All funds donated to Leukaemia & Lymphoma NI remain in Northern Ireland to support our many projects here.

We fund laboratory based research, clinical support and education.

Leukaemia & Lymphoma NI Research Strategy 2020-24

More information on the projects that LLNI fund (and have funded in the past) is available below.

  • Core Support

    Stem Cell Harvest Grant

    A research technician, Anne Jordan, is supported by this grant undertakes the assessment of stem cell harvests, processing of samples collected through the NI BioBank and other research projects.

    General Consumables Grant

    Recurrent grant to cover recurrent consumables and small pieces of equipment for all projects on blood cancer research in the CCRCB

    Core Tissue Culture Grant

    Recurrent grant to cover the reagents and plastic ware for tissue culture studies across all projects undertaken in the blood cancer research group

    Haematology Development Grant

    Recurrent grant awarded to the Professor of Experimental Haematology to support blood cancer research.  The funding has been used to enable short term extensions to contracts for post-docs or graduate students; support for visiting scientists and students; purchase and maintenance of medium scale equipment; attendance at conferences, workshops and other events by covering travel, accommodation and registration; and cost of publishing manuscripts for open access.

  • Education

    Summer research students

    This grant funds up to five summer research studentships in blood cancer research in the Centre for Cancer Research and Cell Biology (CCRCB) at Queen’s University Belfast.

    The students undertake an 8-week research project to complement the on-going studies.

  • Clinical Support

    Clinical Trials Research Nurse

    Funding a much needed clinical research nurse support to help deliver and develop a portfolio of clinical trials in myeloma, leukaemia and lymphoma, each with their own series of objectives and endpoints.

    Financial Support for Northern Ireland patients in trials NCRI AML18 and NCRI AML19

    This grant supported the opening of the AML18 and 19 Clinical trials across Northern Ireland by providing provision for specific drugs to be included in the trail protocol/

  • Pan-Myeloid malignancies

    My BLOCk

    “My BLOCk”, myeloid blood cancers initiative, has the aims of integrating sequencing of diagnostic and relapse samples from patients with MDS, AML and MPN with drug screens.

    It is hoped that the best therapeutic option or combinations would be identified for the patient in relation to their mutational profile during the course of their disease.

    Now in Phase 2, we plan to investigate further by expanding the cohort of patients studied and improving the panel so that it can be used to identify combinations for other blood cancers such as myeloma.

  • AML

    RNA Methylases as a Therapeutic Target

    This award was given to Drs Fiona Furlong and Jaine Blayney to undertake a project to profile chemical modifications on long non-coding RNA as a novel mechanisms controlling AML differentiation.  This award was given under the LLNI scheme of supporting pilot projects from early stage researchers with the aim of moving towards larger grants from other funders.

    Venom toxins as a therapeutic option

    One of the 2019 LLNI funded studentships, and jointly supervised by Prof. Karen McCloskey, James Boncan is studying how components of snake venom toxins may be utilised as a novel therapeutic agent.

    In addition, the project will examine important aspects how chemicals such as calcium are pumped in and out of leukaemia cells – a mechanism that may be exploited to increase the uptake of drugs.

    Elucidating the role of chromatin and epigenetic modifiers in AML

    Deidra Venney, the second of the 2019 students, will study how chromatin is remodelled and modulated in AML.  With co-supervisor, Dr Adone Mohd-Sarip, the project will understand how these processes impact on the development and progression of AML.

    Drug repurposing using multi-omics data

    This student, Paul Strain, will utilise the power of computational biology to understand how we could identify drug combinations from around 800 drugs.

    A simple pairwise analysis would involve 80,000 reactions but using innovative approaches this should be able to be reduced to a more realistic and cost-effective number.

    The student will be co-supervised by Dr Jaine Blayney.

    Ena Quirke/LLNI Scholarship

    Aine McGill has been awarded this scholarship which will fund her project, ‘Determining effective drug and radiation combinations for paediatric cancers’. which will explore drug and radiation treatment combinations for paediatric AML.

    Childhood acute myeloid leukaemia

    Edward Tang’s PhD project aims to understand primary chemotherapy resistance in childhood acute myeloid leukaemia (AML).

  • ALL


    A pilot grant, awarded to Prof David Gonzalez Sanchez will develop and assess a novel next-generation sequencing platform for the diagnosis of lymphoproliferative malignancies

  • CML

    We currently do not have any projects dedicated to Chronic Myeloid Leukaemia.

    Published research from our previous projects is available on our LLNI Funded Publications.

  • CLL

    Determination of mutational status in CLL

    This project, undertaken by Dr Mark Catherwood, is supported within the Haematology Development Grant.  Dr Catherwood is based in the haematology molecular diagnostic laboratories in Belfast City Hospital.

    His studies contribute too many UK and EU research networks including the European Research Consortium for CLL (ERIC).

    Epigenetic patterns in Chronic Lymphocytic Leukaemia and targeted therapies

    This project, led by Dr Effie Kostareli, is looking at a drug commonly used to treat CLL, called Ibrutinib, and why in a significant percentage of cases patients become resistant to this drug. It aims to understand treatment resistance mechanisms and opportunities for discovery of novel biomarkers. It is hoped it will pave the way for informed and better treatment decisions.


    Alison Williamson / LLNI Ph.D. Studentship

    This project, undertaken by Harmony Black, is investigating how mutations of the STAG2 gene have impacted on the ability of the cell to repair DNA damage as a result of disrupted chromatin student involving the cohesin complex.

