Bethan Psaila

Bethan Psaila

Fellow in Clinical Medicine; Associate Professor in Haematology
Clinical Medicine
MA (Cantab), MBBS, MRCP, PhD, FRCPath

Beth Psaila is a Cancer Research UK Advanced Clinician Scientist at the MRC Weatherall Institute of Molecular Medicine and Honorary Consultant in Haematology. She studied medicine at Clare College, Cambridge and University College London Hospitals. Following general medical training/MRCP she undertook a PhD in the role of megakaryocytes in cancer metastasis. This was a collaborative project between Imperial College London and Weill-Cornell University Medical School, New York. She then returned to the UK for her speciality training in Haematology at the Hammersmith Hospital as an NIHR Academic Clinical Lecturer at Imperial. After completing her clinical training, she secured a prestigious Wellcome Career Development Fellowship, which supported her postdoctoral research at the National Human Genome Research Institute, National Institutes of Health, USA and then the MRC Weatherall Institute of Molecular Medicine, University of Oxford, where she has been based since 2017. 

She has received many prestigious awards and fellowships in recognition of her work, including a L'Oreal-UNESCO Women in Science Award (2017). She is passionate about encouraging clinicians in training to pursue a joint academic-clinical career path. She now spends 80% of her time in translational research and 20% in the clinic, and hugely enjoys being able to combine scientific research with clinical practice and the opportunities this offers to engage patients with research and also to focus her research on clinically meaningful goals. 

Beth is a Senior Fellow in Clinical Medicine at New College, and an Associate Professor in Haematology. 

Research Details

Beth leads a research group focused on the role of megakaryocytes (megs) in cancer. Megs are bone marrow cells that produce our circulating blood platelets and regulate the blood cell factory in the bone marrow. Normally one of the largest but rarest cells in the bone marrow, megs are completely unique in the human body because of their massive cell size and many copies of nuclear DNA. Her groups uses state-of-the-art techniques to study the genes and proteins in many thousands of blood stem cells individually, to work out how megs are produced from bone marrow stem cells, how they function in healthy people, and how this goes wrong in a group of blood cancers called myeloproliferative neoplasms. Her work has led to numerous publications in high-impact journals, with >4000 citations. 

Key Publications

Single-cell analyses reveal aberrant pathways for megakaryocyte-biased hematopoiesis in myelofibrosis and identify mutant clone-specific targets, Psaila B, Thongjuea, S, Rodriguez Meira A, Li R, O’Sullivan J, Heuston E, Anderson S, Senis Y, Voegtle T, Weinberg O, Calicchio M, Milojkovic D, Roberts I, Bodine D, Mead AJ., BioRxiv 2019; Invited Resubmission, Molecular Cell

Single-cell approaches reveal novel cellular pathways for megakaryocyte and erythroid differentiation., Psaila, B & Mead, AJM. Blood 2019 Mar 28; 133(13):1427-1435. PMID: 30728145

Unravelling intratumoral heterogeneity through high-sensitivity single-cell mutational analysis and parallel RNA-sequencing., Rodriguez-Meira A, Buck G, Clark SA, Povinelli, BJ, Alcolea-Devesa V, Louka E, McGowan S, Hamblin A, Sousos N, Barkas, N, Giustacchini, A, Psaila B, Jacobsen SEW, Thongjuea S, Mead AJ. Molecular Cell, 2019 Mar 21; 73(6): 1292-1305.e8. PMID: 30765193

Tense your megas! Structural rigidity is key., Psaila B., Blood. 2016 Oct 20;128(16):1997-1999. doi: 10.1182/blood-2016-09-734509. PMID: 28157674

Single-cell profiling of human megakaryocyte-erythroid progenitors identifies distinct megakaryocyte and erythroid differentiation pathways.,Psaila B, Barkas N, Iskander D, Roy A, Anderson S, Ashley N, Caputo VS, Lichtenberg J, Loaiza S, Bodine DM, Karadimitris A, Mead AJ, Roberts I.,Genome Biol. 2016 May 3;17:83. doi: 10.1186/s13059-016-0939-7. PMID: 27142433

