Professor Suzanne Turner

University of Cambridge

University departments
Department of Pathology

Position: Professor
Personal home page:

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Professor Suzanne Turner is pleased to consider applications from prospective PhD students.

Research description

Our research focusses on dissecting mechanisms of lymphomagenesis using anaplastic large cell lymphoma (ALCL) as our working model. ALCL is asociated with expression of the Nucelophosmin-Anaplastic Lymphoma Kinase oncogene (NPM-ALK) generated as a result of the t(2;5). The consistent presence of this genomic abnormality with this specific disease phenotype suggests it plays a role in lymphomagenesis. We have generated mouse models demonstrating the causal role of NPM-ALK in the development of ALCL. We are now refining these models so that they more closely minic the human disease at both phenotypic and genetic levels. We are addressing several theories employing the mouse models; oncogene addiction, lymphoma initiating cells and the contribution of antigenic stimulation to lymphomagenesis. These research themes run alongside our ongoing efforts to elucidate the signal transduction pathways initiated by NPM-ALK and our efforts to generate ALK-specific inhibitor compounds. Our research also extends to understanding mechanisms of therapy resistance with a focus on ALK inhibitors used to treat ALCL, neuroblastoma and lung cancer. Applying CRISPR screens, we determine bypass signalling tracks that might be therapeutically targetable to re sensitise cells to ALK inhibitors or used as alternative treatment approaches.

Another aspect of our research focuses on Burkitt Lymphoma, a cancer of the B cells of our immune systems. Burkitt lymphoma was first described in children in Uganda by Denis Burkitt in what has become known as endemic Burkitt Lymphoma, a disease associated with EBV infection in malaria endemic regions. In contrast, in developing nations, Burkitt Lymphoma is of a sporadic form, in some cases also associated with EBV infection. Whether these 2 malignancies are biologically similar remains to be determined and is an area of research activity in our lab. In particular, we use patient derived xenografts of both forms in an effort to understand the pathogenesis of these cancers and therefore to discover less toxic treatment approaches. This work is conducted in collaboration with Dr Jackson Orem, executive director of the Uganda Cancer Institute in Kampala and a leading international figure of research into Burkitt Lymphoma.

Research Programme or Virtual Institute
Paediatric Cancer
Secondary Programme
Haematological Malignancies Virtual Institute
Methods and technologies
Cell culture
Clinical trials
Confocal microscopy
DNA sequencing
Fluorescence microscopy
Gene expression profiling
In vivo modelling
Model organisms
Protein biochemistry
Recombinant protein expression
Tumour type interests
Non-Hodgkin lymphoma
Recent publications:
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Key publications

1. Prokoph, N., Probst, N.A., Lee, L.C., Monahan, J.M., Malik, V., Liang, H-C., Sharma, G.G., Montes-Mojarro, I., Mota, I., Larose, H., Forde, S.D., Imamoglu, R., Matthews, J.D., Trigg, R., Ceccon, M., Ducray, S.P., Lobello, C., Janikova, A., Gambacorti-Passerini, C., Pospisilova, S., Kenner, L., Klapper, W., Jauch, R., Woessmann, W., Chiarle, R., Mologni, L., Merkel, O., Brugières, L., Geoerger, B., Barbieri, I., and Turner, S.D. (2020) Inflammatory networks drive resistance to drugs in ALCL, ALK+; the IL10R is up-regulated in response to consistent exposure to ALK inhibition. Blood, 136(14):1657-1669. doi: 10.1182/blood.2019003793

2. Larose, H., Prokoph, N., Mian, S., Nuglozeh, E., Fazaludeen, F.M.S., Elmouna, A., Ashankyty, I., Mologni, L., Gambacorti-Passerini, C., Ming-Qing Du1, Hoefler, G., Pospisilova, S., Woessmann, W., Blundell, T., Ali., Damm-Welk, C., Fedorova, A., Lamant, L., Schlederer, M., Kenner, L., Merkel O. and Turner, S.D (2020) A novel mutation in Notch1 contributes to the pathogenesis of ALCL. Haematologica, haematol.2019.238766. doi: 10.3324/haematol.2019.238766

3. Trigg, R.M.,* Lee, L.C.,* Prokoph, N.,* Jahangiri, L., Reynolds C.P., Burke, G.A.A., Probst, N.A., Han, M., Matthews, J.D., Lim, K.K., Manners, E., Martinez, S., Pastor, J., Blanco-Aparicio, C., Merkel, O., Garces de los Fayos Alonso, I., Kodajova, P., Tangermann, S., Högler, S., Luo, J., Kenner, L.* and Turner, S.D.* (2019) PIM1 inhibition enhances the sensitivity of high-risk aberrant 1 ALK-expressing neuroblastoma to ALK inhibition regardless of MYCN status. Nature Communications, DOI: 10.1038/s41467-019-13315-x
This publication was highlighted as an ‘editor’s choice’ in Science Translational Medicine: Joan Montero, (2019) A new hope for neuroblastoma treatment? Science Translational Medicine 11, 523, eaaz9769 DOI: 10.1126/scitranslmed.aaz9769

