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Group Members

Group Leader: Dr Christian Frezza



Dylan Ryan, Research Associate


I obtained my Bachelor of science (BSc) in Biochemistry from University College Dublin (UCD) in 2015. During my studies, I developed a real passion for metabolism and in trying to understand how dysregulation of metabolic pathways can lead to disease, such as genetic inborn errors of metabolism. My interest in metabolism and disease motivated me to pursue a summer studentship and final year research project in the lab of Dr. Gethin McBean. During my time in Dr. McBean’s lab, I examined the functionality of cystine and glutamate transport systems, and glutathione levels in C6 glioma cells in an in vitro model of cystinosis, a rare genetic lysosomal storage disease. Specifically, I examined these systems in C6 glioma cells and immortalised bone-marrow derived macrophages, as a model of brain glial cells. This pilot project represented the first attempt to understand the molecular underpinnings of cerebral dysfunction in cystinosis.

I also developed a keen interest in macrophage biology and immunology during my undergraduate degree and fortunately came across the work of Prof. Luke O’Neill in Trinity College Dublin, which remarkably demonstrated a role for succinate in the regulation of cytokine production in macrophages. This link between metabolism and immune cell function was a seminal finding in a brand new field of scientific research termed ‘immunometabolism’ and prompted me to pursue a PhD in his laboratory. During my time in Prof. Luke O’Neill’s lab I investigated the role of Krebs cycle rewiring in the regulation of macrophage cytokine production with a particular focus on the Krebs cycle metabolite fumarate and the Krebs cycle-derived metabolite itaconate. Recently from this work, I identified the metabolite itaconate as a critical anti-inflammatory metabolite that can activate the anti-inflammatory transcription factor Nrf2 in macrophages. Furthermore, we found that itaconate is a mildly electrophilic metabolite that can irreversibly modify protein cysteine residues, a wholly novel post-translational modification termed 2,3-dicarboxypropylation, akin to fumarate-mediated protein succination, never previously described. Importantly, this modification is crucially important for its anti-inflammatory mode of action. I will defend my PhD thesis titled ‘Analysis of the role of Krebs cycle rewiring in macrophage cytokine production’ in October 2019.

Throughout my PhD, I collaborated closely with the laboratory of Dr. Christian Frezza where all of my metabolomics samples were analysed. This collaboration, along with my longstanding interest in the role of metabolism in disease, led me to pursue a research associate position in the Frezza lab, where I will be investigating how FH deficient tumours and fumarate regulate macrophage function.

 First author publications:


  1. Ryan D, Murphy M, Frezza C, Prag H, Chouchani E, O’Neill L et al. Coupling Krebs cycle metabolites to signalling in immunity and cancer. Nature Metabolism. 2018;1(1):16-33.
  2. Mills E*, Ryan D*, Prag H, Dikovskaya D, Menon D, Zaslona Z et al. Itaconate is an anti-inflammatory metabolite that activates Nrf2 via alkylation of KEAP1. Nature. 2018;556(7699):113-117.*Joint-first
  3. Ryan D, O'Neill L. Krebs cycle rewired for macrophage and dendritic cell effector functions. FEBS Letters. 2017;591(19):2992-3006.

 Other publications:


  1. Mills E*, Kelly B*, Logan A, Costa A, Varma M, Bryant C et al. Succinate Dehydrogenase Supports Metabolic Repurposing of Mitochondria to Drive Inflammatory Macrophages. Cell. 2016;167(2):457-470.e13.*Joint-first
  2. Hughes M*, Lavrencic P*, Coll R, Ve T, Ryan D, Williams N et al. Solution structure of the TLR adaptor MAL/TIRAP reveals an intact BB loop and supports MAL Cys91 glutathionylation for signaling. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 2017;114(32):E6480-E6489.*Joint-first
  3. Early J, Menon D, Wyse C, Cervantes-Silva M, Zaslona Z, Carroll R et al. Circadian clock protein BMAL1 regulates IL-1β in macrophages via NRF2. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 2018;115(36):E8460-E8468.
  4. Olagnier D, Brandtoft A, Gunderstofte C, Villadsen N, Krapp C, Thielke A et al. Nrf2 negatively regulates STING indicating a link between antiviral sensing and metabolic reprogramming. Nature Communications. 2018;9(1).
  5. Baardman J, Verberk S, Prange K, van Weeghel M, van der Velden S, Ryan D et al. A Defective Pentose Phosphate Pathway Reduces Inflammatory Macrophage Responses during Hypercholesterolemia. Cell Reports. 2018;25(8):2044-2052.e5.