Elucidation of the erythropoietic defect in Diamond-Blackfan anemia. Iskander D, Psaila B, Gerrard G, Chaidos A, En Foong H, Harrington Y, Karnik LC, Roberts I, de la Fuente J, Karadimitris A., Blood. 2015 Apr 16;125(16):2553-7. doi: 10.1182/blood-2014-10-608042. Epub 2015 Mar 9. PMID: 25755292

B-cell depletion in immune thrombocytopenia. Psaila B, Cooper N. Lancet. 2015 Apr 25;385(9978):1599-601. doi: 10.1016/S0140-6736(14)61930-9. Epub 2015 Feb 5. PMID: 25662418

In vivo effects of eltrombopag on platelet function in immune thrombocytopenia: no evidence of platelet activation. Psaila B, Bussel JB, Linden MD, Babula B, Li Y, Barnard MR, Tate C, Mathur K, Frelinger AL, Michelson AD. Blood. 2012 Apr 26;119(17):4066-72. doi: 10.1182/blood-2011-11-393900. Epub 2012 Jan 31.PMID: 22294727

Differences in platelet function in patients with acute myeloid leukemia and myelodysplasia compared to equally thrombocytopenic patients with immune thrombocytopenia., Psaila B, Bussel JB, Frelinger AL, Babula B, Linden MD, Li Y, Barnard MR, Tate C, Feldman EJ, Michelson AD. J Thromb Haemost. 2011 Nov;9(11):2302-10.

Platelet production and platelet destruction: assessing mechanisms of treatment effect in immune thrombocytopenia., Barsam SJ, Psaila B, Forestier M, Page LK, Sloane PA, Geyer JT, Villarica GO, Ruisi MM, Gernsheimer TB, Beer JH, Bussel JB. Blood. 2011 May 26;117(21):5723-32. doi: 10.1182/blood-2010-11-321398. Epub 2011 Mar 9. PMID: 21389318

Intracranial hemorrhage (ICH) in children with immune thrombocytopenia (ITP): study of 40 cases., Psaila B, Petrovic A, Page LK, Menell J, Schonholz M, Bussel JB. Blood. 2009 Nov 26;114(23):4777-83. doi: 10.1182/blood-2009-04-215525. Epub 2009 Sep 18. PMID: 19767509

The metastatic niche: adapting the foreign soil. Psaila B, Lyden D. Nat Rev Cancer. 2009 Apr;9(4):285-93. doi: 10.1038/nrc2621. PMID: 19308068

Effect of eltrombopag on platelet counts and bleeding during treatment of chronic idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura: a randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial., Bussel JB, Provan D, Shamsi T, Cheng G, Psaila B, Kovaleva L, Salama A, Jenkins JM, Roychowdhury D, Mayer B, Stone N, Arning M. Lancet. 2009 Feb 21;373(9664):641-8. doi: 10.1016/S0140-6736(09)60402-5. PMID: 19231632

Fc receptors in immune thrombocytopenias: a target for immunomodulation? Psaila B, Bussel JB. J Clin Invest. 2008 Aug;118(8):2677-81. doi: 10.1172/JCI36451. PMID: 18654670

Refractory immune thrombocytopenic purpura: current strategies for investigation and management. Psaila B, Bussel JB. Br J Haematol. 2008 Oct;143(1):16-26. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2141.2008.07275.x. Review. PMID: 18573111

Eltrombopag for the treatment of chronic idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura. Bussel JB, Cheng G, Saleh MN, Psaila B, Kovaleva L, Meddeb B, Kloczko J, Hassani H, Mayer B, Stone NL, Arning M, Provan D, Jenkins JM. N Engl J Med. 2007 Nov 29;357(22):2237-47. PMID: 18046028

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