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Professor Kaye Williams BSc PhD FSB

Photograph of Kaye Williams

Professor; Group Leader Hypoxia and Therapeutics

University of Manchester

Manchester Pharmacy School

Room 3.126, Stopford Building

Oxford Road

Manchester M13 9PT



Outside of running a successful research group and teaching highly motivated students on the MPharm programme, my academic leadership and management roles within the University of Manchester are focused upon the promotion and development of research. Specific contributions are made via roles in the following groups:

  • Pre-clinical lead for oncology imaging within the Manchester Cancer Research Centre. To establish, direct and implement the pre-clinical non-invasive imaging strategy within the MCRC. Leadership has resulted in procurement of new preclinical PET/CT scanner, development of strategic research interaction within imaging science with industrial partners (for example GE, AstraZeneca, Lilly) and kick-started oncology-based projects within MCRC across different research areas.
  • MAHSC Experimental Medicine Strategy Board
  • Chair of the Manchester Pharmacy School Board
  • Member of the Athena Swan Self-assessment Team
  • Deputy Research Director Pharmaceutical Sciences, Manchester Pharmacy School, 2013


Memberships of Committees and Professional Bodies

  • Research Council of  Norway; Panel Reviewer: Independent Projects in Medicine, Health Sciences and Biology (FRIMEDBIO) 2012-
  • Member of the Scientific Advisory Board for the Breast Cancer Campaign 2011-
  • Councillor for the International Association for Radiation Research 2011-
  • Past Chair of the Association for Radiation Research 2012-2014
  • Co-Chair Basic Science Workstream; National Cancer Research Institute (NCRI) Clinical and Translational Radiotherapy Research (CTRad) Working Group 2010-2014
  • Member of the NCRI CTRad Executive Group 2010-
  • Fellow of the Society of Biology 2010-
  • Trustee of the LH Gray Memorial Trust (2006-). Current secretary and treasurer.

Member of

  • British Association for Cancer Research
  • European Association for Cancer Research
  • American Association for Cancer Research
  • Association of Radiation Research
  • Radiation Research Society
  • British Institute of Radiology


Kaye currently leads an integrated and multi-disciplinary team whose overall goal is to exploit tumour hypoxia and the factors that govern cellular response to this tumour specific micro- environmental stress for therapeutic benefit. Specific avenues of Kaye’s research have focussed upon the contribution of the transcription factor hypoxia inducible factor-1 (HIF-1) to tumour growth and response to therapy both in vitro and in vivo. Novel findings from these studies have highlighted HIF-1 as a key target for anti-cancer therapeutic design and in particular have provided a rationale for the application of HIF-1 targeted therapies in combination with conventional chemo and/or radiotherapy. In addition to using HIF-1 targeted approaches Kaye also has a keen interest in the use of other molecular targeted therapies in combination with radiation treatment. In particular she has investigated the impact of novel agents on the underlying mechanisms that govern radiation response to enable their optimal application in a clinical radiotherapy context. These studies have underpinned ongoing clinical trials within The Christie, Manchester, that are showing positive patient benefit. Recently, Kaye has taken a lead role in the development of pre-clinical imaging for oncology applications within the Manchester Cancer Research Centre. The focus here is to develop, validate and apply image derived biomarkers to assess changes in tumour biology and therapeutic response. Kaye played a key role in the recent successful application to develop an EPSRC/CRUK funded Comprehensive Cancer Imaging Centre between the Universities of Manchester and Cambridge.

Patents filed and approved

  • Therapeutic combinations comprising poly (ADP-ribose) polymerases inhibitor. 05801173.5-2123-IB2005002900, filed Sept 2005
  • Carbonic anhydrase inhibitors. PCT/EP2011/052156, filed Feb 2011

If you would like to apply for a PhD under the supervision of Professor Williams, please visit this page.



