Dr Ola Rominiyi
BSc (Hons) MB ChB (Hons) MRCS PhD
Department of Neuroscience
Department of Oncology and Metabolism
NIHR Clinical Lecturer in Neurosurgery
+44 114 2711900
Full contact details
Department of Neuroscience
Royal Hallamshire Hospital
Ola Rominiyi studied medicine at the University of Manchester where he obtained a 1st Class Honours degree in Physiology & Pharmacology and completed a degree in Clinical Medicine graduating with Honours in 2011.
After completing House Officer posts in Cambridge, King’s Lynn and Oxford, in 2014, Ola secured a highly competitive neurosurgical training number in Sheffield. During his neurosurgical training Ola developed a strong interest in neuro-oncology research as a means towards reducing the devastation brain tumours cause patients and families. Supported by a Royal College of Surgeons and Neurocare Clinical PhD Fellowship, and Yorkshire’s Brain Tumour Charity (formerly BTRS), he was awarded a PhD in Molecular Neuro-Oncology in 2020.
During Ola’s PhD, under the supervision Dr Spencer Collis, he identified novel combination treatment strategies based on multimodal targeting of the DNA damage response in glioblastoma. He also developed new clinically- and surgically-relevant patient-derived cancer stem cell models to establish the Sheffield ‘Living Biobank’ of Glioblastoma. In 2021, Ola was awarded Sheffield’s first NIHR Clinical Lectureship in Neurosurgery which enables him to combine ongoing clinical training with research as Translational Lead for the newly established Sheffield Translational Brain Tumour Research Group.
- Research interests
Understanding spatial intratumoural heterogeneity in high-grade brain tumours with a particular focus on responses to DNA damage and leveraging this knowledge to deliver new ways to monitor and treat disease in patients. I aim to combine a long-term ethos of excellence in clinical and surgical practice with internationally excellent academic research to ensure the best possible care and outcomes are extended to patients both now and in the future.
- Evaluating the impact of neurosurgical rotation experience in Africa on the interest and perception of medical students towards a career in neurosurgery : a protocol for a continental, cross-sectional study. Journal of Surgical Protocols and Research Methodologies, 2022(2).
- Evaluating the impact of neurosurgical rotation experience in Africa on the interest and perception of medical students towards a career in neurosurgery : a continental, multi-centre, cross-sectional study. Frontiers in Surgery, 9.
- SARS‐CoV‐2 infection and venous thromboembolism after surgery: an international prospective cohort study. Anaesthesia, 77(1), 28-39.
- CovidNeuroOnc: A UK multicenter, prospective cohort study of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the neuro-oncology service. Neuro-Oncology Advances, 3(1). View this article in WRRO
- Effect of COVID-19 pandemic lockdowns on planned cancer surgery for 15 tumour types in 61 countries: an international, prospective, cohort study. The Lancet Oncology, 22(11), 1507-1517.
- Effects of pre‐operative isolation on postoperative pulmonary complications after elective surgery: an international prospective cohort study. Anaesthesia, 76(11), 1454-1464.
- Early outcomes and complications following cardiac surgery in patients testing positive for coronavirus disease 2019: An international cohort study. The Journal of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery, 162(2), e355-e372. View this article in WRRO
- Correction: Tumour treating fields therapy for glioblastoma: current advances and future directions. British Journal of Cancer, 125(4), 623-623.
- DDRugging glioblastoma: understanding and targeting the DNA damage response to improve future therapies.. Molecular Oncology. View this article in WRRO
- O2: TOWARDS A LIVING BIOBANK OF SURGICALLY-RELEVANT 3-DIMENSIONAL GLIOBLASTOMA STEM CELL MODELS TO EVALUATE NOVEL THERAPEUTICS AND INTERROGATE INTRATUMOURAL HETEROGENEITY. British Journal of Surgery, 108(Supplement_1).
- Timing of surgery following SARS‐CoV‐2 infection: an international prospective cohort study. Anaesthesia, 76(6), 748-758.
- Identification and validation of ERK5 as a DNA damage modulating drug target in glioblastoma. Cancers, 13(5). View this article in WRRO
- Tumour treating fields therapy for glioblastoma : current advances and future directions. British Journal of Cancer, 124, 697-709. View this article in WRRO
- Preoperative nasopharyngeal swab testing and postoperative pulmonary complications in patients undergoing elective surgery during the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic.. British Journal of Surgery, 108(1), 88-96. View this article in WRRO
- Death following pulmonary complications of surgery before and during the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic. British Journal of Surgery, 108(12), 1448-1464.