Ana Carolina Bastos Sant’Anna-Silva, PhD student


I got my BSc in Biology and Genetics at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (Brazil) (2009 – 2014). The study program was divided in two parts: the first two years, I studied the different fields of Biology and the other two and a half years, I specialized in Genetics, field by which I have been always fascinated and was the driver reason that had brought me into Biology.  

As a part of the study program, I became a junior trainee (aka scientific initiation) in the Biophysics Institute, where I had the first contact with in vivo manipulation, cell culture, microscopy and immunofluorescence. During that time, I was sufficiently motivated to take on new topics and after few months I gravitated to other research laboratories, until I finally find my way in the Laboratory of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology of Cancer under the supervision of Prof. Franklin Rumjanek. There I had the opportunity to learn a wide range of techniques involving molecular biology, biochemistry and bioenergetics and carried out my own projects on cancer cells and their biochemical adaptations associated to survival and proliferation.

Since then I understood that it is not possible to comprehend how cancer develops and progresses without studying the metabolic landscape. To conclude my BSc, I worked in a project involving the role of reactive oxygen species in metabolism of human squamous cell carcinoma and in parallel, the effects of some phytochemicals in the same model. The title of my BSc thesis is “Effects of N-Acetyl Cysteine and menadione in tongue squamous cell carcinoma cell lines.”

Due to the increasingly passion for science and tumour metabolism, I was subsequently admitted to the postgraduate program to train for a master’s degree in the same laboratory. My project involved the study of the metabolic interplay in tumor microenvironment and its impacts on tumor development and progression. The results I obtained also highlighted the heterogeneity of tumor cells, even those derived from clonal expansions cultured in in vitro conditions. In January 2017, I defended my thesis entitled: “Tumor heterogeneity: understanding the main metabolic processes responsible for the development of human tongue squamous cell carcinoma tumour progression.”

After finishing my MSc, I decided to apply for a PhD position and in October 2017 I got enrolled in the Marie Sklodowska-Curie [ITN] “TRANSMIT – TRANSlating the role of Mitochondria in Tumorigenesis” project, funded by Horizon 2020, under the supervision of Prof. Erich Gnaiger at the Medical University of Innsbruck and Oroboros Instruments (Austria). The aim of my project is to identify mitochondrial metabolic biomarkers for characterizing the transformation from benign to cancer cells, focusing on the role of succinate in mitochondrial respiration and physiology in prostate cancer cells.

Now I am having the great opportunity to stay for a secondment period at Dr. Christian Frezza´s lab, where I am expanding my knowledge in molecular biology and metabolomics.  


Sant'Anna-Silva ACB, Santos GC, Campos SPC, Oliveira Gomes AM, Pérez-Valencia JA, Rumjanek FD (2018) Metabolic profile of oral squamous carcinoma cell lines relies on a higher demand of lipid metabolism in metastatic cells. Front Oncol 8:13.

Santos 2017 Sci Rep     2017    Santos GC, Zeidler JD, Pérez-Valencia JA, Sant'Anna-Silva ACB, Da Poian AT, El-Bacha T, Almeida FCL (2017) Metabolomic analysis reveals vitamin D-induced decrease in polyol pathway and subtle modulation of glycolysis in HEK293T cells. Sci Rep 7:9510.



