Dr Jessica Okosun

MA, MB BChir, MRCP, FRCPath, PhD
Clinical Senior Lecturer
Group Leader
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Research Focus

My research focuses on understanding the genetic and molecular mechanisms that underlie the initiation and progression of B-cell non-Hodgkin's lymphomas in order to define clinically-relevant biomarkers.

Key Publications

Genomic Profiling Reveals Spatial Intra-Tumor Heterogeneity in Follicular Lymphoma. Leukemia (2018) 32(5):1258-1263. PMID: 29568095

Early loss of Crebbp confers malignant stem cell properties on lymphoid progenitors. Nat Cell Biol (2017) 19(9):1093-1104. PMID: 28825697  

Recurrent mTORC1-activating RRAGC mutations in follicular lymphoma. Nature Genetics (2016) 48(2):183-8. PMID: 26691987

Integrated genomic analysis identifies recurrent mutations and evolution patterns driving the initiation and progression of follicular lymphoma. Nature Genetics (2014) 46(2):176-81. PMID: 24362818

Major Funding
  • 2018-2023- Cancer Research UK Accelerator Award (Co-investigator)
  • 2017-2022 - Cancer Research UK Clinician Scientist Fellowship, £1.4M
  • 2011-2015 - Kay Kendall Leukaemia Fund Junior Clinical Research Fellowship, £290,000
Other Activities
  • Chair of the CRUK Barts Centre Patient and Public Involvement Research Advisory Group
  • Expert Panel, Lymphoma Connect
  • Member of the European Haematology Association
Research

I have a research interest in B-cell Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Our current focus is on follicular lymphoma, an indolent malignancy that remains incurable and for which the typical clinical course is one where patients relapse on several occasions eventually becoming therapy resistant. Our main research questions are to:

  • Understand the molecular processes that govern lymphoma initiation
  • Characterise intra-tumour heterogeneity and evolution and their role in lymphoma progression
  • Define novel biomarkers that can be translated to clinical practice

To address these questions, we aim to utilise primary lymphoma samples in combination with cutting-edge tools, in vitro and in vivo approaches.

Other Activities
  • Chair of the CRUK Barts Centre Patient and Public Involvement Research Advisory Group
  • Expert Panel, Lymphoma Connect
  • Member of the European Haematology Association
  • Member of the NCRI Low Grade Lymphoma Subgroup
  • Member of the NCRI Primary CNS Lymphoma Working Party
Major Funding
  • 2018-2023- Cancer Research UK Accelerator Award (Co-investigator)
  • 2017-2022 - Cancer Research UK Clinician Scientist Fellowship, £1.4M
  • 2011-2015 - Kay Kendall Leukaemia Fund Junior Clinical Research Fellowship, £290,000
Recent Publications

Oncogenic Rag GTPase signaling enhances B cell activation and drives follicular lymphoma sensitive to pharmacological inhibition of mTOR. Ortega-Molina A, Deleyto-Seldas N, Carreras J et al. Nat Metab (2019) 1(2) 775-789
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/31579886

Correction: Genomic profiling reveals spatial intra-tumor heterogeneity in follicular lymphoma (Leukemia, (2018), 32, 5, (1261-1265), 10.1038/s41375-018-0043-y) Araf S, Wang J, Korfi K et al. Leukemia (2019) 33(7) 1540

Transmission of diffuse large B-cell lymphoma by an allogeneic stem-cell transplant. Araf S, Wang J, Ashton-Key M et al. Haematologica (2019) 104(1) e174-e177
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29976740

Follicular Lymphoma: Recent and Emerging Therapies, Treatment Strategies, and Remaining Unmet Needs Matasar MJ, Luminari S, Barr PM et al. Oncologist (2019) (7)

Rituximab as a first step in tackling transformation Okosun J, Kridel R, Fitzgibbon J The Lancet Haematology (2018) 5(7) e326-e327

Precision medicine and lymphoma. Heward JA, Kumar EA, Korfi K et al. Curr Opin Hematol (2018) 25(1) 329-334
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29738334

Genomic profiling reveals spatial intra-tumor heterogeneity in follicular lymphoma Araf S, Wang J, Korfi K et al. Leukemia (2018) 32(7) 1258-1263

Predicting early relapse in follicular lymphoma: have we turned a corner? Araf S, Okosun J, Fitzgibbon J The Lancet Oncology (2018) 19(7) 441-442

Early loss of Crebbp confers malignant stem cell properties on lymphoid progenitors Horton SJ, Giotopoulos G, Yun H et al. Nature Cell Biology (2017) 19(7) 1093-1104

RECURRENT MUTATIONS IN MICRO-RNA BINDING SITES MAY BE POTENTIALLY RELEVANT IN FOLLICULAR LYMPHOMA Larrea E, Fernandez-Mercado M, Ceberio I et al. HAEMATOLOGICA (2017) 102(11) 94-95
http://gateway.webofknowledge.com/gateway/Gateway.cgi?GWVersion=2&SrcApp=PARTNER_APP&SrcAuth=LinksAMR&KeyUT=WOS:000404127001198&DestLinkType=FullRecord&DestApp=ALL_WOS&UsrCustomerID=612ae0d773dcbdba3046f6df545e9f6a

For additional publications, please click here
Team

Postdoctoral Researchers
Dr Giuseppe Palladino

Clinical Research Fellows/PhD students
Dr Emil Kumar (co-supervision with Professor Jude Fitzgibbon), Dr Lucy Pickard

PhD students
Megan Perrett

Academic Clinical Fellows
Dr Edward Poynton

Biography

I graduated in medicine from the University of Cambridge and subsequently undertook my medical and specialty registrar haematology training in London. My research interests in lymphoma biology was developed during my Kay Kendall funded Clinical Research Fellowship with Professor Jude Fitzgibbon at the Barts Cancer Institute where I investigated the genetic heterogeneity and tumour evolution underlying follicular lymphoma and its progression. I was awarded the Royal College of Pathologists Specialty Research Medal for this work.

I returned to the Barts Cancer Institute as a Clinical Senior Lecturer in 2017 and will also be working with collaborators at the Francis Crick Institute.

Appointments

2017 to present: Clinical Senior Lecturer

2011-2015: Kay Kendall Clinical Research Fellow, Barts Cancer Institute

Qualifications

2015: PhD, Queen Mary University of London

2011: FRCPath, Royal College of Pathologists

2008: MRCP, Royal College of Physicians

2004: MB BChir, University of Cambridge

2002: BA (Hons) Natural Sciences, University of Cambridge