Giulia Biffi named as UKRI Future Leaders Fellow

Dr Giulia Biffi
Pancreatic Cancer Programme co-lead is recognised as one of the UK’s future science leaders to receive Government funding to help commercialise their innovations.

Dr Giulia Biffi has been awarded a £1.4 million Future Leaders Fellowship by United Kingdom Research and Innovation (UKRI).

She is one of nearly 100 of the UK’s most promising science and research leaders backed with a £113 million cash boost, Science Minister Amanda Solloway announced today, to help bring their innovative ideas from lab to market and provide bold solutions to tackle major global issues ranging from climate change to chronic disease.

Giulia, a Junior Group Leader at the CRUK Cambridge Institute and co-lead of the CRUK Cambridge Centre Pancreatic Cancer Programme since 2020, will use the funding for her research on developing new treatments for pancreatic cancer.

She said: “Pancreatic cancer is a real challenge. To be successful in improving patients’ survival we will need to tackle it from multiple fronts, including identifying new therapies for late-stage disease and new ways for early detection.

“My laboratory focuses on the non-cancerous components of the tumour microenvironment, which is up to 90% of the overall mass of pancreatic tumours. We are interested in understanding the nature of non-cancerous cells, how they interact with the cancer cells, and how we can stop tumour-promoting interactions to develop new effective combination treatments for pancreatic cancer patients.”

The Fellowship will enable Giulia and her team to determine how the diverse DNA mutations present in pancreatic cancer cells shape the non-cancerous microenvironment so to better stratify patients for targeted treatments.

The funding will also enable Giulia’s team to establish new models to selectively ablate non-cancerous but tumour-promoting populations, and to define how the metabolism of the non-cancerous microenvironment affects pancreatic cancer progression.

Delivered through UK Research and Innovation’s (UKRI) flagship Future Leaders Fellowships scheme – which aims to establish the careers of the next generation of world class British scientists – the investment will enable researchers at universities and businesses to progress their studies quickly by funding essential equipment and paying for researcher wages.

8 Sep 2021