Laura Tronci, Research Associate

I obtained my Bachelor’s degree in Toxicology by the University of Cagliari, Italy (2013) where I gained knowledge on analytical chemistry and mass spectrometric techniques.LauraTronci During the Bachelor’s degree I was involved in several laboratory projects in the Department of Life and Environmental Sciences in the University of Cagliari, where my passion for science has started. After my BSc, I obtained my Master degree in Molecular and Cellular Biology by the University of Cagliari, Italy (2015). In the last years of my MSc I did a research placement in the Experimental Pathology Unit in the Department of Biomedical Sciences (University of Cagliari) where I studied polyphenols antioxidant effects in intestinal cells under oxidative stress conditions. During my MSc I had the opportunity to spend a period of apprenticeship in the Department of Life Science at the University of Roehampton in London, where I investigate the potential neuroprotective effect of phenolic acids in neuronal cells. Moreover, I gained insight into the field of human diseases and molecular mechanism behind them.

Thanks to my MSc and my first experience abroad I decided to do the PhD because of my passion and motivation for science, particularly in pathology and in cancer research.

In October 2015 I started my PhD in Molecular and Translational Medicine at the University of Cagliari, joining the Clinical Metabolomics Group of Prof. Luigi Atzori. During the PhD I focused my attention on the role of metabolism in cancer development and progression.  I had the opportunity to learn metabolomics techniques and improve my statistical skills. My main project was focused on the metabolic dependencies and alteration in papillary thyroid carcinoma cell lines. Particularly I studied metabolic changes and alteration in redox balance in cancer differentiated and stem cells, investigating also the anti-tumoral effects of vitamin C in these cells. Moreover, during the PhD, I was involved in several collaboration projects.

I joined Christian Frezza’s Lab in March 2019 as a Research Associate where I will work with the metabolomic facility.

Lorea Valcarcel, Visiting Research Fellow

I obtained my degree in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology by the University of the Basque Country in 2012. During this period, I had the opportunity to study the breakage mechanism of the BCL2 gene in the (14;18) translocation, that occurs in Follicular Lymphomas (Department of Genetics, Faculty of Medicine).


Aiming to understand the translational content of my degree, I decided to move to Barcelona and start a master degree in Molecular Biotechnology. I joined the Regulation of Lipid Metabolism Group (School of Pharmacy, University of Barcelona), where I studied the link between circadian rhythm alterations and lipid metabolism. Thanks to the project and to my supervisor Laura Herrero, I became a metabolism lover.

When having to decide which topic to choose for my PhD I had it clear. During many years I have always had a question in mind: how normal cells rewire their metabolic and genetic landscape in order to become tumoral? Because of this, in 2014 I decided to start my PhD in Arkaitz Carracedo’s lab under his and Veronica Torrano´s supervision. During four years I was focused on deciphering the transcriptional control of metabolism during prostate cancer pathogenesis and progression, and the molecular and cellular consequences underlying that regulation. As a result of this study, we demonstrated that the transcriptional program driven by PGC1A opposes cancer aggressiveness and metastatic dissemination. Moreover, and thanks to the use of human cancer datasets, we were able to stablish correlations between gene signatures and the aggressiveness of the disease, this being of great relevance as a prognostic tool. During my PhD I also had the chance to do two short-stays that were fundamental for my 

development as a scientist. The first one was in King’s College London in Victoria Sanz Moreno lab (now in Barts Cancer Institute), studying cell motility, migration and invasion in 3D collagen matrixes. The second one was in Christian Frezza´s lab, trying to decipher the effect of mitochondrial metabolism in prostate cancer. In December 2017 I finished my PhD and continue in Carracedo´s lab until 2018 as a postdoctoral fellow, studying the transcriptional program activated by MITF in prostate cancer and the invasive mechanisms and cytoskeleton rearrangements that occur in prostate cancer cells.

In 2019 I join the Frezza´s lab to study the oncogenic events that occur in FH deficient cells and the role that mitocondrial dysfunction could have in tumorigenesis.

Annie Howitt, PhD student

I obtained my Bachelor's degree in Biochemistry from Imperial college London in 2018, which included a number of laboratory projects. After my first year of study, I learned the basics of molecular cloning in the Crisanti Lab at Imperial, whose objective was to engineer a sex bias in mosquitoes.

