Dr Tania Seale
Meet Dr Tania Seale, a postdoctoral researcher in the Manchester Lymphoma Group, Division of Cancer Sciences. Here, she talks about her research journey and her advice for prospective postdocs.
Postdoctoral projects: Late effects in Hodgkin lymphoma survivors and specifically looking at the potential for lung cancer screening in this group of survivors
Exploring pathways in the follow up of Hodgkin lymphoma survivors including the use of remote monitoring with bio markers
Establishing PPIE capacity for the Manchester Lymphoma Group through the EMERGE group
Type: Mixed method
Research group: The Manchester Lymphoma Group, Division of Cancer Sciences
Group Leaders: Prof. John Radford and Dr Kim Linton
My journey to becoming a Postdoc hasn’t been ‘traditional’ in my eyes. Starting my career as a nurse, and working predominantly in Haematological Oncology, I decided that I wanted to further apply my academic knowledge following many years working in clinical research within the NHS as a research nurse and research network team leader. I returned to university to complete a PhD which focused on the early diagnosis of myeloma, a blood cancer I had witnessed repeatedly diagnosed late with devastating results for patients I had cared for.
In February of last year, I joined the Manchester Lymphoma Group to work alongside some very prominent clinical researchers. The group’s main interest is in the late effects of treatment for lymphoma and I am lucky to work across a number of different projects in this area.
One of my projects is funded by Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation and focuses on patients who have been treated successfully for Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. Hodgkin’s Lymphoma can occur in the late teens/early adolescence and is treated very successfully. However, because of the type of treatment patients receive, such as radiotherapy to the chest area, survivors have an increased risk of second cancers in later life. On this project I am looking to develop a screening programme for lung cancer which would catch second lung cancer early when it is more treatable by surgery which can then reduce mortality for survivors.
Our research group has worked hard to include the lymphoma patients’ voice in our research. We have recognised that we could do more here though and I have set up a Patient, Public Involvement and Engagement Group (PPIE) to help underpin the work and strategic objectives of the group.
I was attracted to this role as I have a background in blood cancers and this role combines both my clinical interest and experience in blood cancer as well as my academic knowledge and the skills I gained completing my PhD. Although I have worked in the area of early diagnosis of cancer, as an academic, I also appreciate how important survivorship is, possibly because I have seen patients through treatment and follow up care. This lung cancer screening project sits within both areas.
I’ve joined a very dynamic group, which is fantastic, and it’s great to work alongside a group of such motivated clinicians and researchers. I feel part of a much wider group of researchers who are all share the same collective ethos.
For those wanting to apply for a PhD, my ‘sound’ advice would be to look at a group’s publication history first, but also look at how the team interact and how happy they all are working together. Do an informal visit to find this out, meet the group, to see how they interact and how happy the researchers and students are within that group. Being able to work within a good team where you feel supported and valued will hold you in good stead to complete your PhD and gain a great experience and good memories. I was very lucky to have had that experience and wish it for other PhD students.
I've worked in Haematological Oncology for the entirety of my career, and so the outcomes of people with blood cancer are really important to me. I consider my research journey to be part of a wider healthcare structure and my ultimate goal is about improving the experience and outcomes for patients.
Dr Tania Seale
Postdoc in The Manchester Lymphoma Group, Division of Cancer Sciences
Blood Cancer Awareness Month
I’ve worked in Haematological Oncology for the entirety of my career, and so the outcomes of people with blood cancer are really important to me. I consider my research journey to be part of a wider healthcare structure and my ultimate goal is about improving the experience and outcomes for patients.
I feel privileged to have access to all this shared knowledge within the team and I’m very mindful of the resource that we are given to do our work and where that comes from. Often it’s charity money that supports our research and people have gone out and run marathons or jumped out of planes or baked cakes for it. That actually pays my wage, and it reaffirms that my wages fund research that is about making a difference.
It has been great to see translational work coming to fruition in the clinic with novel drugs being available for patients. I hope as a research group that we can continue to improve outcomes for patients with blood cancer by continuing to drive forward with our research.
This blood cancer awareness month, I want to thank all of those people who have donated to make our research possible and would like to highlight all the great things we have been able to achieve.