We are incredibly excited to be able to announce to our supportive and rapidly growing community a pivotal and progressive step forward in our on-going development.

We have made no secret of the fact that targeted and impactful research is a huge part of our vision for Victoria’s Promise, executing on that however was a matter of timing, opportunity and understanding. In a serendipitous conference co-founder Alex Eastman was blown away by a lecture given by a dynamic and extremely knowledgeable geneticist, Dr Helen O’Neill. Having first been so heavily impressed upon by her talk, and then to find out of her position in the Institute for Women’s Health at University College London and her involvement in Global Women Connected, Alex realised the opportunity for alignment was too great to ignore.

After meeting, Alex and Dr O’Neill realised that the vision, values and mission of Victoria’s Promise resonate very strongly with those Dr O’Neill holds both professionally and personally and they began to plan how they could join forces. It was then the position of Director of Scientific research was agreed upon.

Alex said of Dr O’Neill;

“It is hard for me to explain my true excitement around having an individual of both the calibre and character of Dr O’Neill on board. For us, it brings a huge opportunity to enter into serious and progressive research, and for Helen and her masters students we can become a vehicle for their extraordinary efforts, education, knowledge and diligence into instant impact on the front line of an area that Helen is extremely passionate about. I came away from agreeing her involvement probably the most excited I can recall being in a long time. The potential for where we can take Victoria’s Promise with this kind of involvement is limitless. It will be one of the days we look back on in 5, 10 years as another tipping point in our impact.”

An exciting project that will be among the first collaborations is the Victoria’s Promise Scholarship at the University College London. In an effort to produce impactful and published scientific material that will further our understanding and progression in cancer care, VP will develop research projects that medical and masters students will bid to take on as part of their research studies.

Dr Helen O’Neill comes with impressive credentials;

A molecular geneticist and Programme Director for the MSc in Reproductive Science and Women’s Health at the Institute for Women’s Health in University College London (UCL). Helen completed her BSc in Genetics at University College Cork in Ireland and went on to complete her MSc in Prenatal Genetics and Fetal Medicine at University College London. Helen completed her PhD and postdoctoral research in the Department of Stem cell biology and developmental genetics in the laboratory of Professor Robin Lovell-Badge at the National Institute for Medical Research (now the Francis Crick Institute). There, she researched the genes involved in sex determination, including genes crucial for the formation of ovaries. As part of the Embryology, IVF and Reproductive Genetics Group, she is researching the morphokinetics of preimplantation embryos and is using CRISPR gene editing to assess the treatment and understanding of sex chromosome disorders and neuromuscular disorders.

Dr O’Neill when asked how she felt about her new position at Victoria’s Promise said;

“I am delighted to be on board with Victoria’s Promise. The cause and Victoria’s story really resonated with me, it made me want to help make a difference to other women like Victoria. I am hugely excited to be able to bring impactful research opportunities to VP and hope to make real steps forward in innovative cancer care.”

Please join us in welcoming Dr Helen O’Neill to our VP family.