Dr Shivan Sivakumar headshot

Dr Sivakumar joins the Institute of Immunology and Immunotherapy as an Associate Professor of Oncology. He is also an Honorary consultant in medical oncology at the University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust. He joins us from the University of Oxford where he was most recently a clinical career development fellow and an honorary consultant at Oxford University Hospitals NHS Trust.

He graduated from Barts and the London, Queen Mary’s School of Medicine, University of London in 2008 and undertook a PhD in Biochemistry at the University of Cambridge with post-doctoral studies in immunology at the University of Oxford. He undertook clinical training in Leeds, Wales and Oxford.

As a research active oncologist, Dr Sivakumar is most interested in improving the survival of patients with pancreatic cancer through finding better opportunities to diagnose the disease earlier, running clinical trials and informing new targets by studying the biology of the disease, with a view to translating these findings into improvements for patients.

Dr Sivakumar has cited the clinical expertise in the management of pancreatic cancer in Birmingham, combined with the strength of academic immunology, and ample access to patient samples, as major reasons for his move.

He also treats patients with pancreatic cancer, liver cancer and biliary tract cancer (together called HPB cancers) and has an active trials programme in this area. He has joined one of the largest oncology clinical practices for HPB cancers in Europe with the Queen Elizabeth Hospital seeing almost 500 new patients a year.

With over 150 pancreatic cancer operations happening each year here in Birmingham, it’s a fantastic place to do translational research that will ultimately impact on patient care and outcomes. Currently my research projects are using molecular genetics to determine who is cured from an operation and chemotherapy. I’m looking forward to working with clinical colleagues to look at novel immune drugs in the surgical setting to help develop novel therapeutic strategies.

Dr Shivan Sivakumar, Institute of Immunology and Immunotherapy

He has won to date several million pounds worth of funding from the public, private and charitable sectors. He has excellent links with the pharmaceutical sector and has brought an outstanding collaboration with Bristol Myers Squibb to Birmingham in pancreatic cancer. He sits on several national committees and most recently won the 2020 NCRI future of research award and was the 2023 Royal College of Physicians Linacre Lecturer.

“We’re delighted to have Dr Sivakumar join the team. His expertise will be a real asset in our mission to translate advances in our understanding of the immune response to cancer into therapeutic opportunities.” says Professor Ben Wilcox, Director of the Institute of Immunology and Immunotherapy.