Our Research Team

Dr Thomas Gligoris

Group Leader Cellular Biology

Thomas received his BSc in Biology from the University of Patras and his PhD in Molecular Biology and Biomedicine from the University of Crete. He was awarded an EMBO Long Term Fellowship to join Prof. Kim Nasmyth in the Department of Biochemistry in Oxford University where he undertook mechanistic studies in cell biology. He then joined Immunocore Ltd and the Discovery Research division to work on universal cancer targets, where he developed and led a discovery programme on HLA-like Unconventional T-cell targets.

As a leading, contributing, or corresponding author, Thomas has published studies in Science, Molecular Cell, Cell, PNAS, eLife, Current Biology, EMBO Reports and MCB journals. He has authored peer-reviewed book chapters and his research is cited in cell biology textbooks. His current research interests lay with precision cancer medicine, target discovery, tumour evolution and long-term cancer survival. In Continuum Life Sciences he is leading the Cellular Biology group with the remit to decipher the mechanisms used by both the effectors of long-term survival as well as their cognate tumour targets.

In his free time, Thomas is enjoying being with his family and friends, catching up with Montalbano’s mystery-solving triumphs and practicing his cooking skills.

“Despite the progress made with I/O checkpoint inhibitors on specific cancers, the unmet need for many types of malignancies is ever increasing. Our effort in Continuum Life Sciences focuses in studying patients who gave their battle with cancer and won. We aim to understand how these survivors defeated cancer and to translate our findings into new therapies. It is not a trivial exercise, but we are all committed to work with passion and enthusiasm towards our goal.”

Dr Mark Fife

Group Leader Pre-Clinical

Mark received his BSc in Pharmacology from the University of Manchester and during this time spent 1 year working at GlaxoSmithKline researching the immunological response during chronic lung inflammation. Following the completion of his undergraduate studies, he continued his research at the University of Manchester gaining his PhD in immunology with Tracy Hussell, focusing on the role of immune modulators in lung inflammation. He then joined the Preclinical department at Immunocore Ltd, where he was involved in advancing TCR based therapies from early-stage screening towards the clinic to benefit patients.

At Continuum Life Sciences, he will be leading a group of scientists within the Preclinical department to discover and harness the power of the Continuum long-term survivor cohort. Hopefully leading to the development of novel and powerful cancer therapies to improve the survival of more cancer patients and reduce the impact cancer has on society.
In his spare time, he likes to stay active, spend time with friends and family and continue the development of his French language skills.

Although there have been numerous advances in cancer treatments and a huge uptake in the use of immunotherapies, there are still a large proportion of patients that are unfortunately unable to overcome their battle with cancer. At Continuum Life Sciences, the access to a large cohort of long-term survivors will provide the opportunity to investigate why these patients are able to survive for extended periods and open this knowledge to all patients.

David Rigby

Group Leader Pre-Clinical

David received his BSc(Hons) in Microbiology from the University of Manchester, additionally working for Boehringer-Ingelheim’s Metabolic Disease arm in Germany to investigate the role of dyslipidaemia in cancer. Following-on from his D.Phil. in Clinical Medicine at the University of Oxford, David additionally completed postdoctoral work funded from his initial findings, focusing on the mechanisms of immune cell trafficking through the lymphatic system.

More recently, David moved into biotech, progressing several TCR-based immunotherapies through to IND approval for evaluation in clinical trials. In addition to working on, and leading various investigative pipeline projects at Adaptimmune, he provided data integrity and compliance assurance management, overhauling aspects of the company’s Laboratory Information Management System (LIMS).

However, David is now keen to draw further on his previous training in Immunology. It is his belief that there are clear parallels between the strategies exploited during tumour metastasis and conversely during successful T-cell infiltration of solid tumours. David is keen to explore this, and other such mechanisms further, as guided by investigations into the Long-Term Survivor cohort, in a bid to advance Continuum’s commitment to address any unmet clinical need for Cancer patients.  

In terms of activities outside of the lab, David has a keen interest in classic cars, generally seeking-out splendid things and spending time with his dog. He may even consider another hound at some point!

Dr Dhaval Sangani

Group Leader/Candidate validation

Dhaval received a Masters (Biotechnology) at Indian Institute of Technology Bombay and subsequently read for a D. Phil. at the University of Oxford (Sir William Dunn School of Pathology) in Molecular Immunology. His postdoctoral research encompassed the academic study of early TCR activation machinery in the T cell membrane and the role of lipids in the lateral organization of this machinery by using molecular and biochemical tools. He developed a unique reconstitution assay for studying the assembly of multiply tyrosine-phosphorylated signalosomes on artificial lipid vesicles. After a brief foray into biochemical and mass spectrometric characterization of protein targets of agrochemicals at Syngenta Ltd, he returned to T cell research, albeit with a therapeutic focus, joining the TCR bispecific pioneer Immunocore. Initially he was involved with discovery using generation of large phage display libraries of T-cell receptors (TCR) and later participated in the development of the next generation of an integrated TCR discovery and affinity maturation platform using mammalian display to leverage high avidity functional screening for soluble TCR therapeutics.

The unique access to biological samples from long term cancer survivors at Continuum Life Sciences offers an exciting opportunity to delineate the immunological mechanisms underpinning natural cancer control and translating these into future TCR-based therapies to extend the survival benefit to the larger population. The answers to some of the most indefatigable elements of the tumor heterogeneity and immune-suppressive microenvironment could be unlocked by studying these extreme phenotypes.

Rachel Woolley

Senior Scientist Protein Science

Rachel received her BSc in Biochemistry from the University of Bath, during which she spent a year working in the Rossjohn laboratory at Monash University. There, she studied MR1-restricted T-cells using X-ray crystallography to define the specificity of their antigen recognition and explain the structural basis for autoreactivity displayed by a subset of these T-cells.

Rachel subsequently completed a DPhil in Cellular Structural Biology at the University of Oxford, focusing on the function and mechanism of an oncogenic cell-surface receptor protein. Moving into a postdoctoral position, Rachel contributed to the development of a novel ligand-binding assay now in use for identification of potential anti-cancer drugs.

At Continuum Life Sciences Rachel will be part of the Protein Science team, validating the data from our academic research partners and developing these findings into potential therapeutics. Data derived from Continuum’s long term survivor study has already highlighted novel mechanisms to fight cancer from within. This unique survivor-led approach is an exciting and promising strategy to develop new treatments and hopefully improve the prognosis of many cancer patients.