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Christian Zierhut, PhD

Head of Laboratory

Christian obtained his undergraduate degree from the University of Vienna, where he studied meiotic DNA repair with Franz Klein.

  For his PhD, he worked with John Diffley at the CRUK Clare Hall Laboratories (now part of the Crick Institute). Here, Christian studied how DSBs are processed and activate the DNA damage response.

  Christian then did postdoctoral work with Hironori Funabiki at Rockefeller University. Here, he showed that chromatin is essential for the assembly of the nuclear envelope and the mitotic spindle. Subsequently, he showed that chromatin acts as a mark of self-DNA, preventing activation of self-sensing by cGAS.

  Christian joined the Cancer Biology Division of the ICR as a Team Leader in 2020.

 

Current members

Negar Afshar, PhD

Higher Scientific Officer

  Negar graduated with a BSc in Genetics from the Queen Mary University of London. She obtained her MSc from the University of Sussex, studying meiosis, at the Genome Damage and Stability Centre.

  For her PhD, she joined Professor Hiroshi Iwasaki’s lab at the Tokyo Institute of Technology, studying the molecular mechanism of mitotic homologous recombination (HR). More specifically analysing the relationship between Rad51 and HR auxiliary factors and identifying a novel motif of Rad51 that is responsible for interaction with multiple auxiliary factors.

  Negar joined the lab as a Higher Scientific Officer in 2021.

Lauren Davies

PhD Student

  Lauren obtained a BSc in Biochemistry from Queen Mary University of London. Following this she completed her MRes in Cancer Biology at Imperial College London where she worked as part of Professor Sibylle Mittnacht’s team at the UCL Cancer Institute looking at PARP inhibition in RB1 defective osteosarcoma. Lauren joined the lab as a PhD student in 2021.

Vicente Lebrec, PhD

Postdoctoral Fellow

  Vicente obtained his undergraduate degree from the Pierre and Marie Curie University in Paris, where he studied meiosis in the lab of Catherine Jessus.

  For his PhD, he joined Olivier Gavet’s group at the Gustave Roussy institute, where he studied the DNA damage response to replication stress. More specifically, he developed fluorescent reporters to monitor activation of the Chk1 pathway in live single cells and uncovered unexpected heterogeneity of Chk1 activity kinetics in cell populations exposed to replication stress.

Vicente joined the lab as a Postdoctoral Fellow in 2021.

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Robert Pickering, PhD

Postdoctoral Fellow

  Robert graduated with a BSc in Biological Sciences from the University of Leeds. Following this, he obtained his MRes from Cardiff University working with Professor Helen White-Cooper on the transcriptional regulation of spermatogenesis.

  For his PhD, he joined Professor Philip Taylor’s group at Cardiff Universityinvestigating mechanisms regulating inflammation in tissue-resident macrophages.

 Following his PhD, he worked as a postdoctoral research associate with Professor Clare Bryant in her labs at the University of Cambridge and GlaxoSmithKline working on inflammasomes. Robert joined the lab as a RadNet Postdoctoral Fellow for a joint project with Pascal Meier, Jyoti Choudhary and Jon Pines in 2021.​

Alyssa Nicholls

MRes student

  Alyssa obtained a BSc in Biomedical Sciences from the University of York with a Year in Industry in the Translational Cancer Immunology laboratory at the Gene Center Munich. She is currently studying for an MRes in Cancer Biology at Imperial College London and joined the lab in 2022.

Federico Tidu, PhD

Postdoctoral Fellow

  Federico obtained a BSc in Biotechnology and a MSc in Industrial Biotechnology from the University of Rome Tor Vergata.

   For his PhD, he joined Jan Fric’s lab at the International Clinical Research Center (ICRC) in Brno, where he investigated innate immune signalling in mesenchymal stromal cells, with a focus on the role of Calcineurin-NFAT signaling during fungal infection.

Federico joined the lab as a postdoctoral fellow in 2021.

Past members

 

Zhang Qingyang

MRes student

  Qingyang obtained a BSc in Medical Biosciences from Imperial College London. During his undergraduate degree, he worked with Dr Ana Costa-Pereira to study the interleukin-6 signalling pathway in ovarian cancer. Qingyang joined the lab as a MRes student in 2021. He is currently continuing his Master's studies with Erik Wennerberg at ICR.