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Student profiles

The Institute of Cancer Research attracts the very best science graduates and clinicians to carry out cutting-edge research and make the discoveries that defeat cancer. Our students enjoy working in a high-tech and collaborative environment, in which their research can be translated into direct benefits for patients.

Saira Khalique

Saira Khalique

Saira Khalique is carrying out a clinical research PhD in the Functional Genomics team, looking at novel therapeutic strategies in ovarian clear cell carcinoma.

What is your background?

I’m a doctor, a medical oncologist, and am in the process of undertaking my specialist training in London. I have taken time out of my training programme to carry out a period of in-depth research.

What are you studying now/who with?

I am carrying out a clinical research PhD in the Functional Genomics team, working with Dr Rachael Natrajan, Dr Chris Lord and Dr Susana Banerjee at the Chelsea site, looking at novel therapeutic strategies in ovarian clear cell carcinoma.

Why did you want to study at the ICR?

I have always been a curious person. As a medical oncologist, being able to use my laboratory research to improve treatment options available to patients is incredibly motivating.

The ICR has well established links with The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust (RMH) and this allows it to deliver on its bench to beside ethos.

What’s the best thing about working at the ICR?

Having access to cutting edge laboratory research tools allows me to study my particular area of interest in more depth, and the collaborative nature of the ICR means I can work with a number of different disciplines to further understand how best to tackle the clinical challenge.

I have an honorary contract with RMH and this association allows me to stay up to date with the latest clinical trials and incorporate clinical knowledge into my research. 

What do you do to unwind in your spare time?

I enjoy cooking and relaxing with my family, outdoor pursuits and watching French films.

One fun fact about you

I am a keen flyfisher.

Any tips/advice for future students?

Make the most of the courses that are on offer from the ICR’s Learning and Development team, and don’t be afraid to ask questions. Someone in the ICR will have sage advice.

Do you know what you want to do next?

After completing my PhD, I will complete my two years of clinical training in medical oncology. I definitely want to incorporate translational work in my clinical career.

What opportunities has studying at the ICR given you?

Studying at the ICR has given me the opportunity to interact with basic scientists, and respond to clinical challenges together.

During my time I have also been able to develop a clinical trial protocol and attend FLIMS, a competitive week long trial development programme run by ESMO and AACR.

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