Rik studied Medicine at the University of Birmingham from 1990-95. After qualifying he worked as a House Officer at Birmingham Heartlands Hospital and The Queen Elizabeth Hospital. Following his year of house jobs, Rik was appointed to a one year post as a Temporary Lecturer in Anatomy (“Anatomy Demonstrator”) and commenced work for Membership of The Royal College of Surgeons of England (MRCS). In 1997 Rik became a basic Surgical Trainee, and spent six-month posts as Senior House Officer in Trauma and Orthopaedics, Paediatric Surgery, General Surgery, Urology, Renal Transplant Surgery and Vascular Surgery. He was awarded MRCS in June 1999.
Following completion of his Basic Surgical Training, Rik entered research and was appointed as a Urology Research Registrar at The Queen Elizabeth Hospital, supervised by Professor Nick James and Mr. Mike Wallace and with responsibility for Astra-Zeneca’s “Capri” trial in prostate cancer. During this time, Rik was awarded an MRC Research Training Fellowship and commenced a PhD project entitled “the molecular pathogenesis of local invasion of transitional cell carcinoma of the human urinary bladder: the role of cadherins, catenins, and catenin-regulated transcription”, supervised by Professor Janusz Jankowski and Mr. Mike Wallace. His PhD was awarded in July 2007.
Rik returned to clinical urology as a Specialist Registrar in October 2003, with postings at The County Hospital, Hereford, and The Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Birmingham. During this time, and alongside his colleagues Mr. Mike Wallace, Professor KK Cheng, Professor Maurice Zeegers, and Professor Nick James, he also commenced writing a bladder cancer research programme grant that was subsequently funded £2million by Cancer Research UK to become the Bladder Cancer Prognosis Programme (BCPP). Rik spent time “out of programme” in 2005 and 2006 to assist with the set-up of this ambitious programme of research, and then left clinical urology in 2007 to concentrate on bladder cancer research as a Research Fellow in the Department of Public Health, Epidemiology and Biostatistics. As BCPP expanded, and as the basic science and translational research opportunities grew, Rik was appointed as a Senior Research Fellow by the School of Cancer Sciences in May 2009. In January 2011, with BCPP having recruited over 1500 patients, Rik took up the role as BCPP Chief Investigator.
Rik has a broad bladder cancer interest, reflected by his publications and a number of productive collaborations with colleagues within the School of Cancer Sciences and beyond. These include improving optical diagnosis and bladder cancer treatment (eg. narrow band imaging), biomarker discovery (utilising proteomics, metabolomics, and next generation sequencing), tumour immunology, and pathway-based cell biology (eg. cadherin switching, cancer stem cells). As well as his own research, Rik also sits on the steering committees of a number of international clinical trials, and is a reviewer for a number of urology and basic science journals.