AnnieIn the third year of my studies I completed a year in research placement in Paul Huang’s lab at the Institute of Cancer Research. In this project working alongside PhD student Simon Vyse, I focused on understanding functional pathway dependencies in intrinsic resistance to EGFR inhibitor therapies in non small cell lung cancer. This involved developing a CRISPR interference platform to study synthetic lethal candidates.

I took the opportunity in my final year of teaching to focus my studies on metabolic network engineering, cancer and glycobiology. Finally, as a 10 week project culminating in my undergraduate dissertation, I worked on the characterisation of the bovine innate immune system receptor, Dectin-1 in the laboratory of Professor Kurt Drickamer and Maureen Taylor. From these experiences, I focused my interest on biological networks, cancer biology and signalling.

Currently I am a joint PhD student in both the Frezza and Esposito labs, working towards using microscopy techniques to investigate the interaction of metabolism and signalling in the setting of mitochondrial dysfunction and in KRAS mutant cancers.


Efterpi Nikitopoulou, Research Assistant

I obtained my bachelor’s degree on Biochemistry and Biotechnology from the University of Thessaly, in Greece, on 2015. There, I gained knowledge on general biology, analytical and organic chemistry and biochemistry. Soon, I realized my passion for studying the mechanisms underlying human diseases. Therefore, I conducted my undergraduate research project on population genetics and focused on TLR4, the most studied receptor of the innate immune system, and the frequencies of two TLR4 polymorphisms in the Greek population.

To enrich my knowledge of Genetics, I followed a master’s course on Molecular Genetics and Diagnostics at the University of Nottingham, from where I graduated on 2016 with Distinction. My master’s provided me insight on microbiology, molecular basis of genetic disorders, molecular services in health care and gene regulation in mammalian cells. My thesis research project related to the identification of a cell factory that could be used for the bioproduction of isoprene using CO2. During the course, I developed an interest on metabolism and cancer, and I was very excited to discover the laboratory of Dr Christian Frezza where I have been working as a Research Assistant 

 Lucas Anthony Maddalena, PhD Student

I previously obtained Honours BSc (Biomedical Sciences) and MSc (Cell & Molecular Biology) degrees at Brock University (St. Catharines, Ontario) in my home country of Canada. My research interests include understanding the interaction between mitochondrial function and cellular metabolism as they pertain to normal and aberrant cell biology.

 Beginning in my third year of undergraduate studies, I worked for eight months as a laboratory Research Assistant investigating the molecular basis of metabolic rate allometry in mammalian cells. Subsequently, I completed an eight month-long fourth year laboratory thesis project. For this, I developed a hypoxic cell culture system that allowed me to investigate the efficacy of a novel mitochondrial-targeted apoptosis inhibitor (‘TPP-IOA’) in the prevention of cell death caused by hypoxia/re-oxygenation. Subsequently, for my MSc thesis I investigated how TPP-IOA interacts with components of the mitochondrial oxidative phosphorylation machinery and assessed its effects on aspects of both mitochondrial physiology and cellular metabolism. Following completion (Sept. 2016), I remained at Brock University for one year as a Research Associate in the lab of my BSc and MSc supervisor, Dr. Jeffrey Stuart. I focused mainly on deciphering relationships between pericellular oxygen levels, reactive oxygen species levels, energy metabolism, & mitotic division in cultured proliferative cells. As a strong believer of collaboration in scientific research, dating back to my MSc studies I have consistently utilized my cell/molecular biology & microscopy skills in collaborative projects with a diverse set of researchers/academics, including developmental biologists, skeletal muscle physiologists, organic chemists, physicists, & a poet.

 In Winter 2017, I received a 2017 CRUK Cambridge Centre PhD Studentship to pursue doctoral studies under the joint supervision of Prof. Margaret Ashcroft (Dpt. of Medicine) and Dr. Frezza. Beginning in October 2017, I will investigate the role of hypoxia inducible factor signaling in tumorigenesis driven by fumarate hydratase deficiency. I am both extremely excited to join both groups and very much looking forward to the journey ahead!


