The Christie NHS Foundation Trust, an international leader in cancer treatment and research, has jointly appointed Professor Karen Kirkby, as Chair in Proton Therapy Physics for its planned Proton Beam Therapy Centre in Manchester, as part of the Manchester Cancer Research Centre (MCRC) senior academic recruitment campaign.
Employed by The Christie and The University of Manchester, Karen will be responsible for developing a programme of international leading proton research and innovation to deliver direct patient benefits. This goes from basic research, through pre-clinical and translational research to clinical trials and offers patients increased choices and expansion of treatment available. It also seeks to increase grant and commercial funding for clinical research as well as developing local and international proton research collaborations. Training the next generation of researchers in this multidisciplinary and rapidly developing field will be another important facet of the research being undertaken.
Karen, who leaves her role as Associate Dean for Research and Enterprise and Director of Science at the Ion Beam Centre at the University of Surrey to join The Christie, has over 30 years' experience in ion beam (such as protons) research and an interest in proton therapy which dates back to 2004, when she led an Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) network on the biomedical applications of ion beams. She will be joining The Christie on January 12th2015.
Karen said: "I'm really excited about my new role and joining The Christie. This job encompasses all the things l like most about the work I do and it will enable me to take my research to the next level. I have enjoyed coming up to Manchester and meeting colleagues and I'm looking forward to relocating. I'm honoured to be working with people of this calibre and I'm certain we can establish a centre that is world leading."
Roger Spencer, Interim chief executive at The Christie said: "Karen will be crucial member of the senior team here at The Christie. Her experience and expertise in proton beam physics and research is second to none and she will be instrumental in helping us achieve some of our ambitious goals, one of which is to become a world leading cancer centre. Patients are at the heart of everything we do at The Christie and our new proton centre will help us continue to deliver better patient outcomes."
The Christie is one of only two sites in the UK to be chosen to host a PBT centre, the other is University College London Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.
To be based at its Withington site in Manchester, the £125 million five storey building, which is to be located on Oak Road, is due to open in 2018 and will treat up to 750 patients per year at full capacity.
The Christie Proton Beam Therapy Centre will work in partnership with the facility being built at University College London Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.
The MCRC is a partnership between The Christie, The University of Manchester and Cancer Research UK that willhouse 150 scientists carrying out fundamental research, alongside 100 staff from The Christie working to support clinical trials.