Professor James O’Connor studied medicine at Magdalene College, Cambridge where he obtained an MA in Ethics and the History and Philosophy of Science in 1995. He then undertook clinical studies at the Royal Free Hospital, London with an MBBS in 1998. His radiology training in the Manchester Radiology Training Scheme led to CCT in 2009.
His PhD thesis, awarded by The University of Manchester in 2009, evaluated how advanced image analysis could best quantify response to therapy in patients treated with angiogenesis inhibitors. He completed postdoctoral research in the laboratories of Professor Alan Jackson and Professor Geoff Parker at The University of Manchester, and was appointed Senior Lecturer in 2012, Reader in 2017 and Professor of Radiology in 2018.
He joined the ICR in 2020 as Team Leader in Quantitative Biomedical Imaging within the Division of Radiotherapy and Imaging.
Professor O’Connor develops and validates imaging biomarkers for decision making in both preclinical models and early phase clinical studies of novel therapies or novel combinations. Part of this work employs mathematical modelling of data to optimize use of imaging in drug development.
Professor O’Connor co-leads the Cancer Research UK National Cancer Imaging Translational Accelerator (NCITA), which spans seven leading sites in the UK – including the ICR and The Royal Marsden. He continues to work one day a week at The University of Manchester to deliver multicentre clinical studies between the ICR, Manchester and other UK centres and is currently an honorary consultant radiologist at The Christie Hospital in Manchester. He oversees the NCITA training and education programme in cancer imaging throughout the UK.
As an international leader in his field, Professor O’Connor led the EORTC and Cancer Research UK consensus statement on imaging biomarker validation, which has provided a roadmap for translating imaging biomarkers to benefit patient care throughout the world. He serves on the Cancer Research UK Experimental Medicine Expert Review Panel and the European Society of Radiology EIBALL committee.
Professor O’Connor was awarded a Cancer Research UK Advanced Clinician Scientist Fellowship in 2017, which transferred to ICR in 2020. This work focuses on developing and validating novel MRI biomarkers of hypoxia modification and immunomodulation in mouse models, and on translating these biomarkers for use in first-in-human studies. The overall goal of his work is to improve the success of translation of imaging biomarkers into tools that alter practice for patient benefit.
Professor O’Connor is married and has five children. Aside from relishing the company of family and friends, he enjoys reading history books, watching cricket, and enjoying comedy and foreign language drama.