  • Year 4. Cancer Biology and Therapy
  • Academic Advisor : 26 Advisees Years 1-4
  • Fourth year MPharm Research Project Supervisor

External Teaching and Assessment:

  • Biological Basis of Cancer Therapy Course (Royal College accredited Training Course for Clinical and Medical Oncology Specialist Registrars covering Fellowship of the Royal College of Radiology part 1 examination syllabus), Christie Hospital NHS Trust, Manchester. 2005- to date
  • MSc Oncology, Tumour Physiology Module, University of Nottingham. Teaching lecture “Tumour Hypoxia”. 2005- to date
  • MSc Oncology, Radiation Sciences for the Clinical and Medical Oncologist, The Institute of Cancer Research, London. Teaching lecture “Hypoxia and Radiation”; 2009- to date
  • MSc Radiation Biology, University of Oxford, teaching lectures in hypoxia and radiobiology; 2010- to date



  • Specialist examiner [Cancer Biology] Fellowship of the Royal College of Radiologist examinations 2010-
  • External examiner MSc Cancer Pharmacology, University of Bradford 2011-
  • External examiner MPharm, Queen’s University Belfast 2012-2016


• Member of the examining board for the first FRCR examination in Clinical Oncology


Professor Kaye Williams is the Leader of the Hypoxia and Therapeutics Group within the Manchester Pharmacy School. Kaye joined the Experimental Oncology division in November 1996 upon completion of PhD studies. Following back-to-back Research Associate and Research Fellow positions funded by the Medical Research Council, she gained a tenured Senior Lecturer position in January 2006, was promoted to Reader in July 2010 and Chair in Experimental Therapeutics and Imaging in August 2012. Her group currently focuses upon the tumour microenvironment, investigating therapeutic targets, vascular biology and molecular interactions. She also leads pre-clinical imaging development within the Manchester Cancer Research Centre. Her research is funded via the MRC, BBSRC, EPSRC, Cancer Research UK and the European Union, with commercial funding via collaboration with a number of Pharmaceutical Companies.

Kaye was awarded the British Association for Cancer Research/AstraZeneca Frank Rose Young Scientist Award in 2005, and was elected a Fellow of the Society of Biology in 2010.


  • 1997 - PhD Faculty of Medicine - University of Manchester
  • 1993 - BSc (Hons) Molecular Biology - First Class, School of Biological Sciences, University of Manchester

Collaborators and affiliated staff

Affiliated Staff

Dr Roben Gieling - Post-doctoral Researcher

Dr Katie Finegan -  Post-doctoral Researcher

Dr Duncan Forster- Post-doctoral Researcher

Mrs Alison Smigova- Lab manager, Preclinical PET Imaging

Mr Muhammad Babur- Research Technician

Mr Brian Telfer- Experimental Officer

Ms Kathryn Blount- PhD student

Ms Fiona Henderson- PhD student

Ms Jennifer Bryant- PhD student

Dr Ibrahim Djoukhadar- Clinical Research Fellow


Dr Costas Demonacos - Molecular Pharmacology, redox sensitive transcriptional regulation

Professor Caroline Dive - Mechanisms of hypoxia-mediated modification of chemotherapy response

Professor Ian Stratford - Tumour biology

Professor Anne White - Endocrine tumour biology

Professor Roy Goodacre - Metabolomics

Dr Adam McMahon - Integration of imaging and proteomic tools; PET radiochemistry

Dr James O’Conno r- MR imaging

Dr Jason Bruce - Pancreatic Cancer


Selected publications


  • Mehibel, M., Singh, S., Cowen, R. L., Williams, K. J., & Stratford, I. J. (2016).

    Radiation enhances the therapeutic effect of Banoxantrone in hypoxic tumour cells with elevated levels of nitric oxide synthase. Oncology Reports, [PMID: 26782976]. DOI:doi: 10.3892/or.2016.4555. Publication link: bd0e3582-95a2-4097-96c4-b2b8ed640d1c
  • O'Connor, J., Boult, J. K. R., Jamin, Y., Babur, M., Finegan, K. G., Williams, K., ... Robinson, S. P. (2016).