- Elective Cancer Surgery in COVID-19–Free Surgical Pathways During the SARS-CoV-2 Pandemic: An International, Multicenter, Comparative Cohort Study. Journal of Clinical Oncology, 39(1), 66-78.
- COVD-15. COVIDNEUROONC: A UK MULTI-CENTRE, PROSPECTIVE COHORT STUDY OF THE IMPACT OF THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC ON THE NEURO-ONCOLOGY SERVICE. Neuro-Oncology, 22(Supplement_2), ii23-ii24.
- Delaying surgery for patients with a previous SARS-CoV-2 infection. British Journal of Surgery, 107(12), e601-e602. View this article in WRRO
- Impact of COVID-19 pandemic on surgical neuro-oncology multi-disciplinary team decision making: a national survey (COVID-CNSMDT Study). BMJ Open, 10(8). View this article in WRRO
- TMOD-39. EX-VIVO 3-DIMENSIONAL MODELS OF POST-SURGICAL RESIDUAL DISEASE IN HUMAN GLIOBLASTOMA. Neuro-Oncology, 21(Supplement_6), vi271-vi271.
- RDNA-12. THE FANCONI ANAEMIA (FA) PATHWAY AND GLIOBLASTOMA: A NEW FOUNDATION FOR DNA DAMAGE RESPONSE TARGETED COMBINATIONS. Neuro-Oncology, 21(Supplement_6), vi209-vi209.
- Subarachnoid haemorrhage with negative initial neurovascular imaging: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Acta Neurochirurgica, 161(10), 2013-2026. View this article in WRRO
- The ‘Ins and Outs’ of Early Preclinical Models for Brain Tumor Research: Are They Valuable and Have We Been Doing It Wrong?. Cancers, 11(3). View this article in WRRO
- P04.74 Preclinical evaluation of combinations targeting the DNA damage response in 2D and 3D models of glioblastoma stem cells. Neuro-Oncology, 20(suppl_3), iii297-iii297.
- Residual enhancing disease after surgery for glioblastoma: evaluation of practice in the United Kingdom. Neuro-Oncology Practice, 5(2), 74-81.
- Colon cancer presenting with polymyositis—A case report. International Journal of Surgery Case Reports, 2(7), 225-227.
- Neurosurgery activity levels in the United Kingdom and republic of Ireland during the first wave of the covid-19 pandemic – a retrospective cross-sectional cohort study. British Journal of Neurosurgery, 1-6.
- Machine learning risk prediction of mortality for patients undergoing surgery with perioperative SARS-CoV-2: the COVIDSurg mortality score. British Journal of Surgery.
- Is cranial computed tomography unnecessary in children with a head injury and isolated vomiting?. BMJ, l1875-l1875.
Conference proceedings papers
- Ex vivo-led drug discovery in glioblastoma. WFNOS 2022 Abstract Book (pp s240)
- Does socioeconomic status influence the survival of patients undergoing surgery for newly-diagnosed glioblastoma? A 5-year review of deprivation indices and outcomes across South Yorkshire, United Kingdom. WFNOS 2022 Abstract Book (pp s197)
- Combined inhibition of the Fanconi anaemia (FA) pathway and ATR promotes R-loop generation and profound radiosensitisation in glioblastoma. WFNOS 2022 Abstract Book (pp s253)
- Tumour treating fields (TTFields) therapy for glioblastoma: a quantitative and qualitative summary of research and advances in our understanding. WFNOS 2022 Abstract Book (pp s251)
- Patient-centric design of a neuro-oncology research primer to enhance communication and support of specimen donation for preclinical research. WFNOS 2022 Abstract Book (pp s65)
- DNA damage response inhibitor combinations to enhance TTFields potency using clinically relevant ex-vivo glioblastoma models. WFNOS 2022 Abstract Book (pp s227-s221)
- Development of unique ex vivo models of post-surgical residual glioblastoma. WFNOS 2022 Abstract Book (pp s219)
- COVIDNEUROONC: A UK MULTI-CENTRE, PROSPECTIVE COHORT STUDY OF THE IMPACT OF THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC ON THE NEURO-ONCOLOGY SERVICE. NEURO-ONCOLOGY, Vol. 22 (pp 23-24)
- EX-VIVO 3-DIMENSIONAL MODELS OF POST-SURGICAL RESIDUAL DISEASE IN HUMAN GLIOBLASTOMA. NEURO-ONCOLOGY, Vol. 21 (pp 271-271)
