Major Local Cancer Research Grants Announced by Big C

9th March 2018

From L-R – Prof. Colin Cooper Dr Stephen Robinson Dr Lindsay Hall and Dr Daniel Brewer

Norfolk’s cancer charity Big C, has announced major grant awards for two cancer research projects taking place at Norwich Research Park, totalling over £200,000.

The charity received 14 research grant applications during the annual round, which were open to all research projects with a benefit to cancer patients, whether quantitative, qualitative or mixed methodology. Applications were subject to peer reviews and consideration by a Research Advisory Panel of independent scientific experts and Big C trustees, which decided on the grant awards.

One of the projects which has secured funding is by Dr Lindsay Hall from the Quadram Institute, working with Dr Stephen Robinson at the University of East Anglia. The research will look at the role of the gut microbiota in breast cancer and explore some evidence that the bacteria which naturally live in our gut can have an impact on surviving breast cancer.

The second by Dr Dan Brewer working with Professor Colin Cooper at the Bob Champion Research and Education Building at the UEA will research into discovering new sub types of cancer. Dividing the disease in to groups is important to help predict survival, inform treatment options and suggest new drug treatment strategies to improve the lives of those affected by cancer. The research will look at applying a computerised approach to big data to identify and characterise new sub types of disease.

Dr Lindsay Hall says “We are delighted that Big C has given us the opportunity to profile the gut microbiota of breast cancer patients as they go through their treatment. We see these studies at the forefront of understanding how our gut microbes impact on disease outcomes, and data generated will prove crucial for development of new cancer therapies.”

Dr Dan Brewer says, “I am really thankful to Big C and all the volunteers and fundraisers that support them for this exciting opportunity to apply cutting edge mathematical techniques to help define novel subgroups of cancer. This funding will also enable us to train a world-class scientist at the key interface between cancer and bioinformatics who will have all the skills required to continue cancer research in this era of big data and personalised medicine.”

Dr Chris Bushby, Chief Executive at Big C, said “Everyday Big C is helping to discover more ways to understand and effectively treat cancer. We are extremely proud to fund ground-breaking projects taking place right here in Norfolk at the world-renowned Norwich Research Park. The calibre of the work and those involved is exciting and none of this funding would be possible without public support within the region.”

The funding for all Big C research grants comes directly as a result of donations, legacies and fundraising initiatives from both individuals in the local community and corporate supporters. Big C also has 13 retail outlets across Norfolk and Waveney.

To learn more about the work Big C does to improve the lives of those affected by cancer in Norfolk and Waveney, please visit

The Hall Lab at the Quadram institute is currently looking to recruit a creative and motivated PhD candidate to this project. The goal of this 4 -year Big C PhD studentship is to understand how microbiota profiles in BC patients compares to healthy volunteers, how these differences relate to immune responses and clinical readouts, and determine impact of specific microbes on immune responses using in vitro models. This is a multidisciplinary project and a variety of techniques will be utilised throughout the PhD including clinical cohort management, microbiota sampling and processing, bioinformatics, microbiological and cell culture, and immune assays.

For more information, please see:

Applications close 5th April 2018

Related People

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Targeting cancer


Targeting the understanding of the microbiome

Understanding the Microbiome

Related Research Groups

Hall Group

Lindsay Hall

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