    Oxygen-Enhanced MRI Accurately Identifies, Quantifies, and Maps Tumor Hypoxia in Preclinical Cancer Models. Cancer Research, 76(4), 787-795. DOI:10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-15-2062. Publication link: 339e86bf-32db-4dbb-b173-3404c62389dd


  • Fleming, I. N., Manavaki, R., Blower, P. J., West, C., Williams, K. J., Harris, A. L., ... Gilbert, F. J. (2015).

    Imaging tumour hypoxia with positron emission tomography. B J C, 112(2), 238-250. DOI:10.1038/bjc.2014.610. Publication link: ee204395-147c-4321-9eb6-cb17180ee923
  • McCrudden, C. M., O'Rourke, M. G., Cherry, K. E., Yuen, H. F., O'Rourke, D., Babur, M., ... Robson, T. (2015).

    Vasoactivity of rucaparib, a PARP-1 inhibitor, is a complex process that involves myosin light chain kinase, P2 receptors, and PARP itself. P L o S One, 10(2), e0118187. [e0118187]. DOI:doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0118187. Publication link: 3a508fb3-acaa-448c-bfad-71ea09834be3


  • Bassan, P., Mellor, J., Shapiro, J., Williams, K. J., Lisanti, M. P., & Gardner, P. (2014).

    Transmission FT-IR chemical imaging on glass substrates: Applications in infrared spectral histopathology. Analytical Chemistry, 86(3), 1648-1653. DOI:10.1021/ac403412n. Publication link: b807767d-962f-438a-bb2a-4c0ac873d978 | PubMed:24410403
  • Bola, B. M., Chadwick, A. L., Michopoulos, F., Blount, K. G., Telfer, B. A., Williams, K. J., ... Stratford, I. J. (2014).

    Inhibition of Monocarboxylate transporter-1 (MCT1) by AZD3965 enhances radiosensitivity by reducing lactate transport. Molecular Cancer Therapeutics, [pii: molcanther.1091.2013]. . Publication link: 90189f9b-436e-4bfd-813b-c3518a037de7
  • Kadirvel, M., Fairclough, M., Cawthorne, C., Rowling, E. J., Babur, M., McMahon, A., ... Brown, G. (2014).

    Detection of apoptosis by PET/CT with the diethyl ester of [ 18F]ML-10 and fluorescence imaging with a dansyl analogue. Bioorganic and Medicinal Chemistry, 22(1), 341-349. DOI:10.1016/j.bmc.2013.11.019. Publication link: ed2075af-ef05-4a97-b815-d1ecb6231ce6 | PubMed:24290974
  • Wouters, A., Pauwels, B., Burrows, N., Baay, M., Deschoolmeester, V., Vu, T. N., ... Lardon, F. (2014).

    The radiosensitising effect of gemcitabine and its main metabolite dFdU under low oxygen conditions is in vitro not dependent on functional HIF-1 protein. BMC Cancer, 14(1), [594]. DOI:10.1186/1471-2407-14-594. Publication link: d2fccfa0-e2e5-489b-ab8f-0d7448d94574
  • Williams, K. J., Armitage, E. G., & Kotze, H. L. (2014).

    Correlation-based network analysis of cancer metabolism- A new systems biology approach in metabolomics. In Springerbriefs in systems biology. London: Published by Springer New York Heidelberg Dordrecht. . Publication link: e0390cb2-607a-403b-a423-5df4f48eb479
  • Williams, K. J., McCrudden, C. M., Curtin, E. N. (Ed.), & Sharma, R. (Ed.) (2014).

    The vasoactivity of PARP inhibitors. In In PARP Inhibitors for Cancer Therapy. Published by Springer, under the series Cancer Drug Discovery and Development, managed by Series Editor, Dr. Beverly Teicher (Chief, Molecular Pharmacology Branch, National Cancer Institute). . Publication link: d2ef5510-48f3-460b-948e-f21daa9342f1


  • Burrows, N., Telfer, B., Brabant, G., & Williams, K. J. (2013).

