Meet the PhD Student

Ricky Trigg

Ricky Trigg

PhD Student
Early Detection Research Group
Location: Cancer Research UK Leicester Centre,
University of Leicester, Robert Kilpatrick Clinical Sciences Building,
Leicester Royal Infirmary.


Research Overview

Ricky graduated with a first-class honours BSc in Medical Biochemistry at the University of Leicester in 2012.

He is currently pursuing a PhD in the Department of Cancer Studies under the supervision of Professors Jacqui Shaw and Catrin Pritchard. Ricky is investigating the utility of circulating free DNA (cfDNA) as a surrogate biomarker for the detection of non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). Using a variety of molecular biology approaches, he is analysing copy number variation across key cancer-related genes in cfDNA from patients with advanced NSCLC. Ricky’s project is also using conditional mouse models of lung adenocarcinoma to recapitulate early-stage disease. In this setting, he is investigating the sensitivity of cfDNA as an early diagnostic biomarker in comparison with imaging and tissue analysis; this may inform the diagnostic potential of cfDNA in the cognate human disease.   

Ricky aims to graduate in January 2017 and wishes to pursue a postdoctoral career within a cancer-related field.

During the course of his studies, Ricky has achieved many accolades, including a number of awards and presentations, in recognition of his studies and research excellence.


  • 2014 (November) - Overall Winners of Biotechnology YES (Young Entrepreneurs Scheme) - BBSRC and University of Nottingham, UK
  • 2014 (June) - Best overall poster at Festival of Postgraduate Research - University of Leicester, UK
  • 2014 (June) - Leicester Mercury Media Prize at Festival of Postgraduate Research - University of Leicester, UK
  • 2014 (March) - Poster prize at Circulating Biomarkers Conference - SELECTBIO, USA 
  • 2014 (February) - Student Sponsorship - PrimerDesign Ltd, UK
  • 2013 (September) - Poster prize at Joint Respiratory Research Event - Institute of Lung Health and University of Nottingham, UK
  • 2012 (June) - Best Graduate in Medical Biochemistry BSc - University of Leicester, UK
  • 2012 (June) - Best undergraduate project in Medical Biochemistry BSc - University of Leicester, UK
  • 2010 (June) - Student Award for Bioscience (First prize) - Higher Education Academy, UK

Oral Presentations

  • 2014 (November) - “Circulating Free DNA; a 'Liquid Biopsy' for the Early Detection of Cancer?” - BACR Development of Cancer Medicines. From Target to Disease:  Modelling Stratified Approaches in Oncology

Poster Presentations

  • 2014 (November) - Implementing the 3R's with µCT Imaging: a Non-invasive Tool for Monitoring Tumours in Mouse Cancer Models - 3R’s Conference (University of Leicester)
  • 2014 (September) - Quantification of Tumour Burden in LSL-G12DKras Mice by μCT Imaging: Malignant Progression Correlates with Changes in the Profile of Circulating Free DNA - M5 Biomedical Imaging Conference (University of Nottingham)
  • 2014 (July) - Circulating Cell-free DNA: Insights from Mouse Models - EACR-23: From Basic Research to Personalised Cancer Treatment 
  • 2014 (July) - Poster: Allele-specific Mutation Detection qPCR: a Sensitive Method for Detection of Early Colorectal Cancer Mutations Using Circulating Cell-free DNA - EEMS 43rd annual meeting
  • 2014 (June) - Circulating Free DNA: a ‘Liquid Biopsy’ for the Early Detection of Cancer? - Festival of Postgraduate Research (University of Leicester)
  • 2014 (March) - Circulating free DNA: a ‘liquid biopsy’ for the early detection of cancer? - Circulating Biomarkers 2014 (Select Biosciences) 
  • 2013 (November) - Sensitivity Study for Plasma DNA Sequencing Using the Ion Torrent Next Generation Sequencing - NCRI Cancer Conference 
  • 2013 (September) - Cell-free DNA: a ‘Liquid Biopsy’ for the Early Detection of Lung Cancer? Respiratory Science Research Event (Institute of Lung Health)

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