Henry came up to Trinity in 2011 to study medicine. As an undergraduate, he spent summers working in the labs of Professor Rebecca Fitzgerald, Dr Paul Edwards, and Professor Patrick Maxwell, which convinced him to apply for the MB/PhD programme. He interrupted his medical studies to spend his PhD at the Wellcome Sanger Institute in the labs of Dr Peter Campbell and Professor Mike Stratton, working on the earliest stages of cancer evolution. Thereafter, he returned to finish medical school. He graduated early in April 2020 and worked in Intensive Care in Harlow for much of the pandemic. He is now finishing his Foundation Programme training at Addenbrooke’s hospital. He plans to attempt to combine further research as a Junior Research Fellow on the evolution of paediatric cancers with clinical training in histopathology.
His PhD thesis explored how normal cells become cancerous. All cancers were once normal cells. They became cancers by acquiring random mutations, some of which altered their behaviour. The first mutation that set a cell on the road to cancer was – by definition – caused by a mutational process that acted in a normal cell. To understand how a cancer develops we need to understand (1) what causes mutations in normal cells and at what rate, and (2) how many cells are liable to become cancer, and how do they compete with one another. His research investigated these features of the earliest stages of cancer evolution in human colon and blood, respectively.