Biography and research overview
Dr Julia Cockle works as part of the Glioma Team, and her research interest is to explore the tumour immune microenvironment of paediatric brain tumours to facilitate selection of immunotherapies. This work follows on from key themes of her PhD, which demonstrated the potential of oncolytic virotherapy for poor prognosis children’s brain tumours. She also worked as a research collaborator in the Department of Immunology at the Mayo Clinic, USA, investigating combination viroimmunotherapy with checkpoint inhibitors to treat glioma, based on location-specific, as opposed to histological, tumour profiling.
Since qualifying from medical school, Julia has undertaken dual academic and clinical training. Clinically, she has trained in paediatrics with sub-speciality RCPCH grid training in paediatric oncology and her specialist clinical interest in neuro-oncology. She was appointed as an NIHR Academic Clinical Lecturer at the ICR and The Royal Marsden in 2018.
Julia’s current research focuses on developing novel immunotherapeutic strategies for paediatric high-grade glioma (pHGG) and diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma (DIPG), which are high-risk children’s brain tumours associated with dismal outcomes. Immunotherapy, which encourages a patient’s own immune system to recognise and fight cancer, holds promise for poor prognosis childhood tumours, however not all patients respond. Julia’s work focuses on characterizing the tumour immune microenvironment (TIME) of pHGG and DIPG and exploring how this may be exploited to enhance the efficacy of existing immunotherapies. Moving forward, her study aims to select immunotherapy combinations that can “heat-up” a “cold” TIME, identifying strategies to be explored in early phase trials.