Skip to main content
Dr Helen Pearson

Dr Helen Pearson

Senior Research Fellow

School of Biosciences

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


Prostate Cancer Translational Research Laboratory

European Cancer Stem Cell Research Institute, Cardiff University

Department of Biomedicine

Prostate cancer arises from multiple complex cellular processes that remain to be fully understood. Dr Pearson’s research into prostate cancer integrates basic molecular and cellular biology with preclinical trials to advance our understanding of prostate cancer biology, and to translate laboratory studies into improvements in patient care and outcome. To address this, the research undertaken incorporates the development and application of innovative preclinical model systems in collaboration with researchers, clinicians and industry.


I am a Cancer Research UK Research Fellow at the European Cancer Stem Cell Research Centre, Cardiff University. I graduated from the University of East Anglia in 2004 with a BSc in Biochemistry, following an exchange year at Colorado University (Boulder, USA). In 2004, I undertook my PhD at Cardiff University, where I developed several new models of prostate cancer, and moved to Australia to commence my post-doctoral training at the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre in Australia. In 2012, I became an honorary fellow of Melbourne University and the inaugural Richard Pratt Foundation Fellow for prostate cancer research. In 2016, I returned to Cardiff University as a Marie Sklodowska-Curie Actions COFUND research fellow and was awarded a Cancer Research Career Development Fellowship in 2019, enabling me to build my research group investigating the molecular mechanisms that underpin prostate cancer growth and therapeutic resistance. This knowledge is applied to the development of novel and more effective biomarkers and therapeutic approaches for prostate cancer.

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
  • Cancer Research UK
  • Cancer Research and Genetics UK (equipment)
  • Fight Back Against Cancer (equipment)


  • 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