Professor Sue Burchill

Professor Sue Burchill


Professor Sue Burchill joined the Cancer Research Group at the University of Leeds in 1992. Funded by the Candlelighters Trust, she came to establish a translational research programme in children and young people with cancer. The multidiscipline philosophy of the Cancer Research Group was an important factor attracting Sue to Leeds, providing an environment for collaboration with professionals including paediatric oncologists, nurses, pathologists, surgeons, cytogeneticists and chemists that share the vision to transfer scientific knowledge into the clinic with the goal of improving outcome for children with cancer.

Current Roles: Scientific director of the Children's Cancer Research Group (CCRG) at St James's University Hospital.

Chair of the Society International of Oncology Paediatric-Neuroblastoma (SIOPEN) Molecular Monitoring Group and co-chair of the International Neuroblastoma Response Criteria (INRC) Bone Marrow Working Group, leading international circulating biomarker studies in children with neuroblastoma.

Chair of international biological studies to identify and validate informative prognostic and predictive biomarkers in people with Ewing's sarcoma within the clinical trials Euro Ewing 2012, rEECur and INTER-EWING-1.

Member of the NCRI CCL Neuroblastoma Clinical Studies Group, the NCRI Sarcoma Clinical Studies Group and NCRI Bone Sarcoma subgroup. 

Supervision of undergraduate and postgraduate research students. 

Research interests

Sue’s primary research interest is the metastatic drug-resistant disease that is frequently responsible for progression and relapse. This disease continues to pose the most difficult challenge for the management and successful treatment of many children and young people with cancer, including most of those diagnosed with Ewing sarcoma and neuroblastoma.

Despite this, the development of metastatic drug-resistant disease remains poorly understood, and methods in current clinical practice fail to detect the low-level disease that is responsible for relapse. Sue’s research group has identified and validated circulating nucleic acid biomarkers for the early detection, prognostication and monitoring of disease. The interest in such markers is intensified by the need for more effective therapeutics to eradicate this disease, and using a comprehensive range of preclinical models and clinical samples the group studies the drivers of cancer to identify and validate novel targets for the development of more effective companion therapeutics.


  • PhD in medicine (1986)
  • BSc (HONS) Pharmacology (1982)

Professional memberships

  • American Association of Cancer Research
  • British Association of Cancer Research
  • Children's Cancer and Leukaemia Group
  • European Association of Cancer Research
  • European International Society of Paediatric Oncology
  • The Royal Society of Medicine

Student education

I presently teach on MEDM5221M, MEDM5221MO1, MEDM5231M, MEDM5141M and BIOL321501.

Research groups and institutes

  • Leeds Institute of Medical Research at St James's
  • Cancer
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