Selected publications:

Maddalena LA, Selim SM, Fonseca J, Messner H, McGowan S, Stuart JA. Hydrogen peroxide production is affected by oxygen levels in mammalian cell culture. Biochem Biophys Res Commun. In press. 2017 Sep 9. pii: S0006-291X(17)31797-7. doi: 10.1016/j.bbrc.2017.09.037. [Epub ahead of print].

 Valente JA, Maddalena LA, Robb EL, Moradi F, Stuart JA. A simple ImageJ macro tool for analyzing mitochondrial network morphology in mammalian cell culture. Acta Histochem. 2017 Apr;119(3):315-326. doi: 10.1016/j.acthis.2017.03.001. Epub 2017 Mar 15.

 Maddalena LA, Ghelfi M, Atkinson J, Stuart JA. The mitochondria-targeted imidazole substituted oleic acid 'TPP-IOA' affects mitochondrial bioenergetics and its protective efficacy in cells is influenced by cellular dependence on aerobic metabolism. Biochem Biophys Acta. 2017 Jan;1858(1):73-85. doi: 10.1016/j.bbabio.2016.11.005. Epub 2016 Nov 9.

 Stuart JA, Maddalena LA, Merilovich M, Robb EL. A midlife crisis for the mitochondrial free radical theory of aging. Longev Healthspan. 2014 Apr 1;3(1):4. doi: 10.1186/2046-2395-3-4.


Christina Schmidt, PhD Student

I started studying biochemistry at the Julius-Maximilians University of Würzburg (Germany) in 2011. During my Bachelor’s I gained a solid knowledge foundation in the field of biochemical sciences but I also developed a keen interest in tumor biology writing my bachelor thesis about “The role of the mitotic cell-cycle protein MPS1 during TMZ-treatment of GBM”.

After my graduation in 2014, I continued with my studies in biochemistry by taking part in the master’s program at the same university. My first year I spent at the University of Oulu (Finland) with the Erasmus program. This time abroad not only faced me with darkness and freezing temperatures but also with interesting lectures and a great research-stay in the laboratory of Prof. Seppo Vainio where I worked on the project of Dr. Mirja Krause focusing on the investigation of the role of extracellular vesicles during kidney morphogenesis. Back in Germany, I focused on molecular and clinical oncology, RNA-sciences and tissue engineering. Besides taking part in the different lectures I started an internship at the Fraunhofer Institute of Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine Würzburg (Germany). In the group of Dr. Marco Metzger my task was to optimize a co-culture model system including human colon adenocarcinoma cells and primary DC’s. Moreover, I gained insight into the field of rheology by mimicking the physiological environment of the chymus.

My aim to analyse the metabolic rewiring of cancer cells in the field of cancer metabolism I discovered as part of my lectures and seminars with Prof. Almut Schulze (Biocenter Würzburg, Germany), where I later wrote my master thesis. But before I started my thesis, I was working in the group of Dr. Christian Frezza at the MRC Cancer Unit Cambridge (UK), which gave me the chance to learn more about the general metabolic rewiring, but also to explore new tools such as LC-MS and the Seahorse Analyser.

In July 2017 I finished my master’s degree with my thesis about the “Regulation of cancer cell metabolism by PFKFB4”.  During my thesis, I isolated mouse embryonic fibroblasts harbouring an PFKFB4 flx-system, which I characterised via genomic PCR, qPCR, mass spectrometry and Fru-6-P-Assay.

In October 2017 I started my PhD under the Marie Sklodowska-Curie [ITN] Early Stage Researcher Fellowship “TRANSMIT – TRANSlating the role of Mitochondria in Tumorigenesis” in the laboratory of Dr. Christian Frezza. The project focuses on the understanding of the role of the mitochondrial enzyme Fumarate Hydratase in tumorigenesis.


Dr Marco Sciacovelli, Post-Doctoral Researcher



 I gained my MSc in Pharmacy at the University of Padova (Italy) back in 2007, after a period of ten months of research in Prof Di Lisa’s laboratory. During that period, I was involved in testing photoproducts of psoralen in the treatment of T-Cells Lymphomas. I investigated the mitochondrial toxicity of these compounds and apoptosis induction in Jurkat cells. 

