Dr Henry Wood

Dr Henry Wood


I am responsible for coordinating wet lab and bioinformatic analysis for the Colorectal Cancer Research Group.

My PhD and early career was spent studying evolutionary processes in non-model organisms using genetic fingerprinting techniques, followed by molecular cloning and sequencing. Specifically, I studied the evolution of drug resistance in commercially important crop diseases, and speciation in marine molluscs. I moved into cancer research in 2009, where my experience working with non-optimal environmental samples allowed me to develop novel laboratory techniques to study genomic changes and viral infections in archival tumour samples using the newly emerging next-generation sequencing platforms. Working initially on lung and oral cancer, my work became progressively more computational in nature, in order to process the ever increasing amounts of data being produced by the rapidly improving technology.

Collaborating with statisticians, I have been involved with the development of multiple computer packages which process sequence data to study genomic copy number changes, viral infection, cancer subtype stratification, and survival. We used these approaches to study the genomic changes and sub-clonal makeup of early lesions, and their subsequent development into tumours and metastases.

In 2013, I joined the Colorectal Cancer Research Group in Leeds, where as well as my own research, I am involved in the management and development of genomic research in the group, with particular responsibility for bridging the gap between the wet lab scientists and bioinformatic analysis.


  • Co-lead, MRes Medicine

Research interests

My main research activity is the running and development of the genomic research in the Colorectal Cancer Research group. Part of this role involves the routine handling of clinical trial material, whilst part of it is more experimental in nature. In particular I am working on using next-generation sequencing technology and other high-throughput techniques to look at tumour stratification, progression, heterogeneity and clonality, as well as the microbiomes of cancer patients. I am interested both in new laboratory techniques and computational methods that will allow the nature of tumour genomes and cancer progression to be more thoroughly examined.

As well as my main research in colorectal cancer, I have developed a number of external collaborations in related fields. The more long-term collaborations include:

Mathematics - In collaboration with Arief Gusnanto and Charles Taylor in the School of Mathematics, I have been developing a statistical methodology to study tumour stratification and genomic copy number data.

Head and neck cancer - Working with Preetha Chengot, Anastasios Kanatas, Ken MacKlennan, Neeraj Sethi and colleagues in the Leeds Teaching Hospitals, I have been studying the genomics and sub-clonal makeup of oral cancer as it develops from early lesions, through invasive disease through to possible recurrence and metastasis.

Lung cancer - Collaborating with Peter Tcherveniakov, Manos Kefaloyannis and Eldo Verghese in the Leeds Teaching Hospitals, I am looking at early detection and patient stratification in lung cancer.


  • PhD, Molecular genetics. University of Nottingham. 2002.
  • BSc (Hons), Genetics. University of Leeds. 1998.

Student education

Joint programme lead, MRes Medicine.

PhD Supervision:

Mary Booth – co-supervised with Phil Quirke, Heike Grabsch (LIMR) and Mark Travis (Manchester)

Previous PhD students:

Chloe Kirkby – co-supervised with Nick West (LIMR) and Steve Evans (Physics)

Timothy Palmer – co-supervised with Phil Quirke and Matt Seymour (LIMR)

Alison Telford – co-supervised with Arief Gusnanto and Charles Taylor (Maths)

Caroline Young – co-supervised with Phil Quirke and Eva Morris (LIMR)

Neeraj Sethi – co-supervised by Pamela Rabbitts and Ken MacKlennan (LIMR)

Research groups and institutes

  • Leeds Institute of Medical Research at St James's
  • Pathology and Data Analytics
<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>