    Inhibiting the phosphatidylinositide 3-kinase pathway blocks radiation-induced metastasis associated with Rho-GTPase and Hypoxia-inducible factor-1 activity. Radiotherapy and Oncology, 108(3), 548-553. DOI:10.1016/j.radonc.2013.06.027. Publication link: 91599da9-23b4-4df2-bfeb-3542eada5ec3
  • Cawthorne, C., Burrows, N., Gieling, R. G., Morrow, C. J., Forster, D., Gregory, J., ... Williams, K. J. (2013).

    [18F]-FLT positron emission tomography can be used to image the response of sensitive tumors to PI3-Kinase inhibition with the novel agent GDC-0941. Molecular Cancer Therapeutics, 12(5), 819-828. DOI:10.1158/1535-7163.MCT-12-0905. Publication link: 37c6e874-1239-4016-afdf-05b94cc06128
  • Kotze, H. L., Armitage, E. G., Fletcher, J. S., Henderson, A., Williams, K. J., Lockyer, N. P., & Vickerman, J. C. (2013).

    ToF-SIMS as a tool for metabolic profiling small biomolecules in cancer systems. Surface and Interface Analysis, 45(1), 277-281. DOI:10.1002/sia.5055. Publication link: 161b64df-6cea-4e12-8e71-977ea7d9448a
  • Simpson, K. L., Cawthorne, C., Zhou, C., Hodgkinson, C. L., Walker, M. J., Trapani, F., ... Macfalane, M. (2013).

    A caspase-3 'death-switch' in colorectal cancer cells for induced and synchronous tumor apoptosis in vitro and in vivo facilitates the development of minimally invasive cell death biomarkers. Cell Death and Disease, 4(5), e613. [e613]. DOI:10.1038/cddis.2013.137. Publication link: e9c4a01a-88a7-4204-adaf-7b5b63b4e821 | PubMed:23640455
  • Stovold, R., Meredith, S. L., Bryant, J. L., Babur, M., Williams, K. J., Dean, E. J., ... White, A. (2013).

    Neuroendocrine and epithelial phenotypes in small-cell lung cancer: Implications for metastasis and survival in patients. British Journal of Cancer, 108(8), 1704-1711. DOI:10.1038/bjc.2013.112. Publication link: c8b0e3e3-ee89-450b-8ce1-979f2607d5f8 | PubMed:23519056


  • Ferreras, C., Rushton, G., Cole, C. L., Babur, M., Telfer, B. A., van, K. T. H., ... Avizienyte, E. (2012).

    Endothelial Heparan Sulfate 6-O-sulfation Levels Regulate Angiogenic Responses of Endothelial Cells to FGF2 and VEGF. J Biol Chem, 287(43), 36132-46. . Publication link: a50ac3c2-3daa-43ed-a73b-eba1cb879ce1
  • Gieling, R. G., Babur, M., Mamnani, L., Burrows, N., Telfer, B. A., Carta, F., ... Williams, K. J. (2012).

    Antimetastatic effect of sulfamate carbonic anhydrase IX inhibitors in breast carcinoma xenografts. Journal of Medicinal Chemistry, 55(11), 5591-5600. DOI:10.1021/jm300529u. Publication link: 118b91e4-02fa-472b-bd1b-a109f83a2163 | PubMed:22621623


  • Ali, M., Kamjoo, M., Thomas, H. D., Kyle, S., Pavlovska, I., Babur, M., ... Williams, K. J. (2011).

    The clinically active PARP inhibitor AG014699 ameliorates cardiotoxicity but does not enhance the efficacy of doxorubicin, despite improving tumor perfusion and radiation response in mice. Molecular Cancer Therapeutics, 10(12), 2320-2329. DOI:10.1158/1535-7163.MCT-11-0356. Publication link: 5208a3c4-fc95-4d8d-9fad-1f920c9ba350 | PubMed:21926192
  • Burrows, N., Babur, M., Resch, J., Ridsdale, S., Mejin, M., Rowling, E. J., ... Williams, K. J. (2011).