- THE FANCONI ANAEMIA (FA) PATHWAY AND GLIOBLASTOMA: A NEW FOUNDATION FOR DNA DAMAGE RESPONSE TARGETED COMBINATIONS. NEURO-ONCOLOGY, Vol. 21 (pp 209-209)
- FA-based combinations to target the DNA damage response in glioblastoma. Neuro-Oncology, Vol. 20(suppl_5) (pp v358-v358). Winchester, UK, 4 July 2018 - 6 July 2018. View this article in WRRO
- PRECLINICAL EVALUATION OF COMBINATIONS TARGETING THE DNA DAMAGE RESPONSE IN 2D AND 3D MODELS OF GLIOBLASTOMA STEM CELLS. NEURO-ONCOLOGY, Vol. 20 (pp 297-297)
- Research group
As part of the newly established Sheffield Translational Brain Tumour Research Group, I work in close collaboration with Dr Spencer Collis (Scientific Lead) and Mr Yahia Al-Tamimi (Clinical Lead) as the Group’s Translational Lead to help drive forward a number of projects.
Postgraduate Students as Primary Supervisor
Kelsey Wosnitzka (PhD Student)
Claudia Zizzo (MSc Science Communication)
As Secondary/Tertiary Supervisor
Aurelie Vanderlinden Dibekeme (PhD student)
Connor McGarrity-Cottrell (PhD student)
Hannah Gagg (PhD student)
Andra-Gabriela Antohi (MRes student)
Dr Katie Myers (PDRA & Genome Stability Group Lab Manager) – with Dr Collis
Dr Callum Jones (PDRA) – with Dr Collis
American Association for Cancer Research (AACR)
GE Healthcare UK
National Centre for the Replacement Refinement & Reduction of Animals in Research (NC3Rs)
National Institute for Health Research (NIHR)
Royal College of Surgeons (RCS)
Sheffield Hospitals Charity (SHC)
Sheffield NIHR Biomedical Research Centre (BRC)
The Brain Tumour Charity (TBTC)
Weston Park Cancer Charity (WPCC)
Yorkshire’s Brain Tumour Charity (YBTC)
- Teaching interests
- Neuro-oncology and the DNA damage response
- Clinical Neurosurgery
- Professional activities
2020-2021+ NIHR Surgical Translational Research Collaborative – Sheffield Representative.
2018-2021+ Lead in TUoS ‘Industry-Academia’ collaboration with Novocure (TTFields).
2017-2021+ Lead for 100,000 Genomes Project Neuro-Oncology Recruitment & Data Curation at STH.
2017-2021+ Frequent reviewer for the British Journal of Neurosurgery, Cancer Biology & Medicine, British Journal of Cancer.
2016-2021+ Lead for Patient-Derived Glioblastoma Sample Retrieval at STH.
- Current Projects
A. Advancing DNA damage response (DDR) targeted therapeutic combinations using surgical delivery
Robust data from my PhD studies reveals that simultaneous inhibition of FA pathway and PARP or ATR represents a highly efficacious approach to eliminate treatment-resistant glioblastoma stem cells. However, numerous compounds used to target these key DDR processes demonstrate poor penetration of the blood-brain barrier. I am therefore seeking funding to investigate the post-surgical intracavity delivery of our DDR-targeted combinations within a thermo-responsive, long-lasting, biodegradable paste in collaboration with Dr Ruman Rahman & Mr Stuart Smith (University of Nottingham) (https://doi.org/10.1158/1078-0432.CCR-18-3850).
B. Understanding and overcoming treatment resistance in glioblastoma stem cells
Working in close partnership with Dr Spencer Collis (University of Sheffield), we are currently investigating the following therapeutic approaches.
B1 – Ex vivo 3D models of post-surgical residual disease to improve biological understanding and treatment: These studies aim to characterise the specific nuances of disease typically left-behind after surgery and identify an ‘Achilles heel’ of residual disease to help ensure future therapies can effectively eradicate post-surgical disease (https://www.thebraintumourcharity.org/brain-tumour-diagnosis-treatment/types-of-brain-tumour-adult/glioblastoma/glioblastoma-research/new-3d-models-invading-glioblastoma/). We are also developing these surgically-relevant models as a replacement for animal studies in certain contexts (https://nc3rs.org.uk/living-biobank-post-surgical-residual-glioblastoma-replace-animal-studies).
