Together we will find a cure Donate
Together we will find a cure Donate


Brain tumours kill more children and adults under the age of 40 than any other cancer

Two minutes with… Professor Geoff Pilkington

by Elise O'Kelly

What’s the first thing you do in the morning?

Groan, look at The Times online, then panic about how much I have to fit into the day!

If you could do another job, what would it be?

Journalism, or, if I was younger, fitter and more talented, an England Test Match cricketer or Rugby Union international player.


What makes you happy?

Seeing the England Rugby team win, enjoying some seafood and a good English pint of real ale. At work, it’s getting a paper published and seeing some encouraging lab results from members of my research team.


What do you want to achieve in this field (main ambition)?

To witness the establishment of a flourishing environment for young brain tumour researchers in the UK, to provide them with career security and the resources to carry out the diverse range of experiments which are needed to combat the many forms of brain tumour which affect mankind.


What is your favourite hat?

I don’t wear hats much, but my cricket batting and wicket-keeping helmet comes in handy!


Who inspires you?

Patients, carers and the general public who help us through their enthusiastic moral support – and for all the daft things they get up to in raising funds for our research.


What has been your biggest challenge?

Brain tumours… unravelling their biology and how this influences their response to therapy and, with the more malignant types, the way they combat pretty much anything we chuck at them in an attempt to curb their progression.


Why did you choose your profession?

I sort of fell into it really. I was inspired by my biology teacher at school and it was inevitable that my career would centre round biological sciences of some sort, with plenty of sport in my free time. So, I worked hard to gather my qualifications and started working in research, at first on other neurological diseases such as MS, then later, focused on brain tumours.

Eight years later, my mum was diagnosed with malignant glioma and here I am, nearly 50 years later, still working on brain tumours.