In 2007 I joined the laboratory of Prof Bernardi at the University of Padova, where I started my PhD in Bioscience and Cellular Biology. In that period, I learnt the basis of mitochondrial physiology and pathology in cancer. My main project was focused on understanding the role of the mitochondrial chaperone TRAP1, and its involvement in both tumorigenesis and regulation of mitochondrial function.

I joined Christian Frezza’s lab in 2012 as an MRC Career Development Fellow and I’m currently a Research Associate. Here, I am trying to elucidate the role of metabolic alterations in tumorigenesis. In particular, I study the mechanisms that lead to mitochondrial dysfunction in fumarate hydratase (FH) deficient cells and the role of this enzyme in cancer development. More in details, I’m interested in the crosstalk between mitochondria and the nucleus and in the role of small molecules metabolites in epigenetic regulation of gene expression.

In 2015, I also joined Corpus Christi College in Cambridge as Research Associate.


Recent publications

Fumarate is an epigenetic modifier that elicits epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition. Sciacovelli M, Gonçalves E, Johnson TA, Zecchini V, Costa SA, Gaude E, Drubbel A, Theobald S, Abbo S, Tran M, Rajeeve V, Cardaci S, Foster S, Yun H, Cutillas P, Warren A, Gnanapragasam V, Gottlieb E, Franze K, Huntly B, Maher ER, Maxwell PH, Saez-Rodriguez J & Frezza C. Nature. 2016 Aug 31.

Sciacovelli M, Frezza C. Oncometabolites: Unconventional triggers of oncogenic signalling cascades. Free Radic Biol Med. 2016 Apr 23. pii: S0891-5849(16)30043-0. doi: 10.1016/j.freeradbiomed.2016.04.025. [Epub ahead of print]

Zheng L, Cardaci S, Jerby L, MacKenzie ED, Sciacovelli M, Johnson TI, Gaude E, King A, Leach JD, Edrada-Ebel R, Hedley A, Morrice NA, Kalna G, Blyth K, Ruppin E, Frezza C, Gottlieb E. Fumarate induces redox-dependent senescence by modifying glutathione metabolism. Nat Commun. 2015 Jan 23;6:6001. doi: 10.1038/ncomms7001.

Clark GR, Sciacovelli M, Gaude E, Walsh DM, Kirby G, Simpson MA, Trembath RC, Berg JN, Woodward ER, Kinning E, Morrison PJ, Frezza C, Maher ER. Germline FH mutations presenting with pheochromocytoma. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2014 Jul 8:jc20141659.

Sciacovelli M*, Gaude E*, Hilvo M*, Frezza C. The metabolic alterations of cancer cells. Methods Enzymol.2014; 542:1-23. *: shared contribution

Sciacovelli M, Guzzo G, Morello V, Frezza C, Zheng L, Nannini N, Calabrese F, Laudiero G, Esposito F, Landriscina M, Defilippi P, Bernardi P, Rasola A. The mitochondrial chaperone TRAP1 promotes neoplastic growth by inhibiting succinate dehydrogenase. Cell Metab. 2013 Jun 4; 17(6):988-99.

Rasola A, Sciacovelli M, Chiara F, Pantic B, Brusilow WS, Bernardi P. Activation of mitochondrial ERK protects cancer cells from death through inhibition of the permeability transition. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA. 2010 Jan 12; 107(2):726-31.

  Dr Vincent Zecchini, Post-Doctoral Researcher 

 vin1I obtained my degree in Biochemistry from Liège, Belgium in 1992. After a short spell doing my military service in Germany, I obtained three years of funding to work on a joint academic-industry research project at Eurogentec, Liège, Belgium. My research led to the development and optimisation of a non-radioactive nucleic acid probe for the detection of Clostridium tyrobutyricum, a bacterium that causes “late blowing” of cheese manufactured with contaminated milk.

