Mr Neil Sharma

Institute of Cancer and Genomic Sciences
Clinician Scientist
Consultant Head and Neck Surgeon

Contact details

2nd Floor, Robert Aitken Building
Institute of Cancer and Genomic Sciences
University of Birmingham
B15 2TT

Neil Sharma is a Clinician Scientist and practising Consultant Head and Neck Surgeon, with a lead role in the thyroid cancer service at University Hospital Birmingham.

Neil’s main research interest lies in clinical and translational studies in to head and neck cancer, particularly thyroid cancer.  He is also involved in developing sustainable research and development programmes in head and neck cancer in the Global South.


  • FRCS (ORL-HNS), Royal College of Surgeons of England, 2016
  • PhD, University of Birmingham 2014
  • DOHNS, Royal College of Surgeons of England 2007
  • MBChB, University of Birmingham 2002


Neil graduated from University of Birmingham in 2002, and completed his higher training in Otolaryngology, head and neck surgery in 2017. He was awarded his PhD in 2014, for work examining the role of a novel proto-oncogene in the aetiology of thyroid cancer, and continued further post-doctoral research in Birmingham while completing his clinical training. 

Neil received further advanced Head, Neck and Endocrine surgery training in Auckland, New Zealand, in 2017-2018 then returned to University of Birmingham as a Clinician Scientist in August 2018. He also works as a Consultant Head and Neck Surgeon at University Hospital Birmingham where he has taken a lead on the development of the thyroid cancer service. 

Neil has a strong clinical and translational research interest in thyroid cancer, and is also co-leading a programme to improve head and neck cancer treatment delivery in the Global South.

Further information is available on Neil's website.



Neil’s main research interest is in the field of novel diagnostic and treatment modalities for thyroid cancer. He is on the Trial Management Group for the ElaTION trial, examining the role of ultrasound elastography in the risk stratification of thyroid nodules. He is also assessing the joint role of ultrasound and fine needle aspiration in the diagnosis of thyroid cancer. Other ongoing studies include the use of radiofrequency ablation for thyroid cancer, and the de-escalation of treatment for low risk thyroid cancer.

In the translational setting, he is working on the utility of circulating DNA in the diagnosis and detection of thyroid cancer, as part of a wider study examining its role in head and neck cancer as a whole. His laboratory research background is in the molecular biology of thyroid cancer, utilising mass spectrometry to identify potential treatment targets. 

Neil is also working as part of a group seeking to develop sustainability and effectiveness of cancer, in the first instance head and neck cancer, research in Low and Middle Income Countries, with the aim of improving the treatment options for these patients.

Neil also has a firm commitment to collaborative research, being co-founder of the INTEGRATE, the National ENT Trainee Research Network, bringing together ENT trainees from across the country to carry out high quality research and audits.

Research Group: InHANSE

Other activities

  • Consultant Head and Neck Surgeon, University Hospital Birmingham, 2018 to present


Mehanna H, Robinson M, Hartley A, Kong A, Foran B, Fulton-Lieuw T, Dalby M, Mistry P, Sen M, O'Toole L, Al Booz H, Dyker K, Moleron R, Whitaker S, Brennan S, Cook A, Griffin M, Aynsley E, Rolles M, De Winton E, Chan A, Srinivasan D, Nixon I, Grumett J, Leemans CR, Buter J, Henderson J, Harrington K, McConkey C, Gray A, Dunn J; De-ESCALaTE HPV Trial Group. Radiotherapy plus cisplatin or cetuximab in low-risk human papillomavirus-positive oropharyngeal cancer (De-ESCALaTE HPV): an open-label randomised controlled phase 3 trial. Lancet. 2019 Jan 5;393(10166):51-60.

Payne K, Spruce R, Beggs A, Sharma N, Kong A, Martin T, Parmar S, Praveen P, Nankivell P, Mehanna H. Circulating tumor DNA as a biomarker and liquid biopsy in head and neck squamous cell carcinoma. Head Neck. 2018 Jul;40(7):1598-1604. 

Fussey JM, Bryant JL, Batis N, Spruce RJ, Hartley A, Good JS, McCabe CJ, Boelaert K, Sharma N*, Mehanna H*. The Clinical Utility of Cell-Free DNA Measurement in Differentiated Thyroid Cancer: A Systematic Review. Front Oncol. 2018 Apr 30;8:132. (joint senior author) 

Smith ME, Hardman J, Ellis M, Williams RJ; INTEGRATE (The National ENT Trainee Research Network). ENT audit and research in the era of trainee collaboratives. Eur Arch Otorhinolaryngol. 2018 Jul;275(7):1935-1938. 

Szewczyk M, Golusinski W, Pazdrowski J, Masternak M, Sharma N, Golusinski P. Positive fresh frozen section margins as an adverse independent prognostic factor for local recurrence in oral cancer patients. Laryngoscope. 2018 May;128(5):1093-1098

INTEGRATE (The National ENT Trainee Research Network). Epistaxis 2016: national audit of management. J Laryngol Otol. 2017 Dec;131(12):1131-1141. 

INTEGRATE (The National ENT Trainee Research Network). The British Rhinological Society multidisciplinary consensus recommendations on the hospital management of epistaxis. J Laryngol Otol. 2017 Dec;131(12):1142-1156. 

Mehta N, Williams RJ, Smith ME, Hall A, Hardman JC, Cheung L, Ellis MP, Fussey JM, Lakhani R, McLaren O, Nankivell PC, Sharma N, Yeung W, Carrie S, Hopkins C. Can trainees design and deliver a national audit of epistaxis management? A pilot of a secure web-based audit tool and research trainee collaboratives. J Laryngol Otol. 2017 Jun;131(6):518-522. 