    LLNI Research Fellowship

    Dr Katrina Lappin has been awarded an LLNI fellowship to continue her research. The research focus of this fellowship will be exploring immune activation in MDS and AML, and how we can exploit the immune response to target leukaemic cells.

    LLNI Ph.D. Studentship

    PhD Student Alex Mutch will be working on his project titled ‘Genetic dependencies of spliceosome mutated Myelodysplastic Syndromes and Acute Myeloid Leukaemia’.

  • MPN

    Myeloproliferative disorders: An In-Depth Case Control (MOSAICC) Study

    This grant was awarded to Professor Mary Frances McMullin, Dr Lesley Anderson and Dr Charlene McShane to conduct a UK-wide case-control study of MPNs to validate potential risk factors and identify additional exposure risks.

    The study is the largest ever case-control study of myeloproliferative neoplasms (MPNs), a group of rare blood cancers, who often experience symptoms such as debilitating fatigue, reduced quality of life (QoL) and capacity to complete routine daily activities.  The causes of MPNs remain unknown.

    The MOSAICC (MyelOproliferative neoplasmS: An In-depth Case Control) study builds on a successful pilot study led by researchers at Queen’s University Belfast, aiming to identify potential causes of MPNs; assess symptom burden and QoL and collect DNA, RNA and toenail samples for future studies of gene/environment interactions.

    The study team aim to recruit at least 560 patients with MPNs across 18 sites in the UK as well as a similar number of non-blood relatives/friends controls.  Cases and controls who agree to participate will be invited to take part in a telephone-based interview regarding their lifestyle, medical and occupational history.  Participants will also be asked to give details of their job and residential history, complete QoL questionnaires and provide blood and saliva samples and toe-nail clippings.

    This study will provide much needed information on risk factors for MPNs and the impact that this condition has on patients QoL.

    The MOSAICC study is funded by Leukaemia and Lymphoma NI (LLNI) and MPN Voice.

  • Myeloma

    Lectureship in Blood Cancers

    This grant funds a Lectureship post for Dr Lisa Crawford. Dr Crawford’s principle research interests lie in understanding how alterations in the ubiquitin proteasome system (UPS) contribute to the pathogenesis of Multiple Myeloma and applying this knowledge to identify opportunities for therapeutic intervention.

    The consequences of HUWE1 mutations in Myeloma

    This project, undertaken by Jonathan Morgan, is investigating the role of the E3 ligase HUWE1 in DNA replication in Myeloma cells and aims to explore whether dysregulation of HUWE1 contributes to genomic instability in Myeloma.

    DNA damage repair in Myeloma

    PhD student Roisin McAvera is investigating how loss of a gene (TRIM33), which is observed in about 20% of patients, affects the ability of myeloma cells to repair DNA damage. It is hoped that a better understanding of the role of TRIM33 may open up opportunities to therapeutically exploit DNA repair defects in these patients.

    Development and evaluation of small molecule inhibitors of HUWE1 in the treatment of Multiple Myeloma.

    PhD student Bryony Kennedy will look at the inhibition of the E3 ligase HUWE1 using small molecule inhibitors in multiple myeloma.

    Exosome-mediated molecular mechanisms in the progression of multiple myeloma

    PhD student Chloe Wylie’s project aims to understand resistance mechanisms in multiple myeloma and identify new molecular targets to sensitize patients to existing therapeutics.

    Developing small molecule inhibitors to target the HUWE1 mutation

    PhD student Beth McCrea’s project involves working on developing several types of small molecule inhibitors, a novel therapy for myeloma. These inhibitors will specifically target the HUWE1 mutation, which is mutated in 5% of all myeloma patients.

  • Lymphoma


    A pilot grant, awarded to Prof David Gonzalez Sanchez will develop and assess a novel next-generation sequencing platform for the diagnosis of lymphoproliferative malignancies

    Endocytosis in B cell lymphoma

    Grant awarded to Dr Dessi Malinova for a  project which aims to understand how B cells take up foreign matter (antigens) and how this is altered in malignant cells.

    Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma

    Dr Yaser Atlasi was awarded a grant of £25,000 in 2022 for a project on Non-Hodgkin Lymphomas (NHL). Current treatments for NHL includes a combination of intensive chemotherapy and immunotherapy which can bring positive results for patients. However many patients will relapse and go on to develop resistance to the drugs that are used to treat the lymphoma. Dr Atlasi’s project will investigate alternative strategies for targeting mechanisms involved in genome regulation to combat this drug resistance.

Leukaemia & Lymphoma NI is a member of the Association of Medical Research Charities (AMRC). Whilst we do not directly fund any research involving animals, we support the principal of using animals in research when there is absolutely no alternative. All AMRC charities support this principal and more information is outlined in this statement (hyperlink )

LLNI Funded Publications

You can view a list of Publications which LLNI has helped to fund:

Our Research Team

Applying for Funding

If you would like to apply for funding from Leukaemia & Lymphoma NI the first stage is to complete the Grant Application Summary and Breakdown of Costs and submit them to Please note these should be written in ‘layman’s terms’.

All applications will be assessed by the Scientific and Medical Committee and the LLNI Board of Directors. If the application proceeds to second stage applicants will be asked to complete the LLNI Grant application form.

Click here for full details of the Application Triage Process.

All successful applicants will be required to submit a progress report after 6 months.

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