We catch up with Sheona Scales, our new Pediatric Network Manager

18 Oct 2017

Congratulations and welcome! Which aspects of your new role are you most excited about?

I am excited about the mammoth task of using the knowledge and the expertise of the ECMC Programme Office, Cancer Research UK and everyone involved in the ECMC Network to try and help to support the paediatric network to grow. I think I have a large challenge ahead but I am relishing the opportunity. I am also excited to begin to work with such a lovely team of people, the ECMC Programme Office has been extremely warm and welcoming and now I am looking forward to meeting the rest of the Paediatric ECMC Network.

Where were you working before you came to Cancer Research UK? 

For the past 10 years, I was a Senior Investigator Scientist at the Francis Crick institute (and before that one of its founder institutes - The MRC National Institute for Medical Research). I studied Down syndrome, performing chromosome engineering to understand the genetics of Down Syndrome.

What do you think will be the big changes in your area in the next 5 years?

I think that the biggest change will be the increased development of precision medicine in paediatric cancers. However, having witnessed the changes in genome engineering in the past 5 years, I’ve learnt that sometimes the most interesting changes are the ones you don’t see coming! 

If you could be present at one scientific discovery, which one would it be? 

I would love to be present at the discovery of trisomy of chromosome 21 in individuals with Down Syndrome by Marthe Gautier and Jerome Lejeune in 1958. The discovery, for a long time, was attributed solely to Lejeune, however in recent years it has become apparent that Gautier actually made the discovery in the lab but she couldn’t image it. She allowed Lejeune to photograph her work and then discovered that he had published the work as his own. I would love to have been there to see what really happened and also to understand the struggles of the time for women in science.