For International Women’s Day we’ve highlight some of the brilliant women involved in our CHECT research into the prevention and treatment of retinoblastoma.

Professor Jesse Berry

Professor Jesse Berry is Associate Professor of Ophthalmology at the Children’s Hospital Los Angeles (CHLA). Unlike other cancers retinoblastoma cannot be biopsied due to risk of spread outside the eye. To overcome this researchers have developed a liquid biopsy approach for this cancer. Having demonstrated that valuable tumour biomarkers can be found in the aqueous (fluid inside the eye) , Professor Berry is now exploring whether a blood sample harbours similar biomarkers for retinoblastoma.

Professor Jesse Berry in a lab

Professor Majlinda Lako

Professor Majlinda Lako is a geneticist and Professor of Stem Cell Science at Newcastle University. She is currently using new lab technologies to test the safest and most effective doses of current and new drugs, as well as studying any the toxic effects on the retina, in order to make treatments even more effective, whilst minimising as much as possible any impact on the child’s vision.



Professor Majlinda Lako in her office

Dr Carmel McConville

Dr Carmel McConville has recently retired as Senior Lecturer in the Institute of Cancer and Genomic Sciences at the University of Birmingham. She is using the latest technology, known as ‘next generation sequencing’ on retinoblastoma cell lines, to analyse which genes are most frequently mutated,  and how the overall cellular genetic activity is influenced by these mutated genes. This essential information will direct future research into the development of novel targeted therapeutics capable of reversing the effects of mutated genes in retinoblastoma.

Dr Carmel McConville at a CHECT event

Dr Zerrin Onadim

Dr Zerrin Onadim is Head of Retinoblastoma Genetic Screening Unit at Barts Health NHS Trust. She is currently analysing historical retinoblastoma records to investigate the way in which risk of tumours occurring in later life depends on different genetic mutations associated with heritable Rb, on the treatment received (radiotherapy, chemotherapy), and to calculate statistical estimates of these risks. This could potentially aid the earlier diagnosis and treatment of these second cancers.

Dr Zerrin Onadim in her office