    GDC-0941 inhibits metastatic characteristics of thyroid carcinomas by targeting both the phosphoinositide-3 kinase (PI3K) and hypoxia-inducible factor-1α (HIF-1α) pathways. Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, 96(12), E1934-E1943. DOI:10.1210/jc.2011-1426. Publication link: 0850f86c-14bb-41ce-a793-5636d1539288 | PubMed:21994956
  • Golinska, M., Troy, H., Chung, Y. L., McSheehy, P. M., Mayr, M., Yin, X., ... Griffiths, J. R. (2011).

    Adaptation to HIF-1 deficiency by upregulation of the AMP/ATP ratio and phosphofructokinase activation in hepatomas. BMC Cancer, 11, [198]. DOI:10.1186/1471-2407-11-198. Publication link: e11175f2-f5f3-4bb5-b875-f8dc99d1d448


  • Burrows, N., Resch, J., Cowen, R. L., Von Wasielewski, R., Hoang-Vu, C., West, C. M., ... Brabant, G. (2010).

    Expression of hypoxia-inducible factor 1α in thyroid carcinomas. Endocrine-Related Cancer, 17(1), 61-72. DOI:10.1677/ERC-08-0251. Publication link: cbd270c5-2b83-4308-b51c-ac064c45584a | PubMed:19808899
  • Lunt, S. J., Cawthorne, C., Ali, M., Telfer, B. A., Babur, M., Smigova, A., ... Williams, K. J. (2010).

    The hypoxia-selective cytotoxin NLCQ-1 (NSC 709257) controls metastatic disease when used as an adjuvant to radiotherapy. British Journal of Cancer, 103(2), 201-208. DOI:10.1038/sj.bjc.6605753. Publication link: f865f5eb-68ac-4b4c-9939-a114c64af83a | PubMed:20588272
  • Sommer, P., Cowen, R. L., Berry, A., Cookson, A., Telfer, B. A., Williams, K. J., ... Ray, D. W. (2010).

    Glucocorticoid receptor over-expression promotes human small cell lung cancer apoptosis in vivo and thereby slows tumor growth. Endocrine-Related Cancer, 17(1), 203-213. DOI:10.1677/ERC-09-0241. Publication link: 13408caf-f50a-4203-9141-581f50c0ede1 | PubMed:20015838


  • Ali, M., Telfer, B. A., McCrudden, C., O'Rourke, M., Thomas, H. D., Kamjoo, M., ... Williams, K. J. (2009).

    Vasoactivity of AG014699, a clinically active small molecule inhibitor of poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase: A contributory factor to chemopotentiation in vivo?. Clinical Cancer Research, 15(19), 6106-6112. DOI:10.1158/1078-0432.CCR-09-0398. Publication link: df29a520-ae82-4b5b-b890-92494e41c669 | PubMed:19789326
  • Shannon, A. M., Telfer, B. A., Smith, P. D., Babur, M., Logie, A., Wilkinson, R. W., ... Wedge, S. R. (2009).

    The mitogen-activated protein/extracellular signal-regulated kinase kinase 1/2 inhibitor AZD6244 (ARRY-142886) enhances the radiation responsiveness of lung and colorectal tumor xenografts. Clinical Cancer Research, 15(21), 6619-6629. DOI:10.1158/1078-0432.CCR-08-2958. Publication link: c2f2aff2-d899-4389-9cd9-f5f5a1929648 | PubMed:19843666
  • Williams, K. J., Albertella, M. R., Fitzpatrick, B., Loadman, P. M., Shnyder, S. D., Chinje, E. C., ... Stratford, I. J. (2009).

    In vivo activation of the hypoxia-targeted cytotoxin AQ4N in human tumor xenografts. Molecular Cancer Therapeutics, 8(12), 3266-3275. DOI:10.1158/1535-7163.MCT-09-0396. Publication link: 2b31ae8e-3480-436e-9f97-325f46bc8c2b | PubMed:19996276

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