Edinburgh Cancer Research

Bin-Zhi Qian

Tumour Microenvironment in Cancer Metastasis and Therapy Resistance

Bin0Zhi Qian
Dr Bin-Zhi Qian - Reader, Principal Investigator, Chancellor’s Fellow & CRUK Career Development Fellow

Research in a Nutshell 

Metastatic disease, spread of tumour cells from the primary tumour into other organs of the body, remains the number one threat of patients of breast and prostate cancer despite great improvement in early diagnosis and surgical removal. Thus, our long term research goal is to understand the mechanism of cancer metastasis and develop effective therapeutic approaches. Our specific focus is on interactions between metastatic tumour cells and associated host cell types which has been largely overlooked in the past. To this end, we have developed a series of new in vivo models, novel imaging technologies and in vitro and in vivo function assays.

There are currently three major areas of research:

  1. Further understand the mechanism of host cells promotion of cancer metastasis with a focus on myeloid cells and mesenchymal stem cells.
  2. Develop novel therapeutic strategies against metastatic disease by targeting host-derived factors.
  3. Further understand the role of tumour microenvironment in drug resistance.
  4. Translate our findings into humanized models and patient derived samples in collaboration with clinicians.

Our objective is to provide novel insights into the disease mechanism and develop novel therapeutic approaches for effective treatment of metastatic disease.


Research Programme




Bin-Zhi Qian Principal Investigator, CRUK Career Development Fellow and UoE Chancellor’s Fellow
Galadrielle Biver Postdoctoral Research Fellow
Ashley Dorning Laboratory Manager
Ruoyu Ma PhD student
Nikki Graham PhD student
Xue-Feng Li Postdotoral Research Fellow
Alex Williamson Master student
Shuiqing Wu Visiting Scientist


Heyuan Li Master student
Jian Cao Visiting Scientist
Meghan Maslen Master student
Jiali Zhang Visiting Scientist




  • Professor David Cameron, University of Edinburgh 
  • Professor Margaret Frame, University of Edinburgh 
  • Dr Larry Hayward and Dr Jeremy Thomas, Western General Hospital, Edinburgh
  • Professor Jeffrey W. Pollard, University of Edinburgh 
  • Dr Charles L. Sawyers, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, New York
  • Dr Brett S. Carver, Weill Cornell Medical College and Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, New York

Partners and Funders 

  • Cancer Research UK/Career Development Fellowship/2015-2021/£1.5million
  • European Research Council Starting Grant/2017-2022/€1.5million

Scientific Themes

Tumour microenvironment, bone metastasis, therapy resistance

Technology Expertise

Metastasis, intra-vital imaging, macrophages, breast cancer, prostate cancer, mesenchymal cell