Nepogodiev D, Chapman SJ, Kolias AG, Fitzgerald JE, Lee M, Blencowe NS; National Surgical Research Collaborative. The effect of trainee research collaboratives in the UK. Lancet Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2017 Apr;2(4):247-248. 

STARSurg Collaborative. Students' participation in collaborative research should be recognised. Int J Surg. 2017 Mar;39:234-237. 

Watkins RJ, Imruetaicharoenchoke W, Read ML, Sharma N, Poole VL, Gentilin E, Bansal S, Bosseboeuf E, Fletcher R, Nieto HR, Mallick U, Hackshaw A, Mehanna H, Boelaert K, Smith VE, McCabe CJ. Pro-invasive Effect of Proto-oncogene PBF Is Modulated by an Interaction with Cortactin. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2016 Dec;101(12):4551-4563.

Essig GF Jr, Porter K, Schneider D, Arpaia D, Lindsey SC, Busonero G, Fineberg D, Fruci B, Boelaert K, Smit JW, Meijer JA, Duntas LH, Sharma N, Costante G, Filetti S, Sippel RS, Biondi B, Topliss DJ, Pacini F, Maciel RM, Walz PC, Kloos RT. Multifocality in Sporadic Medullary Thyroid Carcinoma: An International Multicenter Study. Thyroid. 2016 Nov;26(11):1563-1572.

ENT Trainee Research Collaborative – West Midlands. National prospective cohort study of peritonsillar abscess management and outcomes: the Multicentre Audit of Quinsies study. J Laryngol Otol. 2016 Aug;130(8):768-76. 

Read ML, Seed RI, Modasia B, Kwan PP, Sharma N, Smith VE, Watkins RJ, Bansal S, Gagliano T, Stratford AL, Ismail T, Wakelam MJ, Kim DS, Ward ST, Boelaert K, Franklyn JA, Turnell AS, McCabe CJ. The proto-oncogene PBF binds p53 and is associated with prognostic features in colorectal cancer. Mol Carcinog. 2016 Jan;55(1):15-26. 

Hardman JC, Smith JA, Nankivell P, Sharma N, Watkinson JC. Re-operative thyroid surgery: a 20-year prospective cohort study at a tertiary referral centre. Eur Arch Otorhinolaryngol. 2015 Jun;272(6):1503-8. 

Smith JA, Sharma N, Nankivell P, Watkinson JC. The presentation, natural history and outcome of T1 a/b thyroid cancer with regard to new grading systems. Eur Arch Otorhinolaryngol. 2015 Feb;272(2):439-44. 

Read ML, Seed RI, Fong JC, Modasia B, Ryan GA, Watkins RJ, Gagliano T, Smith VE, Stratford AL, Kwan PK, Sharma N, Dixon OM, Watkinson JC, Boelaert K, Franklyn JA, Turnell AS, McCabe CJ. The PTTG1-binding factor (PBF/PTTG1IP) regulates p53 activity in thyroid cells. Endocrinology. 2014 Apr;155(4):1222-34.

Lewy GD, Ryan GA, Read ML, Fong JC, Poole V, Seed RI, Sharma N, Smith VE, Kwan PP, Stewart SL, Bacon A, Warfield A, Franklyn JA, McCabe CJ, Boelaert K. Regulation of pituitary tumor transforming gene (PTTG) expression and phosphorylation in thyroid cells. Endocrinology. 2013 Nov;154(11):4408-22.

Essig GF Jr, Porter K, Schneider D, Debora A, Lindsey SC, Busonero G, Fineberg D, Fruci B, Boelaert K, Smit JW, Meijer JA, Duntas L, Sharma N, Costante G, Filetti S, Sippel RS, Biondi B, Topliss DJ, Pacini F, Maciel RM, Walz PC, Kloos RT. Fine needle aspiration and medullary thyroid carcinoma: the risk of inadequate preoperative evaluation and initial surgery when relying upon FNAB cytology alone. Endocr Pract. 2013 Nov-Dec;19(6):920-7. 

Sharma N*, Smith VE*, Watkins RJ, Read ML, Ryan GA, Kwan PP, Martin A, Watkinson JC, Boelaert K, Franklyn JA, McCabe CJ. Manipulation of PBF/PTTG1IP phosphorylation status; a potential new therapeutic strategy for improving radioiodine uptake in thyroid and other tumors. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2013 Jul;98(7):2876-86. Joint first author 

Sharma N, Martin A, McCabe CJ. Mining the proteome: the application of tandem mass spectrometry to endocrine cancer research. Endocr Relat Cancer. 2012 Jul 22;19(4):R149-61. 

Read ML, Lewy GD, Fong JC, Sharma N, Seed RI, Smith VE, Gentilin E, Warfield A, Eggo MC, Knauf JA, Leadbeater WE, Watkinson JC, Franklyn JA, Boelaert K, McCabe CJ. Proto-oncogene PBF/PTTG1IP regulates thyroid cell growth and represses radioiodide treatment. Cancer Res. 2011 Oct 1;71(19):6153-64. 

Watkins RJ, Read ML, Smith VE, Sharma N, Reynolds GM, Buckley L, Doig C, Campbell MJ, Lewy G, Eggo MC, Loubiere LS, Franklyn JA, Boelaert K, McCabe CJ. Pituitary tumor transforming gene binding factor: a new gene in breast cancer. Cancer Res. 2010 May 1;70(9):3739-49.

Sharma N, Jindal M, Mahon B, Pracy P. Hypopharyngeal perforation during endoscopic ultrasound treated by primary repair. Head Neck. 2011 May;33(5):756-8. 

Jindal M, Sharma N, Parekh N. Intraoperative dilated pupil during nasal polypectomy. Eur Arch Otorhinolaryngol. 2009 Jul;266(7):1035-7.

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