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Dr Elaine Johnstone

Ordinary Fellow

Deputy Course Director, MSc Experimental and Translational Therapeutics

Department of Oncology

Elaine is a translational scientist with a passion for education, based in the Department of Oncology at Oxford University. She has a BSc in Medicinal Chemistry, an MSc in Molecular Pathology and Toxicology and a PhD in Cancer Pharmacology.

Her research interests are in drug pharmacology and mechanisms and her PhD studies introduced her to the concept of precision medicine, which she has been interested in throughout her career. After a postdoctoral fellowship studying differential drug responses in sarcoma at the University of Bordeaux, Elaine’s Oxford career initially focussed on cancer prevention, via optimising smoking cessation therapies. She aimed to better tailor treatment by studying individual nicotine metabolic pathways and modelling the effects of genomic variation in reward genes. She then shifted her focus towards clinical trials in cancer (predominantly colorectal cancer) and led a lab team identifying novel biomarkers of prognosis and studying the impact on treatment effectiveness, with the aim to improve patient outcomes.

Elaine’s enduring research interest is understanding patient variability to optimise existing and novel medicines. This overlaps with her current teaching-focused role; having worked on the MSc in Experimental Therapeutics for more than 15 years, she is now the Deputy Director and leads a module on Biomarkers and Precision Medicine. Elaine very much enjoys teaching and supervising students and aspires to expand her scholarship into educational research having recently completed the PGCert in Higher Teaching and Learning at the University of Oxford and as part of this successfully becoming a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (FHEA).