Congratulations to our students on passing their PhD vivas

University of Manchester Whitworth Hall

We are thrilled to extend our congratulations to students from the Manchester Cancer Research Centre and Cancer Research UK Manchester Centre who have recently passed their PhD vivas.

This significant milestone marks the culmination of years of hard work and determination but also the beginning of many promising new careers.

Many of our students who recently defended their theses celebrated in style at The University of Manchester’s winter graduation ceremony at Whitworth Hall on 11th December 2023.

Congratulations to the following postgraduate researchers on successfully completing their vivas:

  • Dr Hadiyat Ogunlayi, supervised by Prof. Cliona Kirwan whose project focused on “Investigating the procoagulant phenotype of normal and breast cancer-associated fibroblasts and their role in breast cancer.”
  • Dr Isabella Fornacon-Wood, supervised by Dr Gareth Price whose project focused on “Investigating the potential of real-world data to improve outcomes for patients with lung cancer.”
  • Dr Joanna Storer, supervised by Dr Kiran Batta whose project focused on “The functional and molecular alterations in human bone marrow mesenchymal stem cells in chronic myelomonocytic leukaemia.”
  • Dr Melanie Seaton, supervised by Dr Christine Schmidt whose project focused on “Developing cellular micromotors for improved management of ovarian cancer.”
  • Dr Sarah Hindmarch, supervised by Prof. David French whose project focused on “Optimising the delivery of breast cancer risk estimation to women aged 30-39 years: women’s views.”
  • Dr Chloe Patterson, supervised by Prof. Dan David whose project focused on “The effects of cyclooxygenase-2-mediated inflammation on the natural killer cell anti-tumour immune response.”
  • Dr Helen Hayes, supervised by Prof. Matt Sutton, whose project focused on “Economic issues in the delivery and organisation of services for early detection of cancer.”
  • Dr Nadin Hawwash, supervised by Prof. Andrew Renehan, whose project focused on “Adolescent and adulthood BMI And Cancer risk using obese-year metrics (ABACus 2).”
  • Dr Melissa Frizziero, supervised by Prof. Caroline Dive (CRUK MI) whose project focused on “Dissecting the Neuroendocrine Landscape of Extra-Pulmonary Neuroendocrine Carcinoma to Discover Biomarkers.”

We encourage all students, fellows, and their supervisors to share news of their vivas with us so that we can celebrate their success. You can get in touch with the MCRC Training team by emailing:

Sarah Hindmarch headshot

“Completing a PhD during the COVID-19 pandemic was certainly challenging but it was made easier by being part of a community who valued my contribution and supported my development as a researcher. I was very fortunate to be surrounded by and benefit from a community of like-minded researchers.” – Dr Sarah Hindmarch

Dr Hadiyat Ogunlayi

“After passing my PhD viva, I’m now set to return to The University of Manchester to complete my medical studies as part of my MB-PhD training programme. Once I graduate from medical school, I hope to become a clinical scientist and continue to be involved in cancer research alongside my clinical work.” – Dr Hadiyat Ogunlayi

Dr Isabella Fornacon-Wood during her graduation

“My advice for prospective students thinking of studying a PhD in Manchester is to choose your project and supervisor carefully; they are the ones who will guide you through your PhD and help you to become a great researcher. You will be spending years on the project so choosing a topic that really interests you is also key.” – Dr Isabella Fornacon-Wood


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