Dr Elaine Leung BSc (Med Sci) MBChB MRes AFHEA MRCOG PhD

Dr Elaine Leung

Institute of Cancer and Genomic Sciences
NIHR Academic Clinical Lecturer (Gynaecological Oncology)

Contact details

Institute of Cancer and Genomic Sciences
University of Birmingham
B15 2TT

Dr Elaine Leung is an NIHR Academic Clinical Lecturer in Gynaecological Oncology. 

Elaine relocated to Birmingham in Spring 2020 to strengthen her translational research portfolio in human cancer immunology in ovarian cancer. She has expertise on the influence of immunity on cancer outcomes and effectiveness of oncolytic viral therapies. 

Her current research programme focuses on the mechanistic importance of chemokines and their implications on immunotherapies in ovarian cancer. This work uses relevant in vivo murine models to dissect observations from primary human samples. 

Elaine has received funding from the Wellcome Trust, Cancer Research UK, Wellbeing of Women, the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists and Barts and the London Charity.


  • Accredited colposcopist (diagnosis and treatment), the British Society for Colposcopy and Cervical Pathology, 2019
  • PhD, University of Glasgow, 2018
  • Membership, Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (MRCOG), 2014
  • MRes in Clinical Research with Distinction, University of London, 2014
  • Associated Fellow, Higher Education Academy (AFHEA), 2013
  • Postgraduate Certificate in Learning and Teaching with Distinction, University of London, 2013
  • MBChB (Medicine), University of Glasgow, 2009
  • BSc (Med Sci) with first-class honours, University of Glasgow, 2007


Elaine has developed long-standing interests in the influence of immunity on cancer outcomes and responses to treatment since her intercalated BSc in 2007. She received her degree in medicine from the University of Glasgow in 2009. 

After her academic foundation programme in Glasgow, she started her specialty training in 2011 as an NIHR Academic Clinical Fellow in Women’s Health at the Royal London Hospital and Queen Mary, University of London. 

She was awarded her PhD after completing her Wellcome Trust Clinical Research Training Fellowship, supervised by Professor Iain McNeish (now at Imperial College) and Professor Gerry Graham (University of Glasgow). Her PhD was on the importance of NK cells on the effectiveness of oncolytic adenoviral therapy. 

Her current research portfolio focuses on the role of chemokines, which are highly conserved small cytokines that orchestrate immune cell migration, in ovarian cancer. She has continued her collaboration with Professor McNeish and Professor Graham (https://www.chemokineresearchgroup.org/) during her post-doctoral period. She relocated to Birmingham in 2020 to strengthen her translational research portfolio on immuno-oncology with the use of primary human samples and linked clinical data. She is currently funded by the NIHR, CRUK and Wellbeing of Women. 

Elaine has been an advocate for better research training and support for clinically-trained early career researchers. She was the Journal Club coordinator for BJOG: An International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology (2013-2016) and she is a webinar convenor for the British Gynaecological Cancer Society (2018-present). She founded local clinicians in research networks for undergraduates (2009-2013) and peri-doctoral researchers (2013-2015) in Glasgow. She is the current NIHR Clinical Lecturer representative in West Midlands. She is also an assessing panelist for the Athena Swan Awards for the Equality Challenge Unit. 


  • BGCS webinar convenor
  • Lectures for undergraduate and intercalated BSc students
  • Supervisor for 2 intercalated BSc students per year

Postgraduate supervision

Supervisor for 1 pre-doctoral clinical research fellow


  • Elucidating the influence of CCL21 on immunotherapies for ovarian cancer (2020-2023). Wellbeing of Women Postdoctoral Research Fellowship.
  • Deciphering the role of the CCR7/CCL21 chemokine axis in ovarian cancer (2019-2021). CRUK Postdoctoral Research Bursary.
  • NK Cells and Oncolytic Adenovirus in Ovarian Cancer (2014-2017). Wellcome Trust Clinical Research Training Fellowship and Cancer Research Fund, Barts and the London Charity.
  • Clinicians in Research Network (2016). The New Initiative Funds and the Chancellor’s Fund, University of Glasgow
  • Clinical Undergraduate Research Environment in Scotland (2014-2015); co-applicant. The Academy of Medical Sciences and the Wellcome Trust.
  • The INSPIRE programme (2013-2014); co-applicant. the Academy of Medical Sciences and the Wellcome Trust.
  • The Katherine Twining Trainee Network- Removing obstacles to research participation for Women’s Health doctors in training (2013); lead applicant. QMUL.

