Curie Actions COFUND research fellow at the European Cancer Stem Cell Research Institute.

Honours and awards

2016 – 2020: Marie Slodowska Curie Actions/Horizon2020/Ser Cymru II Fellowship
2013 – 2014: Richard Pratt Foundation Prostate Cancer Research Fellowship/Victorian Cancer Agency

Professional memberships

2015  The Australian Society for Stem Cell Research (ASSCR)
2014  Australian and New Zealand Urogenital and Prostate (ANZUP) clinical trials group
2010  Australian and Canadian Prostate Cancer Research Alliance (AC-PCRA)
2005  European Association for Cancer Research (EACR)
2005  British Association for Cancer Research (BACR)
2004  Royal Society of Biology (RSB)

Academic positions

2016 – present: Research Fellow, European Cancer Stem Cell Research Centre, Cardiff University, Wales, UK
2012 – 2016:     Senior Research Officer, Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, Melbourne, Australia
2012 – 2016:     Honorary Fellow, University of Melbourne, The Sir Peter MacCallum Department of Oncology, Melbourne, Australia
2008 – 2012:     Junior Research Officer, Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, Melbourne,  Australia












My research into prostate cancer integrates basic cancer biology, biomarker discovery and the preclinical assessment of novel therapeutic approaches with the ultimate goal to improve upon the current standard of patient care. The research undertaken employs novel model systems to investigate genetic drivers of prostate cancer initiation and progression, and the preclinical development of innovative therapeutic strategies for prostate cancer.

Current projects and/or themes

  • Establishing how loss of cellular polarity contributes to prostate cancer
  • Delineating molecular mechanisms of resistance to androgen-deprivation therapy
  • Enhancing the therapeutic efficacy of PARP inhibition for the treatment of prostate cancer
  • Development of ex-vivo models for prostate cancer
  • Prostate cancer stem cells and the tumor microenvironment
  • Exploring how PI3K signaling contributes to prostate cancer

Current grant support

  • Tenovus Cancer Care
  • Knowledge Economy Skills Scholarships (KESS2)
  • Marie Sklodowska-Curie Actions, Horizons 2020 and Ser Cymru II
  • The Urology Foundation


  • Prof Wayne Phillips (Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, Melbourne, Australia)
  • Prof Owen Sansom (CRUK Beatson Institute, Glasgow, UK)
  • Prof Howard Kynaston (University Hospital Wales, Cardiff University, UK)
  • Prof John Staffurth (Rutherford Cancer Centre South Wales, UK)

Postgraduate Students

  • Miss Manisha Dass – KESS2/Tenovus Cancer Care PhD student
  • Mr Nicholas Bullock – Wales Clinical Academic Track (WCAT) fellow


  • Dr Richard Clarkson, The European Cancer Stem Cell Research Centre, Cardiff University