Dr Isabel Monteiro dos Santos Pires

Dr Isabel Monteiro dos Santos Pires

Lecturer in Biomedical Science/ Head of the Hypoxia and Tumour Microenvironment group

Faculty and Department

  • Faculty of Health Sciences
  • Department of Biomedical Sciences

Qualifications

  • BSc (University of Coimbra)
  • PhD (University of Manchester)
  • PCAP (University of Hull)

Summary

Dr Isabel Pires is a cancer biologist, and particularly interested in how low oxygen (hypoxia) in tumours impacts on therapy and metastatic spread.

Since establishing her laboratory at the University of Hull, Dr Pires continued to focus on hypoxia-mediated tumourigenesis and therapy resistance (Pires et al., 2014; Poujade et al., 2018; Edge et al., 2021). Current work in the lab is also focusing on exploring the hypoxic radiobiological context (Edge et al, 2021; Li et al, in preparation), and developing novel models for metastasis (Scrace et al., 2013; Collins, Pyne et al., 2021). We have also explored novel anti-cancer agents derived from natural products in collaboration with Dr Celia Cabral’s laboratory at the University of Coimbra (Beeby et al., 2020; Beeby et al., 2021).

Before establishing her group, Dr Pires was a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Oxford, where her work was crucial in expanding the characterisation of the biology of the DNA damage response and DNA replication in hypoxia, with a special focus on enhancing response to radiotherapy in low oxygen (Bencokova et al., 2009; Pires et al., 2010; Olcina et al., 2013; Pefani et al., 2014; Cazares-Korner, Pires et al., 2013; Pires et al., 2012; Chan, Pires et al., 2010).

Dr Pires is passionate about training the next generation of scientists. She a member of the executive committee of the BACR (British Association for Cancer Research) and the are (Association for Radiation Research), as well as a member of the the Education Committee of the Biochemical Society. Dr Pires is also the Athena SWAN co-lead for the Faculty of Health Sciences.

Dr Pires is also an enthusiastic science communicator, and has given talks in such events as TEDx Hull and Pint of Science, and organised the Soapbox Science Hull event in 2016-2017.

Undergraduate

MSc Biomedical Science

- Cellular and Molecular Biology of Cancer (module leader)

- Current Topics in Biomedical Science

- Research Project and Dissertation

BSc Biomedical Science

- Independent Research Project (module leader)

- Skills for Biomedical Science (L4 and L5)

- Molecular Cell Biology

- Biological Basis of Disease

- Cancer Biology

External lecturer at the University of Oxford MSc in Radiation Oncology

Recent outputs

View more outputs

Journal Article

Predicting personalised optimal arc parameter using knowledge-based planning model for inoperable locally advanced lung cancer patients to reduce organ at risk doses

Tambe, N. S., Pires, I. M., Moore, C., Wieczorek, A., Upadhyay, S., & Beavis, A. W. (2021). Predicting personalised optimal arc parameter using knowledge-based planning model for inoperable locally advanced lung cancer patients to reduce organ at risk doses. Biomedical Physics and Engineering Express, 7(6), https://doi.org/10.1088/2057-1976/ac2635

Validation of in-house knowledge-based planning model for predicting change in target coverage during VMAT radiotherapy to in-operable advanced-stage NSCLC patients

Tambe, N. S., Pires, I. M., Moore, C., Wieczorek, A., Upadhyay, S., & Beavis, A. W. (2021). Validation of in-house knowledge-based planning model for predicting change in target coverage during VMAT radiotherapy to in-operable advanced-stage NSCLC patients. Biomedical Physics and Engineering Express, 7(6), https://doi.org/10.1088/2057-1976/ac1f94

Spheroid-on-chip microfluidic technology for the evaluation of the impact of continuous flow on metastatic potential in cancer models in vitro

Collins, T., Pyne, E., Christensen, M., Iles, A., Pamme, N., & Pires, I. M. (2021). Spheroid-on-chip microfluidic technology for the evaluation of the impact of continuous flow on metastatic potential in cancer models in vitro. Biomicrofluidics, 15(4), https://doi.org/10.1063/5.0061373

Editorial: Advances in Cancer Stem Cell Biology

Hussein, D., Pires, I. M., Krause, P., & Schulten, H. J. (2021). Editorial: Advances in Cancer Stem Cell Biology. Frontiers in Genetics, 12, https://doi.org/10.3389/fgene.2021.655187

PI3K inhibition as a novel therapeutic strategy for neoadjuvant chemoradiotherapy resistant oesophageal adenocarcinoma

Edge, S. D., Renard, I., Pyne, E., Li, C., Moody, H., Roy, R., …Pires, I. M. (2021). PI3K inhibition as a novel therapeutic strategy for neoadjuvant chemoradiotherapy resistant oesophageal adenocarcinoma. British Journal of Radiology, 94(1119), https://doi.org/10.1259/bjr.20201191

