Centre for Cancer Sciences

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Beth Coyle

Associate Professor, Faculty of Medicine & Health Sciences



I am an Associate Professor in the School of Medicine (tenured September 2005, promoted August 2011). I joined the University of Nottingham Children's Brain Tumour Research Centre (CBTRC) in 2002 as an independent Research Fellow, based in the School of Biology. Previously, I was a research associate (1999-2002) with Professor Gerald Cohen in the Biochemical Toxicology Section of the MRC Toxicology Unit at the University of Leicester. My first postdoctoral position (1995-1999) was with Professor Richard Trembath in the Institute of Genetics at the University of Leicester. I obtained my my PhD at the MRC Human Genetics Unit ((University of Edinburgh; supervised by Professor David Porteous) in Edinburgh in 1995 and my BSc in Molecular Biology, also from the University of Edinburgh, in 1991 .

Expertise Summary

My research has always been dominated by an interest in investigating the genetics of childhood. I started my research career carrying out linkage analysis in patient samples from two different deafness disorders (Usher's Syndrome then Pendred Syndrome), finding the gene for Pendred Syndrome (Coyle et al. 1996 Nature Genetics 12:421-3) and mapping mutations in patient samples (another 6 papers in this area). At the MRC Toxicology Unit I applied my genetics skills to understanding apoptotic pathways in leukaemic and liver cancer cells (Coyle et al. 2003 JBC 278:5920-8). Since arriving at the Children's Brain Tumour Research Centre as an independent fellow, I have focused the work of my group on developing accurate tumour models in order to circumvent drug resistance and invasion/ metastasis in ependymomas and medulloblastomas. Over the past 14 years, I have brought in ~£2 million in funding, mainly as a Co-I, and published another 27 papers in this area, playing a key role is several large international collaborations.

Teaching Summary

I am module convenor for a BMedSci Cancer module. I lecture MSc students on the Stem Cell Technology Course and the Clinical Neuroscience Course.

In the lab I supervise BSc and BMedSci undergraduates. I also take MRes students, and MSc students on the MSc Oncology and MSc Immunology courses.

I am currently the primary supervisor for 6 PhD students (Christine Mitoko, Alice Cardall, Hannah Jackson, Louisa Taylor, James Johnson, and Philippa Wade) and second supervisor for another 5 PhD students ( Maria Eleftheriou, Johnathan Curd, Emma Barker, Susannah Entwistle and James Hudson). I am advisor to another 3 PhD students and I have several medical student and cancer biology tutees.

Research Summary

My research is mainly focused on two specific types of children's brain tumours: medulloblastoma and ependymoma both of which are inherently drug resistant. I am interested in the link between drug… read more

Current Research

My research is mainly focused on two specific types of children's brain tumours: medulloblastoma and ependymoma both of which are inherently drug resistant. I am interested in the link between drug resistance and cell migration (metastasis or local invasion). In order to understand cell migration and reflect the levels of drug resistance seen in patient brains we need to use models that accurately model the tumour microenvironment. We are developing 3D models either as spheroids or tumour cells/clusters embedded in basement membrane extract or tailored hydrogels.

Past Research

Before joining the CBTRC I worked at the MRC Toxicology unit in Leicester, investigating the transcriptional response to apoptotic inducing agents.The most informative system proved to be transforming growth factor-beta1 (TGFβ1)-induced apoptosis in FaO hepatoma. Although TGFβ1 acts via the SMAD signaling pathway to initiate de novo gene transcription, little was known about the downstream gene targets that are involved in the regulation of apoptosis. By data mining and cluster analysis of expression data I was able to identify an early response set of nine down-regulated genes that are involved in antioxidant defence that may in fact represent the primary mechanism through which TGFβ1 initiates apoptosis.

Prior to that I started my postdoctoral career in the Department of Genetics at the University of Leicester. I investigated the genetic basis of Pendred Syndrome, an autosomal recessive disorder associated with developmental abnormalities of the cochlea, sensorineural hearing loss, and diffuse thyroid enlargement. Using linkage analysis I identified the pendrin gene then 78% of the underlying mutations in 31 affected families. My PhD at the MRC Human Genetics Unit in Edinburgh was also focused on mapping and mutational analysis of another deafness disorder (Usher Syndrome Type IB).

Future Research

In future we would like to produce more sophisticated models that include immune cells.

Centre for Cancer Sciences

The University of Nottingham
Centre for Biomolecular Sciences
Nottingham, NG7 2RD

telephone: +44 (0) 115 823 1546
email: MS-CCS@nottingham.ac.uk