James O'Connor

James O'Connor, MBBS (London) MA (Cantab) PhD (Manchester) FRCR (London)


Personal profile


I am Professor of Radiology in the Division of Cancer Sciences at The University of Manchester. I am also an Honorary Consultant Radiologist at The Christie Hospital, Manchester. I hold a Cancer Research UK Advanced Clinician Scientist Fellowship, where I develop MRI biomarkers of cancer to evaluate response and relapse for drug-radiotherapy combinations. I co-lead the Cancer Research UK National Cancer Imaging Translational Accelerator (NCITA) network.


I read Medicine at Magdalene College, University of Cambridge (1992-1995) and at the Royal Free Hospital, London (1995-1998), graduating with MA in History and Philosophy of Science and with the MB, BS degrees. My subsequent surgical training in Manchester and Leeds led to Membership of the Royal College of Surgeons (England) before joining the Manchester Radiology Training Scheme in September 2004.

From September 2005 I worked in the Imaging Sciences department at the University of Manchester, where I submitted my PhD entitled ‘MR and CT imaging biomarkers: evaluation of tumour microvascular heterogeneity, growth and response to therapy’ in 2008. This work was funded by my Cancer Research UK Clinical Research Training Fellowship.

Between February 2010 to January 2012, I was a Clinical Lecturer in Radiology, funded by NIHR and based at the Stopford Building in The University of Manchester. In January 2012 I was appointed Senior Lecturer and Honorary Consultant Radiologist. In June 2012 I obtained my Cancer Research UK Clinician Scientist Fellowship and in 2016 I obtained my current Cancer Research UK Advanced Clinician Scientist Fellowship which I began in January 2017. My specialist radiological interest is in oncology imaging.

As well as my personal funding, I represent Manchester at the imaging centres network and have co-led development of a national training programme for PhDs and post doctoral researchers working at Cambridge, ICR, KCL, Oxford and UCL as well as Manchester. 

Research interests

My work centres around two themes: developing new imaging biomarkers and applying validated imaging biomarkers to address important clinical questions. As part of this work, I led the CRUK-EORTC initiative to create an 'imaging biomarker roadmap' for cancer studies. This is available at Nat Rev Clin Oncol and has been adopted by CRUK to guide their imaging biomarker research since 2016. 

My research group is called the Quantitative Biomedical Imaging Laboratory, also known as QBI Lab. Details of our ongoing work - focusing on MRI biomarkers of response to hypoxia modification and immune checkpoint inhibition in a range of solid tumour types - is found on my Cancer Research UK webpage: 


Current QBI Lab Staff

Dr Ross Little (Lab Manager)
Amanda Mathieson (Project Manager)
Dr Denis Alferez (PDRA)
Dr Mike Berks (PDRA)
Dr Grazyna Lipowska-Bhalla (PDRA)
Dr Damien McHugh (PDRA)
Dr Paul Tar (PDRA)
Muhammad Babur (Preclinical Technician)
Sue Cheung (Computer Science Technician)
Michael Dubec (PhD student)
Isabella Fornacon-Wood (PhD student)
Dr Anu Datta (Clinical Fellow PhD student)

My collaborations

QBI Lab group
Dr Ross Little (Lab Manager)
Amanda Mathieson (Project Manager)
Dr Denis Alferez (PDRA)
Dr Mike Berks (PDRA)
Dr Grazyna Lipowska-Bhalla (PDRA)
Dr Damien McHugh (PDRA)
Dr Paul Tar (PDRA)
Muhammad Babur (Preclinical Technician)
Sue Cheung (Computer Science Technician)
Dr Anu Datta (Clinical Fellow PhD student)
Michael Dubec (PhD student)
Isabella Fornacon-Wood (PhD student)
Professor Kaye Williams, Dr Jamie Honeychurch (University of Manchester)
Professor Corinne Faivre-Finn, Professor Peter Hoskin, Professor Ananya Choudhury, Dr Ahmed Salem (Christie Hospital)
Professor Geoff Parker (University College London)
Dr Simon Robinson (Institute of Cancer Research)
Dr Geoff Higgins (University of Oxford)
Dr Mark Castanares (Eli Lilly, IN)

Memberships of committees and professional bodies

2004 Royal College of Radiologists

2006 International Society for Magnetic Resonance in Medicine

2016 European Society of Molecular Imaging 

2019 EIBALL Sub-committee of ESR


I lead the education and training unit of the Cancer Research UK NCITA.

I was the co-lead for training on the Cambridge-Manchester cancer imaging centre. I led the first national training workshop for trainee cancer imagers in Cambridge in June 2016. 

I have lectured on the MRes Oncology and MSc Medical Imaging courses (cancer imaging; DCE-MRI; image quantification and validation). 

I teach medical students and junior doctors on various clinical aspects of cancer imaging. 


PhD University of Manchester 2009
FRCR Royal College of Radiologists 2009
MRCS Royal College of Surgeons (London) 2003
MA University of Cambridge 1999
MB, BS University of London 1998

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being

External positions

Honorary Consultant Radiologist, The Christie Hospital NHS Foundation Trust

31 Jan 2016 → …

Areas of expertise

  • RC0254 Neoplasms. Tumors. Oncology (including Cancer)
  • imaging
  • biomarkers

Research Beacons, Institutes and Platforms

  • Manchester Cancer Research Centre


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