B2 – Ex vivo drug screening using human tissue to personalise cancer therapy: In collaboration with Professor Thomas Helleday (Karolinska Institutet), Dr Juha Rantala (Misvik Biology, CEO - https://www.misvik.com), Dr Greg Wells (Ex vivo Drug Screening Lead, Weston Park Cancer Centre), Professor Sarah Danson (Sheffield CRUK ECMC and ex vivo Clinical Lead) and Allcyte (https://www.allcyte.com), I aim to ensure these technologies, which use ultra-high content microscopy of freshly dissociated tumour tissue to prioritise the clinical potential of over 260 approved and experimental compounds, are applied to benefit patients with high-grade brain tumours (https://nc3rs.org.uk/ex-vivo-drug-screening-using-human-tissue-personalise-cancer-therapy-and-replace-murine-avatars).
B3 – Combining TTFields with therapeutic DDR inhibitors for the improved treatment of brain tumours: In collaboration with Novocure, we are developing more effective combination treatments based on TTFields therapy, which uses low-intensity, intermediate frequency alternating electrical fields to treat cancer and has been demonstrated to increase overall survival for patients with newly-diagnosed glioblastoma in a Phase III clinical trial (https://doi.org/10.1001/jama.2017.18718).
Figure: Summary of the mechanisms of action of TTFields.
From Rominiyi O & Vanderlinden A et al. Tumour treating fields therapy for glioblastoma: current advances and future directions. British Journal of Cancer (2021) 124(4):697-709 (https://doi.org/10.1038/s41416-020-01136-5).
B4 – Development of novel inhibitors of the FA pathway (nFAPi) to treat brain cancer: I also support Dr Spencer Collis, Professor Beining Chen (Department of Chemistry, University of Sheffield) and Mr Thomas Carroll (Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust) in the development of potent, highly-selective compounds which inhibit FA pathway activity and have the potential to enhance the effectiveness of chemotherapy and radiotherapy in high-grade glioma.
B5 – Dissecting spatiofunctional heterogeneity in the DNA damage response of glioblastoma: These studies aim to leverage advanced surgically-relevant models of glioblastoma with detailed spatial characterisation to better understand regional differences in responses to DNA damaging therapy at the molecular level and develop therapeutic strategies able to tackle this biological complexity.
Collectively, leveraging data on the most attractive therapeutic targets from these studies and our continually expanding Living Biobank of surgically-relevant, patient-specific glioblastoma stem cell models, we aim to work towards the establishment of strong academic collaborations and future industrial partnerships with pharmaceutical companies to help prioritise the translation of novel compounds. We are always pleased to consider proposals to collaborate and discuss sharing these resources where this has the potential to advance cancer therapy.
C. Detecting a ‘Pink Drink’ in the blood as an early warning system for brain tumours – towards Sheffield Monitoring Test (SMT)
These studies aim establish whether protoporphyrin IX (PpIX), the fluorescent molecule used to improve surgical resection rates for glioblastoma intra-operatively after administering 5-ALA (the ‘pink drink’), can also be detected in the blood to provide a tumour marker for glioblastoma which quantitatively reflects tumour burden.
D. Developing a ‘Phase 0’ neurosurgical clinical trial capability in Sheffield
‘Phase 0’ neurosurgical clinical trials (https://doi.org/10.1093/neuros/nyz218), where a drug is administered pre-operatively then resected tumour tissue assessed in the laboratory to quantify drug concentration and target effects represent an extremely valuable and underutilized pragmatic tool to confirm whether or not potential anti-cancer drugs are able to sufficiently cross the blood-brain/blood-tumour barrier. We are actively seeking funding to establish this capability in Sheffield and help ensure therapeutic approaches, including those developed by our team, have a clear route towards the clinic. The establishment of a Phase 0 / ‘window of opportunity study’ capability will be well supported by Sheffield’s growing capability to support fulfilment of the translational pathway including through the Early Phase Initiative (EPI) and Sheffield’s status as a CRUK Experimental Cancer Medicine Centre (ECMC).
I am pleased to consider applications / expressions of interest from prospective PhD students.