Nicola Sibson

Nicola Sibson

Supernumerary Fellow in Medicine; Professor of Imaging Neuroscience

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I am actively involved in teaching at the graduate level in Oxford. Within the Oxford Institute for Radiation Oncology, I was Director of Graduate Studies for eight years, and have supervised 15 D.Phil. students to completion, with 5 more currently in progress. I am also a Module Leader in Imaging Technologies for the M.Sc. in Radiation Biology course in the Department of Oncology, and I give lectures both on this course and also the University’s Experimental TherapeuticsM.Sc. and EPSRC and MRC CDT in Biomedical Imaging courses. I also lecture on a number of international graduate courses in Neuroimaging.

Although I am not currently involved in undergraduate teaching I have given numerous FHS undergraduate lectures in neuroscience and imaging, and also tutored Biochemistry at Somerville for first year BM and FHS students.


The majority of my research focusses on the application of MRI and other imaging modalities to the investigation of brain disease. We have studied many different models of human disease, including multiple sclerosis, stroke, cerebral malaria, Alzheimer’s disease and prion disease. However, our main focus is now secondary cancer (metastasis) to the brain, which is a major clinical problem and our work has a strong translational emphasis. Our interests lie in two primary areas – firstly, understanding the role of inflammation in tumour progression and, secondly, developing new imaging biomarkers for early diagnosis and treatment stratification. For more information see our departmental website. My research is funded primarily by Cancer Research UK and the Medical Research Council.

Selected Publications

Perez-Balderas F., van Kasteren S.I., Aljabali A.A.A., Wals K., Serres S., Jefferson A., Sarmiento Soto M., Khrapitchev A.A., Larkin J.R., Bristow C., Lee S.S., Bort G., De Simone F., Campbell S.J., Choudhury R.P., Anthony D.C.§, Sibson N.R.§, Davis B.G.§ (2017) Covalent assembly of nanoparticles as a peptidase-degradable platform for molecular MRI. Nat. Comm. 8:14254.

Sarmiento Soto M., O’Brien E.R., Andreou K., Scrace S.F., Zakaria R., Jenkinson M.D., O’Neill E., Sibson N.R. (2016) Disruption of tumour-host communication by downregulation of LFA-1 reduces COX-2 and e-NOS expression and inhibits brain metastasis growth.Oncotarget 7:52375-52391.

Larkin J., Dickens A.M., Claridge T.D.W., Bristow C., Andreou K., Anthony D.C., Sibson N.R. (2016) Early diagnosis of brain metastases using a biofluids-metabolomics approach in mice. Theranostics 6:2161-2169.

Dickens A.M., Larkin J.R., Griffin J.L., Cavey A., Matthews L., Turner M.R., Wilcock G.K., Davis B.G., Claridge T.D.W., Palace J., Anthony D.C., Sibson N.R. (2014) A type-II biomarker for differentiating relapsing remitting from secondary progressive multiple sclerosis. Neurology 83:1492-1499.

O’Brien E., Kersemans V., Tredwell M., Checa B., Serres S., Sarmiento Soto M., Gouverneur V., Leppert D., Anthony D.C., Sibson N.R. (2014) Glial activation in the early stages of brain metastasis; TSPO as a diagnostic biomarker. J. Nucl. Med. 55:275-80.

Sarmiento Soto M., Serres S., Anthony D.C., Sibson N.R. (2014) Functional role of endothelial adhesion molecules in the early stages of brain metastasis. Neuro-Oncology 16:540-51.

Connell J.J., Chatain G., Cornelissen B., Vallis K., Hamilton A., Seymour L., Anthony D.C. Sibson N.R. (2013) Selective permeabilisation of the blood-brain barrier at sites of metastasis. J. Natl. Cancer Inst. 105:1634-43.

Serres S., Sarmiento Soto M., Hamilton A., McAteer M.A., Carbonell W.S., Robson M.D., Ansorge O., Khrapitchev A., Bristow C., Balathasan L., Weissensteiner T., Anthony D.C., Choudhury R.P., Muschel R.J., Sibson N.R. (2012)  Molecular MRI enables early and sensitive detection of brain metastases. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 109:6674-9.

Serres S., Anthony D.C., Jiang Y., Broom K.A., Campbell S.J., Tyler D.J., van Kasteren S.I., Davis B.G., Sibson N.R. (2009) Systemic inflammatory response reactivates immune-mediated lesions in rat brain. J. Neurosci. 29(15):4820-8.

*McAteer M. A., *Sibson N. R., von zur Mühlen C., Schneider J. E., Lowe A. S., Warrick N., Channon K., Anthony D. C., Choudhury R. P. (2007) In vivo magnetic resonance imaging of acute brain inflammation using microparticles of iron oxide. Nat. Med. 13:1253-8.

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