Following this, I moved to Cambridge to join the Developmental Biology laboratory of Professor Martinez-Arias at the Departments of Zoology and Genetics, where I started my PhD on a Wellcome Trust grant. I enjoyed four exciting years of research on Notch signalling investigating “A novel activity of Notch regulates JNK activity and apoptosis in Drosophila”.

Having not had enough of Notch by then, I was happy to be offered a post-doc position in the lab of Dr Phil Jones in the MRC Cancer Unit at the Hutchison/MRC Research Centre in Cambridge. In collaboration with Dr Doug Winton’s lab, we built an inducible knock-in transgenic mouse to investigate the role of Notch on the fate of mouse intestinal stem cells and its implications in cancer development.

A short two year digression in the laboratory of Professor David Rubinsztein at the Cambridge Institute for Medical Research, working on the role of LRRK2 in the etiology of Parkinson's disease, saw me returning to my roots in the form of a post-doc in the laboratory of Professor David Neal in the Oncology Department at the (then) CRUK Cambridge Research Institute. There, inspired by the enthusiasm of Dr Ian Mills, I worked on several projects including the molecular mechanisms underlying castrate-resistant prostate cancer and the role of endocytic adaptor ARRB1 in the modulation of cellular metabolism in prostate cancer. During this period I developed a keen interest in the field of cancer metabolism that resulted in me looping the loop to re-join the Hutchison/MRC building in April 2014, as a post-doc in the laboratory of Dr Christian Frezza.

My research interests are the role of metabolic alterations in tumorigenesis. My current project focuses on metabolic permissiveness and chemoprevention in tumorigenesis as a consequence of mitochondrial dysfunction using a Fumarate Hydratase (FH) deficiency mouse model. I am also in the preliminary steps of developing a project on the role of lysosome dysfunction and mTOR signalling in renal cancer.


Recent publications

Zecchini V, Madhu B, Russell R, Pértega-Gomes N, Warren A, Gaude E, Borlido J, Stark R, Ireland-Zecchini H, Rao R, Scott H, Boren J, Massie C, Asim M, Brindle K, Griffiths J, Frezza C, Neal DE, Mills IG. Nuclear ARRB1 induces pseudohypoxia and cellular metabolism reprogramming in prostate cancer. EMBO J. 2014 Jun 17;33(12):1365-82

Sharma NL, Massie CE, Ramos-Montoya A, Zecchini V, Scott HE, Lamb AD, MacArthur S, Stark R, Warren AY, Mills IG, Neal DE. The androgen receptor induces a distinct transcriptional program in castration-resistant prostate cancer in man. Cancer Cell. 2013 Jan 14;23(1):35-47.

Zecchini V, Neal DE. Targeting the pro-survival side-effects of androgen-deprivation therapy in prostate cancer. BJU Int. 2013 Apr;111(4):532-3.

Massie CE, Lynch A, Ramos-Montoya A, Boren J, Stark R, Fazli L, Warren A, Scott H, Madhu B, Sharma N, Bon H, Zecchini V, Smith DM, Denicola GM, Mathews N, Osborne M, Hadfield J, Macarthur S, Adryan B, Lyons SK, Brindle KM, Griffiths J, Gleave ME, Rennie PS, Neal DE, Mills IG. The androgen receptor fuels prostate cancer by regulating central metabolism and biosynthesis. EMBO J. 2011 May 20;30(13):2719-33.

Lichtenberg M, Mansilla A, Zecchini VR, Fleming A, Rubinsztein DC. The Parkinson's disease protein LRRK2 impairs proteasome substrate clearance without affecting proteasome catalytic activity. Cell Death Dis. 2011 Aug 25;2:e196.


 Dr Ganesh Kadamur, Post-Doctoral Researcher

Ganesh1I completed my undergraduate studies at the Indian Institute of Technology Madras in India in 2008, majoring in Biotechnology with a minor in Chemistry. I spent a summer at the MRC-LMB studying chemotaxis in Dicty. For my undergraduate thesis, I applied my knowledge of modeling to the problem of caffeine degradation by soil bacterium while simultaneously learning bench skills that I then used to experimentally validate predictions from the modeling analyses.

