Dr Thomas A Hughes


Group Leader, Associate Professor of Cancer Biology (University of Leeds), Professor of Biosciences (York St John University)

Published >80 peer-reviewed papers on various aspects of cancer biology, cancer therapy, and molecular cell biology.

Highly experienced reviewer, editor, and panel member for grant/paper review, and external examiner for taught courses and doctoral degrees.


Research interests

The aim of my research is to increase understanding of the biology of cancers, particularly breast cancer, with a view to using these new insights to improve cancer outcomes. 

Particular research strengths are regulation of gene expression, roles of the tumour microenvironment, use and identification of cancer biomarkers and targets, and investigation of novel therapies. 

My work involves close collaboration with staff at the Leeds NHS Trusts, including surgeons, oncologists, radiologists, pathologists and immunologists. This underpins my research by allowing access to clinical tissue and data, and translational of findings into the clinic. I also collaborate closely with engineers and chemists on the development of nanomedicine approaches for drug delivery and novel therapeutics.

Current Hughes group in Leeds: Radhika Aiyappa-Maudsley (post-doc), Ritika Rampal (clinical fellow), Daniel Williams (PhD student; PI: Olivier Cayre)

Researchers co-supervised by Hughes: Mengfan Xu (PI: James Thorne), Dagmara Kobza-Mroczkowska (PI: Paul Beales)

Hughes group alumni, post-docs and technicians: Arindam Pramanik (post-doc, now Assistant Prof at Amity University, Delhi), James Thorne (post-doc, now Associate Prof in Leeds), Vicky Cookson (post-doc, now senior post-doc Sheffield), Laura Smith (post-doc, then independent fellowship in Leeds), Spencer Shaw (technician, then graduate entry medicine Bristol), Sampoorna Satheesha (technician, then PhD student Zurich), Jo Hopper (technician, then PhD student Leeds), Louis Mcloughlin (technician, now PhD student in Leeds)

Hughes group alumni, doctoral students: Waleed Al Amri (PhD, now senior scientist Royal Hospital, Muscat, Oman), Robyn Broad (PhD, now senior scientist at Adaptimmune), Diana Baxter (PhD, now post-doc Barcelona), Baek Kim (MD, now consultant surgeon), Rebecca Millian-Slater (MD, now consultant pathologist), Eldo Verghese (PhD, now consultant pathologist), Brian Hogan (MD, now consultant breast surgeon), Noha Gwili (MD, now lecturer at University of Alexandria), Stacey Jones (MD, now breast surgeon), Fiona Langlands (MD with TAH, now consultant surgeon), Rashmi Verma (MD, now consultant surgeon)


  • BA Hons
  • DPhil

Student education

Supervisor for 24 successful doctoral students since 2008, researching basic cancer biology or translational approaches to improve cancer therapies. These include both basic scientists and clinicians, registering for their degrees in Leeds, or abroad.

Supervisor for 10 completed masters/undergrad project students.  

Designed and led two MSc programmes (MSc Molecular Medicine; MSc Cancer Biology and Therapy).

Contributor to masters level teaching on molecular medicine and cancer biology.

Research groups and institutes

  • Leeds Institute of Medical Research at St James's
  • Cancer
  • Rare Diseases & Genetics
  • Breast Cancer Research Group
<h4>Postgraduate research opportunities</h4> <p>We welcome enquiries from motivated and qualified applicants from all around the world who are interested in PhD study. Our <a href="https://phd.leeds.ac.uk">research opportunities</a> allow you to search for projects and scholarships.</p>