PXL_20220201_153619560.MP. editjpg.jpg




Group Leader

Sarah Aitken is a Group Leader and Clinician Scientist at the MRC Toxicology Unit (University of Cambridge) and Honorary Consultant Pathologist at Addenbrooke's Hospital, Cambridge. 

She trained in Medicine at the University of Edinburgh, with an intercalated BMedSci in Experimental Pathology and postgraduate MSc in Translational Medicine. She undertook a mixed experimental-computational PhD at the CRUK Cambridge Institute, followed by an EMBO bioinformatics fellowship at the IRB Barcelona. She then completed her Histopathology training in Cambridge as an NIHR Academic Clinical Fellow and subsequently NIHR Clinical Lecturer. Sarah joined the MRC Toxicology Unit in 2021 to start her first independent research group.

Her current work focusses on the genetic and epigenetic basis of hepatocarcinogenesis, mechanisms of mutagenesis, and the consequences of genetic diversity on cancer evolution.

Follow: @S_J_Aitken



We are hiring: genomics postdoc

We are seeking a highly motivated wet lab (or mixed wet/dry lab) postdoc to join our new research group at the MRC Toxicology Unit at the University of Cambridge. 

Please get in touch if you are interested!



PhD student


Hashim Ahmed Nur is a first year PhD student at the MRC Toxicology Unit in Cambridge under the supervision of Dr Sarah Aitken. In his PhD, he is exploring the molecular and genomic responses to DNA damaging agents in the context of liver toxicity.  

Prior to commencing his PhD, he completed a Masters by research in cancer biology at Imperial College London where he carried out two distinct research projects: 

  1. Characterising a novel PI3K pathway inhibitor in models of ovarian and pancreatic cancer models.  

  2. Identifying methods to overcome multi-drug resistance in triple negative breast cancer.  

Hashim’s research interests include drug development and how targeted therapies can be used to overcome chemotherapy resistance in the treatment of cancer.  

JC 2021 IMG_1218.jpg


PhD Student

Wellcome Trust ECAT Clinical Lecturer

John Connelly is a clinician scientist undertaking his PhD at MRC Human Genetics Unit, Institute of Genetics and Cancer, Edinburgh, in the laboratory of Professor Martin Taylor.

He is working on machine learning to detect mutational processes in digitised pathology images of liver tumours. 

John's broad interests are in the applications of data science and machine learning to molecular and digital image data in the context of cancer pathology.

Jose Coelho Lima.jpg



NIHR Academic Clinical Fellow

Jose Coelho-Lima is an Academic Clinical Fellow in histopathology at the University of Cambridge with an interest in cardiothoracic pathology. 

He undertook his medical education at the Federal University of Maranhao (Brazil), as well as an intercalated degree and PhD in molecular cardiology at Newcastle University. 

Jose's research interests include:

  • application of artificial intelligence for the analysis of whole-slide imaging/digital pathology in non-small cell lung cancer;

  • clinicopathologic and molecular aspects of sudden cardiac death in the young (collaboration with Prof Mary Sheppard, St George’s University of London).

His ambition is to combine expertise in histopathology, molecular, and digital analyses to improve our understanding, diagnosis, and risk stratification of heart and lung diseases.