Research interests

Key research themes:

Tumour Hypoxia

Cancer therapy (particularly radiotherapy)

3D models of cancer

Funding since 2012:

2021 - 2024 Bowel Research UK PhD studentship £75k (as PI)

2019- 2022 University of Hull PhD Studentship cluster for Adaptive Radiotherapy (5 studentships), total associated funds approx. £340k (cluster lead and PI for 2 projects)

2017 PARSUK Xpand Oportunidades internship to Ana Semedo and Isabel Pires €1750 (as PI)

2016 PARSUK Xperience internship to Patricia Gracio and Isabel Pires €1750 (as PI)

2015 - 2018 University of Hull PhD Studentship to Thomas Collins and Isabel Pires £65k (as PI)

2014 - 2015 Breast Cancer Campaign Pilot Grant £20k (as PI)

2014 PARSUK Xperience internship to Joana Silva and Isabel Pires €1750 (as PI)

2013 - 2014 Royal Society Research Grant: £15k (as PI)

2013 - 2016 University of Hull PhD Studentship to Anna Todd and Isabel Pires £75k (as PI)

2013 - 2016 University of Hull PhD Studentship to Flore-Anne Poujade and Isabel Pires £75k (as PI)

Postgraduate supervision

Please contact Dr Pires directly if you are interested in joining her group. We welcome applications/expressions of interest in the following:

- Novel players in the biology of the tumour microenvironment

- Targeting the tumour microenvironment

- Cancer therapy, especially radiotherapy and targeted therapies- Cancer biology, especially breast, colorectal, lung, and oesophageal cancer

- Modelling the tumour microenviromnment, including 3D models of cancer and lab-on-a-chip

Current PhD students (as primary supervisor)

- Emily Pyne (2018 - 2022)

- Nilesh Tambe (part time, 2018 - 2023)

- Chun Li (2019 - 2023)

- Lucy Wiseman (2021 - 2024)

Completed PhD students

- Sarah Argyle (2015-2019) - as primary supervisor - currently a Scientist (Biology team) at Redx Pharma

- Thomas Collins (2015-2019) - as primary supervisor - currently at the medical team at Olympus

- Flore-Anne Poujade (2013-2016) - as primary supervisor - PDRA at the Karolinska Institutet (2016 - 2021), currently Field Application Specialist at CELLINK

- Anna Smith (nee Todd) (2013-2016) - as primary supervisor - Now a Technical Leader for Biology at Smith & Nephew

Awards and prizes

Staff Excellence Award

2015 - 2015

For public engagement work, nominated by Prof Mark Lorch

Committee/Steering group role

University of Hull Athena Swan SAT member

2021

ARR (Association for Radiation Research) executive committee member

2020

FHS Athena Swan SAT Co-lead

2020

Biochemical Society Education, Training, & Public Engagement Committee member

2018

Chair of the Media subcommittee of the BACR (British Association for Cancer Research)

2016 - 2020

Biochemical Society training theme panel member

2015 - 2018

BACR (British Association for Cancer Research) Executive committee member

2015

Conference organisation

BACR 60th Anniversary conference

2019 - 2022

Biochemical Society Lab-on-chip training event

2019 - 2019

Invited abstract reviewer for ICRR2019 conference

2019 - 2019

External examiner role

PhD External Examiner Kings College London

2021 - 2021

PhD External Examiner University of Sunderland

2021 - 2021

PhD External Examiner University of Nottingham

2020 - 2020

MRes External examiner at University of Oxford

2020 - 2020

PhD External Examiner University of Birmingham

2019 - 2019

PhD External Examiner University of Brunel

2018 - 2018

External Examiner for MRes Cancer Science

2016

Honorary position

EACR local ambassador

2018

Biochemical Society local ambassador

2015

Journal editorial role

Guest Co-Editor in the Research Topic "Cancer stem cells" in the Section "Cancer Genetics" of the Journal Frontiers in Genetics

2019 - 2021

Guest editor for a special issue focused on Natural Products as Source for New Leads in Cancer Research and Treatment

2017 - 2018

Membership/Fellowship of professional body

Member of the Royal Society of Biology

2018 - 2020

Fellow of the Higher Education Academy

2016

National/International learned society/body role

Association for Radiation Research member

2018

Biochemical Society member

2012

British Association for Cancer Research (BACR) member

2007

European Association for Cancer Research (EACR) member

2007

Other

TEDx Hull speaker

2017 - 2017

Main organiser Soapbox Science Hull

2016 - 2017

Scholarship role

External lecturer at the University of Oxford MSc in Radiation Oncology

2018