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Julia McCarthy

DPhil student

Research Interests

The field of immuno-oncology has been transformational in the treatment of cancer patients. Immunotherapeutics have dramatically increased patient survival for those eligible for treatment, and the advances made in the last few decades have paved the way for new and improved therapies suitable for many more cancer types, and many more patients. The challenges ahead are to discover why these therapies are so effective in some patients while not at all in others, and how tumours which were once sensitive to treatment can acquire resistance. An improved understanding of the mechanisms and pathways that regulate the immune system’s response to cancer is crucial to tackling these challenges.

Therefore, my research focuses on analysing the immune profiles of cancer patients pre- and post-treatment, in the hope of understanding the factors central to response or non-response to treatment. If successful, this will aid the search for new and improved therapeutics, as well as the identification of effective predictive biomarkers fundamental for predicting and improving patient survival.


I am part of the DPhil Cancer Science programme, funded by CRUK Oxford. I have completed four years of Medicine here at Oxford, and I will re-join the course for the final two years after completion of my DPhil. During my intercalated BSc year where I specialised in Infection and Immunology, I was involved in research at the Dunn School of Pathology where I investigated the spindle assembly checkpoint and its numerous roles in cancer. Additional research experience was acquired at the University of Columbia, NYC, and at the Neural Injury Group here in Oxford’s NDM. I believe that pursuing a combined clinical and academic career will allow me to most positively impact the lives of cancer patients, whilst continuing to nurture my passion for scientific research and discovery.