Dr Milène Volpato

Dr Milène Volpato


I did my undergraduate studies at the University Paul Sabatier in Toulouse, France. I came to the UK in 2001, at the Institute of Cancer Therapeutics, University of Bradford, where I obtained my PhD in Cancer Pharmacology, on the preclinical development of novel NQO1 targeting pro-drugs and predictive biomarkers of response in superficial bladder cancer, working with Professor Roger Phillips and Professor Paul Loadman.

I then worked on the genetic epidemiology of NQO1 polymorphisms in cervical cancer and their impact on tumour development and progression in the context of Human Papilloma Virus infection. I joined the laboratory of Professor TH. Rabbitts ( FRS) in Leeds, where I studied the molecular basis of lineage reassignment and leukemogenesis upon chromosomal translocation within in vivo MLL-related leukaemia models. I joined Professor Mark Hull and the Molecular Gastroenterology group in 2010. My research has since focused on the preclinical development of omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids, eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) in particular, for the prevention and/or treatment of colorectal cancer.


  • Module Lead, MSc Molecular Medicine
  • Programme Lead, MSc Cancer Biology and Therapy
  • Athena Swan SAT member

Research interests

My work is centred on the pre-clinical development of the naturally occurring omega-3 fatty acids, eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), for the prevention and treatment of colorectal cancer. I work with a range of pre-clinical models to investigate potential mechanisms of resistance to the omega-3 fatty acids in colorectal cancer in order to personalise therapy and develop a combination regimen to improve patient outcomes. In particular, I am investigating how EPA and DHA can enhance tumour response to a range of immunotherapies, including immune checkpoint inhibitor and oncolytic virus in a range of solid tumours.


  • PhD Cancer Pharmacology
  • MSc in Health Bioengineering

Professional memberships

  • BACR
  • AACR
  • UK Therapeutic Cancer Prevention Network
  • ECMC Junior investigator Network

Student education

I deliver tutorials for RESS1 – MBChB (School of Medicine)

I am a personal academic tutor for Year 1 and Year 2 MBChB students

I deliver lectures and tutorials for  the MSc Molecular Medicine and MSc Cancer Biology and Therapy (School of Medicine)

I lead 2 modules withing the Msc Molecular Medicine and MSc Cancer Biology and Therapy programmes

I am the programme lead for the MSc Cancer Biology and Therapy

I supervise BSc, MSc and FY2 medical students during their research projects, as well as PhD students. 

Research groups and institutes

  • Leeds Institute of Medical Research at St James's
<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>
    <li><a href="//phd.leeds.ac.uk/project/58-cancer:-developing-3d-multicellular-tumour-spheroid-models-to-assess-epa-oncolytic-viruses-combination-therapies-in-vitro">Cancer: Developing 3D multicellular tumour spheroid models to assess EPA-oncolytic viruses combination therapies in vitro</a></li>