4. Forde, S., Matthews, J.D., Jahangiri, L., Lee, L.C., Malcolm, T.I., Bell, N., Bomken, S., Burke, G.A.A., and Turner, S.D. (2020) Paediatric Burkitt lymphoma patient-derived xenografts capture disease characteristics over time and are a model for therapy, British Journal of Haematology,

5. Malcolm, T*., Villarese, P*., Fairbairn, C., Lamant, L., Trinquand, A., Hook, C.E., Burke, G.A.A., Brugieres, L., Hughes K., Payet, D., Merkel, O., Schiefer, A., Ashankyty, I., Mian, S., Wasik, M., Turner, M., Kenner, L., Asnafi, V., Macintyre, E. and Turner, S.D. (2015) NPM-ALK mimics beta selection enabling thymic escape and peripheral lymphoma development. Nature Communications, 7, Article number: 10087 doi:10.1038/ncomms10087

6. Final Opinion on the safety of breast implants in relation to anaplastic large cell lymphoma. SCHEER WG on the safety of breast implants in relation to anaplastic large cell lymphoma (BIA-ALCL). SCHEER members: Wim H De Jong (Chair), Demosthenes Panagiotakos (Rapporteur), Ana Proykova, Theodoros Samaras. External experts: Mark Clemens, Daphne De Jong, Ingrid Hopper, Hinne Rakhorst, Fabio Santanelli di Pompeo, Suzanne Turner. On request from: European Commission, Adopted on: 26 March 2021

7. Turton, P., El-Sharkawi, D., Lyburn, I., Sharma, B., Mahalingam, P., Turner, S.D., MacNeil, F., Johnson, L., Hamilton, S., Burton, C. and Mercer, N. (2020) UK Guidelines on the Diagnosis and Treatment of Breast Implant-Associated Anaplastic Large Cell Lymphoma (BIA-ALCL) on behalf of the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) Plastic, Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgery Expert Advisory Group (PRASEAG). European Journal of Surgical Oncology Feb;47(2):199-210. doi: 10.1016/j.ejso.2020.07.043, co-publication in British Journal of Haematology Feb;192(3):444-458. doi: 10.1111/bjh.17194 and Journal of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery Jan;74(1):13-29. doi: 10.1016/j.bjps.2020.10.064

8. Okello, C.D., Niyonzima, N., Ferraresso, M., Kadhumbula, S., Ddungu, H., Tarlock, K., Balagadde, J., Omoding, A., Karagu, A., Mwaiselage, J., Harlan, J.M., Uldrick, T.S., Turner, S.D.* and Orem, J.* (2021) Review Series on Priorities in Haematological Care in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), Blood Cancers. Haematological Malignancies (HMs) in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA): East Africa as an exemplar for Improving Care in the Region. Lancet Haematology, In press

9. Moti, N., Malcolm, T., Hamoudi, R., Mian, S., Garland, G., Hook, C.E., Burke, G.A.A., Wasik, M., Merkel, O., Kenner, L., Laurenti, E., Dick, J.E. and Turner, S.D. (2014) Anaplastic Large Cell Lymphoma stem cells possess a gene expression profile reflective of an early thymic progenitor pointing to a primitive cell of origin. Oncogene, Apr 2;34(14):1843-52. doi: 10.1038/onc.2014.112

10. Laimer, D., Dolznig, H., Kollmann, K., Vesely, P.W., Schlederer, M., Merkel, O.,Schiefer, A., Hassler, M.R., Heider, S., Amenitsch, L., Thallinger, C., Staber, P.B., Simonitsch-Klupp, I., Artaker, M., Lagger, S., Turner, S.D., Pileri, S., Piccaluga, P.P., Valent, P., Messana, K., Landra, I., Weichhart, T., Knapp, S., Shehata, M., Todaro, M., Sexl, V., Höfler, G., Piva, R., Medico, E., Riggeri, B.A., Cheng, M., Eferl, R., Egger, G., Penninger, J.M., Jaeger, U., Moriggl, R., Inghirami, G. and Kenner, L. (2012) Identification of PDGFR blockade as a rational and highly effective therapyfor NPM-ALK driven lymphomas. Nature Medicine 18(11):1699-704