Advisory groups

The Ruth Strauss foundation was set up by Sir Andrew to:

  • Fund research into rare forms of lung cancer most often found in non-smokers.
  • Provide emotional, psychological and well-being support to patients and their families living with such a diagnosis
 To further these goals we’ve set up a research advisory group and a support advisory group.

Research advisory group

Dr. Martin Forster (chair)

Professor Martin Forster

Dr Forster is an Associate Professor at University College London (UCL) and Consultant Medical Oncologist at University College London Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust. He specialises in Thoracic and Head and Neck Cancers and has a particular interest in drug development, running a broad portfolio of studies from first-in-human to registration Phase III trials. He runs a research-based practice, being Principal Investigator or Chief Investigator for over 50 early and late-phase clinical trials since his appointment to UCL in 2009. During his Oncology training he completed a PhD in biomarker development at the Institute of Cancer Research and he collaborates broadly with national and international groups involved in translational research. He has published on topics ranging from cancer biology to translational oncology and clinical studies. He is Joint Lead for the Clinical Trials Theme of the Cancer Research UK Lung Cancer Centre of Excellence and co-Lead for the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Experimental Cancer Medicine Centre (ECMC) Lung Health Informatics Collaborative programme. He is a past member of the NIHR Lung Clinical Studies Group and the North Thames Clinical Research Network Thoracic Cancer Speciality Lead.  In addition, he is the UCH Clinical Lead for Chemotherapy Services and co-lead for the UCLH Cancer Collaboration Chemotherapy Expert Reference Group.

Professor Sanjay Popat

Professor Sanjay Popat

Professor Sanjay Popat is a Consultant Thoracic Medical Oncologist at the Royal Marsden Hospital. He qualified from Guy’s and St Thomas’ Hospitals in 1994, completed general medical training at the Royal Brompton, and the Hammersmith Hospital, and medical oncology training at the Royal Marsden Hospital. In 2002 he was awarded a PhD in molecular genetics, and thereafter undertook a post doctoral Clinician Scientist Fellowship, and subsequently a HEFCE Clinical Senior Lectureship. 

He has published in the fields of molecular genetics, therapeutic biomarkers, and medical oncology. He has been awarded nationally and internationally competitive prizes for his research, in addition to 4 research fellowships. His research interests include the development of novel drug strategies for the treatment of thoracic cancers through clinical trials, the identification of DNA variants that influence thoracic cancer development and their impact on clinical behaviour, as well as the identification of biomarkers predictive of therapeutic effect. 

He is co-director for the NIHR London South Clinical Research Network (CRN) Cancer Division and Chair of Cancer for the West London Genomic Medicine Centre. He Chairs the British Thoracic Oncology Group (BTOG), and is past Chair of the UK NCRI Lung Cancer Clinical Studies Group (CSG) Advanced Disease Sub-group. He is active in the European Organization for Research and Treatment of Cancer (EORTC) Lung Group, the European Thoracic Oncology Platform (ETOP), and the International Thymic Malignancy Interest Group (ITMIG).

Professor Andrew Nicholson

Professor Andrew Nicholson

Prof Nicholson is an expert in thoracic pathology and conducts research into lung cancers, receiving the Mary J Matthews award for lifetime scientific achievement in lung cancer translational research in 2019. 

He is referred hundreds of cases each year for diagnosis from clinicians and other pathologists. He is a past chair of the International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer (IASLC) Pathology Committee, as well as a member of the IASLC Staging and Prognostic Factors Committee. He is President Elect of the British Division of the International Academy of Pathologists. 

Andrew has co-authored over 400 peer-reviewed publications, co-authored Pathology of the Lung (2011), the AFIP Atlas, Tumors of the Lower Respiratory Tract (2019), and was a Volume Editor of the 2015 WHO classification of lung, pleura, thymus and heart tumours.

Support advisory group

Dr. Hilary Plant (Chair) PhD, MSc, BA, RGN, UKCP Registered Integrative Psychotherapist

Hilary Plant

Hilary is an experienced Integrative Psychotherapist and Cancer Nurse.  She worked in the NHS for over 40 years where for most of her career she focussed as a clinician, researcher and a manager on supporting people with cancer, their families and the staff who care for them. Her interest in understanding and supporting the family and carers of people with cancer led her to undertake her doctoral work in this field as well as subsequent research on ways to support the carers of people with lung cancer.

Between 2012 and 2019, she jointly headed the Macmillan Support and Information Service as University College Hospital London where she led a large team providing both emotional and practical supportive care to people with cancer and their families. The service has a priority to support young families when a parent had a diagnosis of cancer. Here she also provided support to staff including being a Schwartz Round facilitator enabling staff to meet together to talk confidentially about the more difficult and distressing aspects of their work.

Hilary recently retired from the NHS and now works as an independent psychotherapist in central London. 

Jenni Thomas, OBE

Jenni Thomas

Jenni Thomas OBE is widely recognised in the UK as a leading authority in grief support and education in relation to a child’s death and a child being bereaved.

Jenni worked for over 50 years within the NHS, first nursing and later as a counsellor, supporting parents, children and families when they were faced with devastating experiences of loss. She has dedicated her career to improving the way in which vulnerable families are supported in a crisis. Working with and continually listening to grieving parents, Jenni recognised the need for their voices to be heard. She created and put into practice vital training and support for all the professionals who would come into contact with vulnerable families. 

Jenni was responsible for establishing the first Paediatric and Maternity Bereavement Counsellor role in the NHS in 1985 in Buckinghamshire, which was endorsed by the Department of Health as good practice.  This was the model for similar roles created throughout the country.  This was a significant step forward in the support of grieving families desperately in need of help. 

Jenni was also the pre – bereavement counsellor to the Strauss family before Ruth died and is still a great source of comfort to the family.