Dr Miriam Dwek

Dr Miriam Dwek

Miriam read a BSc in Applied Biology, in part-time mode, whilst working at Smith & Nephew Medical, Hull.  On graduation she joined the biotech company Oxford Glycosystems as a Manufacturing Scientist. Oxford Glycosystems was the first spin-out company from the University of Oxford and subsequently became part of the CellTech group.   Her PhD was undertaken at UCL Medical School in the Department of Surgery. After two periods of post-doctoral work she moved to the University of Westminster and set up her own lab where she has been based since 2002.  Miriam established the Cancer Research Group at the University of Westminster in 2011 and the MSc Biomedical Sciences Cancer Biology Pathway.  

She has been a passionate exponent of equality and diversity issues having juggled her career whilst having children and both herself and partner working full time.  She established and led the Diversity and Inclusion Research Community for the University of Westminster from 2019-21. In this endeavour she brought together researchers working on this topic across the entire University of Westminster, to find out more about the recent work please click here.  Miriam is the Director for the College for Research and Knowledge Exchange.

Her Cancer Research focus remains harnessing the glycosylation changes evident in cancer. Over the last two decades the bulk of her research has concentrated on investigating and developing improved biomarkers and improving the action of anti-cancer agents by investigating the role of glycosylation inhibitors as anticancer agents. The majority of the work has used breast cancer as an exemplar but  also includes work on colorectal and prostate cancer.  She has established 3D models of cancer under fluid flow and pressure as a platform technology for testing cancer drugs and cell behaviour. She has extended her work to include multidisciplinary studies including a major focus on the role of diet and behavioural factors on breast cancer risk and outcomes.  

If you are interested in pursuing research on Diversity and Inclusion or if you are a self-funded PhD or have a scholarship for a PhD in one of these areas above please contact me at m.v.dwek@westminster.ac.uk 

News Items: CNN progamme "Today in America"The Breast Cancer Cookbook Project

My research interests lie in the identification of factors influencing the outcome of patients with breast cancer. In particular characterisation and validation of biomarkers and potential targets for metastatic breast, colorectal and prostate cancer. I am Principal Investigator of the DietCompLyf study into breast cancer patient behaviour and long-term outcomes. The DietCompLyf study is an on-going study and the largest study of its type in the UK it is concerned with diet and lifestyle factors and patient outcomes.   Our research utilises tissue/ body fluids from cancer patients and these studies are augmented by the use of in vitro cell line models of cancers with different phenotypes.

DIET and LIFESTYLE: Phytoestrogen consumption, weight gain, supplement and alcohol usage, quality of life and demographics and breast cancer outcomes (with Dr Claire Robertson).  Dietary fat consumption and exercise and breast cancer outcomes (with Dr Claire Robertson, Dr Marie Cantwell and Prof Jayne Woodside). After breast cancer pooling project (with Dr Sarah Nechuta, Vanderbilt). Phytocloud – app to capture patients’ diets and lifestyles (with Dr Economou and Robertson). Computational intelligence systems for modelling breast cancer risk (with Professor Thierry Chaussalet and Dr Soria). What If Breast cancer film project (with Dr Christine Douglass and Prof Ten Brink ). The Breast Cancer Cookbook project (with Dr Claire Robertson and the late Prof Mo Keshtgar).

BIOMARKERS: Blood and urine markers of breast cancer metastasis.

MOLECULAR STUDIES: In vitro 3D models for studying the effectiveness of biological therapies (with Tayebeh Azimi and Prof Marilena Loizidou). Novel technologies including the Attana A-200 cell biosensor for studying drug interactions (with Dr Diluka Peiris).  Preparation of recombinant molecules for targeting breast cancer (with Dr Anatoliy Markiv). Colorectal and prostate cancer studies (with Dr Juliette Smith-Ravin). Glycobiology of breast cancer with Prof Udo Schumacher and Dr Susan Brookes.


External Examiner: PhD (University of London, Imperial College, University of Leeds, Oxford Brookes, Middlesex, UeL, Université des Antilles et de la Guyane, CNRS Grenoble), MPhil (Oxford Brookes) and MD (University of London) students.

Participating member: Breast Cancer Association Consortium.

Editorial Board: Scientific Reports, Cogent Medicine.

  • Cancer Mechanisms and Biomarkers

Sustainable Development Goals
In brief

Skills / expertise

glycobiology, in vitro models, drug screening, 3Rs, cancer and diet and cancer

Supervision interests

cancer glycobiology, cancer variability and response to treatment