Dr Rowena Sharpe

Dr Rowena Sharpe

Institute of Cancer and Genomic Sciences
Director of Precision Medicine Trials

Contact details

Cancer Research Clinical Trials Unit
Office 10, 5th Floor, Institute of Translational Medicine
Institute of Cancer and Genomic Sciences
University of Birmingham
Birmingham B15 2TT

Dr Sharpe takes a lead on precision medicine within the CRCTU, looking after four early phase clinical and trials teams as well as the broader precision medicine strategy. Within this, she looks to increase the emphasis on sample acquisition/optimisation and testing as well as the introduction of novel and innovative trial methodology.

She has a particular interest in increasing the link between early phase clinical trials and reverse translating links between patient outcome and tumour biology.

Rowena has also been working with colleagues to design the COVID-19 drugs trial ‘CATALYST’, which rapidly tests new therapies for patients hospitalised due to COVID-19. It is hoped that by using drugs that target the most serious symptoms of the virus, the severity of the disease could be reduced leading to a reduction in the number of patients needing to be admitted to intensive care and ultimately, a reduction in virus related deaths.


PhD in Medicinal Chemistry 2008


Prior to her current role which commenced 1st October 2019, Dr Sharpe was the Head of Precision Medicine at Cancer Research UK, where she had responsibility for leading on the Charity’s agenda in this area and delivering on/evolving the CRUK Stratified Medicine Programme (SMP). The CRUK SMP is a nation-wide genomic screening study which both determines trial eligibility but also aims to improve sample standards, performance of genomic sequencing and the utilisation of these results across the UK as a whole.

Prior to this, Dr Sharpe worked at the Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust as their NIHR BRC Assistant Director where she set up a new method for awarding and monitoring funding internally, set up the new Royal Marsden Clinical Trials Unit, oversaw the Generic Biobank and led on Royal Marsden involvement in initiatives such as Genomics England.

Dr Sharpe has also carried out large change programmes, for example with the Children’s Cancer and Leukaemia Group (CCLG), overseen the management of early phase trial grants and carried out several strategic reviews at CRUK, including the future of biomarker-driven clinical trials.