Charlie Gourley

PROF, Professor and Honorary Consultant in Medical Oncology Clinical Director, Cancer Research UK Scotland Centre, Director, Nicola Murray Centre for Ovarian Cancer Research

Personal profile


Charlie Gourley graduated in Genetics and Medicine from Glasgow University in 1991 and 1994 respectively. From 1998 to 2005 he trained in Medical Oncology at the Edinburgh Cancer Centre, during which time he was awarded a PhD in ovarian cancer genetics (Edinburgh University) and an NHS Education for Scotland Clinician Scientist Award (2004). Charlie was appointed Senior Lecturer in Medical Oncology at the University of Edinburgh Cancer in 2005, Reader in Medical Oncology in 2011 and Professor of Medical Oncology (Personal Chair) in 2012. He received a Scottish Senior Clinical Fellowship Award in 2010. He became Director of the Nicola Murray Centre for Ovarian Cancer in 2016 and Clinical Director of the Cancer Research UK Edinburgh Centre in 2019. He is the current chair of the Gynaecological Cancer Intergroup (GCIG) Translational Committee and is a member of the Scottish Medicines Consortium and the German Cancer Aid Scientific Review Committee. He previously sat on the Scientific Evaluation Committee, Institut National du Cancer in France, the Cancer Research UK Experimental Medicine Expert Review Panel as well as the Commission on Human Medicines Oncology and Haematology Expert Advisory Group.

Charlie is active in ovarian cancer clinical trials. He was UK lead for the SOLO1 trial which led to the first line licence for olaparib in BRCA mutant ovarian cancer and for the recently reported GOG281/LOGS trial of trametinib which is the first ever positive randomised controlled trial in low grade serous ovarian cancer. He sits on the trial management group of a number of UK ovarian cancer trials including ICON9, CENTURION and PEACOCC. He provides leadership on the translational aspects of these studies as well as commercial studies such as PISARRO and PRO-105.

Professor Gourley’s translational research focuses on genomic characterisation of ovarian cancer in order to facilitate the discovery of biomarkers of ovarian cancer drug sensitivity and resistance. Current priorities include whole genome sequencing of ovarian cancer tumours from across Scotland in order to improve patient selection for PARP inhibitors and exomic sequencing of low grade serous ovarian cancers from patients recruited into the GOG281/LOGS study in order to improve patient selection for MEK inhibition. His lab group includes two postdoctoral fellows, one senior scientist, three PhD students, a data manager, a tissue collector/processor and a scientific officer.

My research in a nutshell

Ovarian cancer is the sixth most common cause of female cancer death in the UK. Until recently it has been treated as a single disease entity. There is now considerable evidence to demonstrate that ovarian cancers differ in their tissues of origin, their genetic abnormalities, their responsiveness to chemotherapy and the ultimate outcome for patients. 

We are investigating the biology of this disease at the interface between the laboratory and the clinic in order to generate findings that can be directly translated into patient benefit. We do this by characterising the molecular changes that occur in different ovarian cancers and determining how this affects their responsiveness to chemotherapy or novel biological agents.


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