Research Groups:  The Chemokine Research Group 


Leung EYL, Ennis DP, Kennedy PR, Hansell C, Dowson S, Farquharson M, Spiliopoulou P, Nautiyal J, McNamara S, Carlin LM, Fisher K, Davis DM, Graham G, McNeish IA. NK Cells Augment Oncolytic Adenovirus Cytotoxicity in Ovarian Cancer. Mol Ther Oncolytics. 2020 Feb 15;16:289-301. PMID: 32195317.

Weigert M, Binks A, Dowson S, Leung EYL, Athineos D, Yu X, Mullin M, Walton JB, Orange C, Ennis D, Blyth K, Tait SWG, McNeish IA. RIPK3 promotes adenovirus type 5 activity. Cell Death Dis. 2017 Dec 13;8(12):3206. PMID: 29238045.

Leung EYL, McMahon JD, McLellan DR, Syyed N, McCarthy CE, Nixon C, Orange C, Brock C, Hunter KD, Adams PD. DNA damage marker phosphorylated histone H2AX is a potential predictive marker for progression of epithelial dysplasia of the oral cavity. Histopathology. 2017 Oct;71(4):522-528. PMID: 28543539.

Walton J, Blagih J, Ennis D, Leung EYL, Dowson S, Farquharson M, Tookman LA, Orange C, Athineos D, Mason S, Stevenson D, Blyth K, Strathdee D, Balkwill FR, Vousden KH, Lockley M, McNeish IA. CRISPR/Cas9-Mediated Trp53 and Brca2 knockout to generate improved murine models of ovarian high-grade serous carcinoma. Cancer Res. 2016 Oct 15;76(20):6118-6129. PMID: 27530326.

Ingemarsdotter CK, Tookman LA, Browne A, Pirlo K, Cutts R, Chelela C, Khurrum KF, Leung EYL, Dowson S, Webber L, Khan I, Ennis D, Syed N, Crook TR, Brenton JD, Lockley M, McNeish IA. Paclitaxel resistance increases oncolytic adenovirus efficacy via upregulated CAR expression and dysfunctional cell cycle control. Mol Oncol. 2015 Apr;9(4):791-805. PMID: 25560085.

Leung EYL, Siassakos D, Khan KS. Journal Club via social media: authors take note of the impact of #BlueJC. BJOG. 2015 Jul;122(8):1042-4. PMID: 26105632.

Leung EYL, Tirlapur SA, Meads C. The management of secondary lower limb lymphoedema in cancer patients: A systematic review. Palliat Med. 2015 Feb;29(2):112-9. PMID: 25135888.

Leung EYL, Tirlapur SA, Siassakos D, Khan KS. #BlueJC: BJOG and Katherine Twining Network collaborate to facilitate post-publication peer review and enhance research literacy via a Twitter Journal Club. BJOG. 2013. May;120(6):657-60. PMID: 23565946.

Leung EYL, Roxburgh CS, Talwar D, O'Reilly DS, McKee RF, Horgan PG, McMillan DC. The relationships between plasma and red cell vitamin b2 and b6 concentrations and the systemic and local inflammatory responses in patients with colorectal cancer. Nutr Cancer. 2012 May;64(4):515-20. Epub 2012 Mar 22. PMID: 22439733.

Leung EYL, Scott HR, McMillan DC. Clinical utility of the pretreatment glasgow prognostic score in patients with advanced inoperable non-small cell lung cancer. J Thorac Oncol. 2012 Apr;7(4):655-62. PMID: 22425914.

Leung EYL, Roxburgh CS, Leen E, Horgan PG. Combined resection and radiofrequency ablation for bilobar colorectal cancer liver metastases. Hepatogastroenterology. 2010 Jan-Feb;57(97):41-6. PMID: 20422869.

Leung EYL, Crozier JE, Talwar D, O'Reilly DS, McKee RF, Horgan PG, McMillan DC. Vitamin antioxidants, lipid peroxidation, tumour stage, the systemic inflammatory response and survival in patients with colorectal cancer. Int J Cancer. 2008 Nov 15;123(10):2460-4. PMID: 18729200.

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