I then moved to the US to start my PhD in Molecular Biophysics in the lab of Elliott Ross at UT Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas. Here, I used a combination of enzymology, spectroscopy and simulations to probe regulation of signaling enzymes by G proteins and understand the underlying conformational changes using novel FRET sensors.

In 2016, I joined Christian Frezza’s group as a NCBS-InStem-Cambridge fellow. Here, I will be looking at the contribution of mitochondrial dysregulation towards cancer. Specifically, I will be designing biosensors for critical molecules that are thought to be oncometabolites and elucidating the mechanisms by which various signaling pathways regulate mitochondrial function.


Recent Publications

Kadamur, G. and Ross, E.M. (2016) Intrinsic PH domain motion in PLC-b exposes a Gbg binding site. J. Biol. Chem., 291: 11394-11406. doi: 10.1074/jbc.M116.723940

Kadamur, G. and Ross, E.M. (2013) Mammalian Phospholipase C. Ann. Rev. Physiol., 75:127-154. doi: 10.1146/annurev-physiol-030212-183750.

Philip, F., Kadamur, G., González Silos, R., Woodson, J. and Ross, E.M. (2010) Synergistic activation of phospholipase C-b3 by Gaq and Gbg describes a simple two state coincidence detector. Curr. Biol., 20:1327-1335. doi: doi: 10.1016/j.cub.2010.06.013.



Houda Abla, PhD Student (Transmit Programme)

Nikkitha Umesh Ganesh, Visiting Research Fellow (Transmit Programme)

Sabarinath Peruvemba Subramanian, Post-doctoral Researcher  (currently employed at the Institute for Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine, Bangalore , in the lab of S.Ramaswamy,  in the context of the DBT-MRC programme)

Dr Sofia Costa, Mass Spectrometry Specialist (currently employed at at Cold Spring Harbour, in the laboratory of Dr Daryl Pappin) 

Ashley Ferguson, MPhil Student

Irene Herranz (Erasmus+  MPhil  student at Autonomous University of Madrid , summer 2018)

Clement Bodineau (PhD student at Institut Européen de Chimie et Biologie (IECB))

Edoardo Gaude, PhD Student (currently employed at Owlstone Medical)

Joelle Janssen (starting as a PhD at the Wageningen University, Netherlands)

Lorea Valcarel Jimenez (currently PhD student at the CIC bioGUNE, Spain; FEBS visiting fellow, spring 2017)

Isaac Johnson (currently post-doc at the CRUK CI)

Ashley Ferguson (currently at the University of Virginia, Charlottesville; visiting student, summer 2016)

Patrycja Krawczyk (currently at the University of Wurzburg; visiting student, summer 2016 )

Christina Schmidt (currently at the Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznań; visiting student, summer 2016 )

Angel Merchan (Amgen Scholar, summer 2015)

Sebastian Theobald (Erasmus student, summer 2015)

Susana Barros (Leonardo Da Vinci Fellow, summer 2013; now PhD student at the IRB, Barcelona)

Daniela Catanzaro (visiting post-doc, summer 2012; now post-doc in the laboratory of Monica Montopoli, Dept. Pharmaceutical and Pharmacological Sciences, University of Padova)

Prodromos Chatzikyriakou (Wellcome Trust internship, summer 2013)

Andrei Cimpan (Erasmus student, summer 2013)

Mika Hilvo (visting post-doc, 2012-2013; now scientist at Zora Biosciences Ltd)

Andrew Lawson (University of Cambridge Part III biochemistry student, summer 2012; now PhD student at Harvard University)

Christine Leon (Whitaker International Summer Award student, summer 2013; now PhD student at Berkley University)

Benedikt Rechmann (Summer student, 2015. Came to the group as an intern from the Masters Program in Molecular Biosciences, Heidelberg University International).

Alizee Vercauteren.

Sandra Abbo (Erasmus student from Wageningen University, The Netherlands).

Inge Wortell.