UCL Cancer Institute


Medical Genomics Group Members

Group Leader: Professor Stephan Beck

The laboratory has broad interests in the genomics and epigenomics of phenotypic plasticity in health and disease. In addition to genetic variations, we study epigenetic variations such as DNA methylation, histone modifications and microRNAs and how they modulate genome function. Central to our research is the development of systems approaches for integration of multi-dimensional data and their application to epigenome-wide association studies (EWAS) in cancer and other common diseases to advance translational, regenerative and personalized medicine. The Medical Genomics Group offers state-of-the-art facilities and a stimulating environment for graduate and post-doctoral training.

Pawan Dhami…

Pawan Dhami, Research Associate
+44 (0)20 7679 0997 

Further Details: After completing my post graduation studies in India in the field of Human Genetics, I moved to the UK to pursue a career in research. Subsequently, I completed my PhD in 2006 under the supervision of Dr. Dave Vetrie based at the Sanger Institute, Cambridge. My PhD thesis involved elucidation of DNA-protein interactions using ChIP-chip to study the transcriptional regulation of SCL gene during haematopoietic development. I also used ChIP-chip assay to build maps of DNA-protein interactions at a genome-wide scale in the human and mouse genomes to identify and elucidate various classes of cis-regulatory functional elements, e.g. promoters, enhancers, insulators etc. and link these functional elements to biological processes. In May 2008, I joined Prof. Stephan Beck's lab to understand how DNA methylation plays a role in vertebrate development.

Simone Ecker…

Simone Ecker, Research Associate
+44(0)20 7679 0999

Further Details: After graduating in Biomedical Informatics at the UMIT University for Health Sciences, Medical Informatics and Technology in Austria in 2011 I went on to pursue a PhD from the Faculty of Medicine at the Autonomous University of Madrid in Spain. I carried out my doctorate studies under the supervision of Alfonso Valencia within the Structural Biology and Biocomputing Programme of the Spanish National Cancer Research Centre (CNIO). My research focus lies in the analysis of biological variability in the human immune system in both health and disease, especially leukemia. In particular, I have been working on epigenetic and transcriptional heterogeneity of blood cells in the framework of big consortia like the International Human Epigenome Consortium (IHEC) and BLUEPRINT, and the International Cancer Genome Consortium (ICGC) in order to better understand phenotypic plasticity in the human immune system.

Andrew Feber…

Andrew Feber, Research Associate
+44 (0)20 7679 0963 

Further Details:  I completed my BSc (Hons) degree at the University of Newcastle Upon Tyne. In 2001 I joined the Institute of Cancer Research, where under the supervision of Prof. Colin Cooper I carried out my PhD, investigating the genomic alterations associated with the development and progression of urological cancers. In September 2005 I joined the laboratory of Dr. Tony Godfrey at Mount Sinai Medical School, New York, to start my postdoctoral training. During my time in New York I worked on the integration of high resolution genomic copy number, gene expression and miRNA expression data to define molecular signatures associated with esophageal cancer patient survival and to identify novel therapeutic targets. In March 2008, I returned to the UK to join the laboratory of Prof. Stephan Beck, at the UCL Cancer Institute, London, to investigate the role of methylation in the development and progression of cancer.

Mijana Tanic…

Miljana Tanic, Research Associate
+44 (0)20 7679 6004 

Further Details: I graduated in 2008 at the University of Belgrade in Molecular Biology and Physiology. The following year I earned an MSc, and in 2012 a PhD from the Faculty of Medicine at the Universidad Autonoma de Madrid. I carried out my PhD under the supervision of Prof. Javier Benitez at the Spanish National Cancer Research Centre (CNIO), where I was studying the role of miRNAs in hereditary breast cancer. As a part of my PhD training I did a secondment in the group of Jose Silva at Columbia University, developing a new method for high-throughput miRNA screening. In 2012 I returned to my home country, to work in the Institute for Oncology and Radiology of Serbia (IORS), where I studied molecular mechanisms of resistance to preoperative radiotherapy in locally advanced breast cancer. In 2015, I joined Prof. Stephan Beck’s group, at the UCL Cancer Institute, to develop new methods for targeted bisulfite sequencing of circulating tumour DNA and to study the evolution of the epigenetic landscape during colorectal cancer progression and therapy resistance. 

Chris Pipinikas, Research Associate

Chrissie Thirlwell…

Christina Thirlwell, Cancer Research UK Clinician Scientist and Senior Lecturer in Medical Oncology 
+44 (0)20 7679 0997 

Further Details: I graduated in Medicine at UCL in 1997 having undertaken an integrated BSc in Immunology in 1994. I went on to train in Medical Oncology and undertook my PhD with Prof. Ian Tomlinson at the Cancer Research UK London Research Institute in colorectal cancer genetics. I completed my clinical training in Medical Oncology  whilst furthering my research interests in cancer epigenetics  between 2008 and 2010 as post-doc in Stephan Becks lab at the UCL Cancer Institute. In 2010 I started my first Clinician Scientist post and currently work as a Consultant in Medical Oncology at the Royal Free Hospital specialising in Neuroenodocrine Tumours – where we are a European Centre of Excellence. I also treat Hepatobiliiary cancer. I now have a post-doc Chris Pipinikas and PhD student Anna Karpathakis working with me in the lab where we are performing large-scale integrated genomic analysis of Neuroendocrine tumours.  Our ultimate aim is to further our understanding of the biology of these tumours whilst identifying and validating novel biomarkers. 

Amy Webster…

Amy Webster, Research Associate
+44(0)20 7679 6004

Further Details: My primary interest lies in the epigenetics of human disease and treatment response. Following an undergraduate degree in Genetics, I completed my PhD at the Arthritis Research UK Centre for Genetics and Genomics at The University of Manchester in 2015. My PhD focussed on identifying DNA methylation biomarkers of treatment response to biologics in rheumatoid arthritis, and investigating the epigenetic basis of rheumatoid arthritis through an epigenome-wide association study of discordant twins. I joined the Medical Genomics group in 2015, where I focus on identifying biomarkers of outcome following hematopoietic stem cell transplantation as part of the EpiMatch Project, supported by the NIHR Blood and Transplant Research Unit. I am also part of the Personal Genome Project UK (PGP-UK), and have been appointed chairperson of the UCL Personalised Medicine Domain Early Careers Network.

  • Olga Chervova, Research Associate
  • Silvana Fioramonti, visiting Research Associate
  • Alison Berner, Academic Clinical Fellow
  • Ismail Moghul, PhD Student
  • Richard Yim, PhD Student