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.


  • Programme Lead, MSc Cancer Biology and Therapy
  • Academic sub-dean for postgraduate assessment, School of Medicine
  • Academic Adviser to the Commonwealth Scholarship Commission

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 inhibitors and oncolytic viruses in a range of solid tumours.

Current students:

Miss Nametso Khumo (PhD)

Mr Hanyang Sun (PhD)

Miss Isata Fofanah (MSc)


Past PGR students

Mr John Hutchinson

Miss Catriona Marshall

Mr Louis McLoughlin



  • PhD Cancer Pharmacology, UK
  • MSc in Health Bioengineering, France
  • BSc in Health Bioengineering, France

Professional memberships

  • AACR
  • UK Therapeutic Cancer Prevention Network

Student education

I am a LPGR for posgraduates students in LIMR

I deliver modules for  the MSc Molecular Medicine and MSc Cancer Biology and Therapy (School of Medicine), on laboratory research and cancer drug development

I am the programme lead for MSc Cancer Biology and Therapy and the Deputy Lead for MSc Molecular Medicine

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/1485-limr-cancer:-complex-3d-modelling-of-the-tumour-microenvironment-for-immunotherapy-combination-screening">LIMR Cancer: Complex 3D modelling of the tumour microenvironment for immunotherapy combination screening</a></li> <li><a href="//phd.leeds.ac.uk/project/1503-limr-translational-medicine:-understanding-the-mechanism(s)-of-resistance-to-epa-to-personalise-therapy-and-improve-outcome">LIMR Translational Medicine: Understanding the mechanism(s) of resistance to EPA to personalise therapy and improve outcome</a></li>