Research Groups

Research at the Blizard institute is diverse, always with the overarching aims to strive for excellence and for the greatest positive impact on our surrounding population. 

The Research Group pages below show you some of our work in more depth.

The principal research interest of Professor Inderjeet Dokal  and Dr Tom Vulliamy  is bone marrow failure (BMF) focusing on the genetics of the inherited BMF syndromes, particularly dyskeratosis congenita (DC)....

The Clinical Effectiveness Group works to support clinical improvement in primary care CEG supports practices in delivering high quality primary care in a challenging inner city environment....

To search for CEG items, use the search bar in the top right-hand corner, with the search term preceeded by "CEG".
For example, if you are looking for our asthma templates, search "CEG asthma templates".

  • CEG supports a wide range of initiatives to improve service provision in primary care

  • Contacting the CEG facilitation team

  • Research in effective delivery of primary care

A wealth of documents, tools and guidance for GP practices and commissioners

Clinical Effectiveness Group

We support primary care in east London and are based in the Centre for Primary Care and Public Health within the Medical School at Queen Mary University of London. Our clinician led service provides tools for GP practices such as clinical templates, in-practice facilitation and health informatics for commissioning and clinical management. We have been supporting primary care for over 20 years. Our multidisciplinary team includes GP’s, practice facilitators, data analysts, and researchers.

The major interest of Professor Andrew Silver and Mr Mohamed Taha  is colorectal cancer. This includes the identification of susceptibility genetic variants and modifiers of colorectal cancer (CRC) severity, and...

 The unit for Complex Intervention and Social Practice in Health Care brings together researchers, educators and PhD students who seek to understand and embrace the complexity and ‘messiness’ of day-to-day primary health care and use this knowledge to improve patient experience and outcomes. The research we do is mainly community-based and clinically-grounded but our portfolio also includes studies which investigate complex methodological issues – for example the nature of process evaluation in research, the conduct of pragmatic trials, the practices of interdisciplinary working, the role of evidence in implementation. We collaborate closely with the Pragmatic Clinical Trials Unit...

Identification of molecular pathways altered by trisomy 21, leading to new insights into biology of Down syndrome (DS) is the long term research theme of   Professor Dean Nizetic  and Dr Jurgen Groet . This team...

Our group’s research focuses on the epigenetic regulation of transposable elements and its impact on genome function. We are studying how epigenetic mechanisms are involved in both silencing of mobile elements and in the co-adoption of transposons for the benefit of the host.


Branco MR, King M, Perez-Garcia V, Bogutz AB, Caley M, Fineberg E, Lefebvre L, Cook SJ, Dean W, Hemberger M, Reik W (2016) "Maternal DNA methylation regulates early trophoblast development", Developmental Cell, 36(2): 152-63

Booth MJ*, Branco MR*, Ficz G, Oxley D, Krueger F, Reik W, Balasubramanian S (2012) “Quantitative sequencing of 5-methylcytosine and 5-hyroxymethylcytosine at single-base resolution”, Science, 336(6083): 934-7

Ficz G*, Branco MR*, Seisenberger S, Santos F, Krueger F, Hore TA, Marques CJ, Andrews S, Reik W (2011) “Dynamic regulation of 5-hydroxymethylcytosine in mouse ES cells and during differentiation”, Nature, 473(7347): 398-402 *equal contribution

Group Members

Lorenzo de la Rica (Postdoc)
Ozgen Deniz (Postdoc)
Christopher Todd (PhD student)
Keving Cheng (Research Assistant)


The lab is interested in the application of both computational modeling and pattern recognition to understand biological function. We have a specific focus on epigenetics and in particular DNA methylation. We developed and maintain Marmal-aid a public database of Illumina 450K data. We aim to work closely and collaborate with a number of wet lab biologists in order to build appropriate models and test our predictions.


Holland M.L.*, Lowe R.*, Caton P.W., Gemma C., Carbajosa G., Danson A.F., Carpenter A.A., Loche E., Ozanne S.E. and Rakyan V.K. Intergenerational effects of gene-environment induced epigenetic dynamics at rDNA in the mouse Science 2016 353(6298):495-8

Lowe R, Overhoff MG, Ramagopalan SV, Garbe JC, Koh J, Stampfer MR, Beach DH, Rakyan VK and Bishop CL. The Senescent Methylome and its relationship with cancer, ageing, and germline genetic variation in humans. Genome Biology 2015

Lowe R, Slodkowicz G, Goldman N, Rakyan VK. The human blood DNA methylome displays a highly distinctive profile compared with other somatic tissues. Epigenetics. 2015;10(4):274-81

* - joint first authors


Epigenetics Hub Core Groups

Associate Groups

Cleo Bishop - The role of senescence in cancer, ageing and in pro-senescence therapy for cancer, with a particular interest in the regulation of p16, a member of the INK/ARF locus.

David Clayton - Influence of life experience on gene expression in the brain, focusing on songbirds as models.

Richard Grose - FGFR signalling, development of drug resistance in response to RTK targeted therapies, and the role of epigenetics in mediating the re-wiring of intracellular signalling pathways.

Graham Hitman - Type 2 Diabetes and developmental programming.

Anrejs Ivanov - Mechanisms of therapeutic antibody-induced cell death and genome-lamina interactions in lymphoma development.

David Leslie - Variability of disease risk through the study of epigenetics in identical twins discordant for Type 1 diabetes.

Silvia Marino - How Polycomb group genes can be exploited to enhance the regenerative function of stem cells in ageing and disease.

Ana O’loughlen - Epigenetic regulators of cellular senescence in the context of cancer and ageing.

Denise Sheer - Genetic and epigenetic studies of children’s brain tumours to understand mechanisms of gene deregulation.

Elena Bochukova - RNA-mediated mechanisms in metabolic disease.

Yannick Wurm - Identification of genes and mechanisms involved in the evolution of insect societies.

Genome Centre - a highly collaborative core facility working with researchers from both within Queen Mary University and the wider scientific community.
Our major research focus concerns understanding how epigenetic mechanisms mediate interactions between the genome and environment. As illustrative examples, my laboratory works on three emerging model organisms: the honey bee (Apis mellifera), the zebra finch (Taeniopygia guttata) and the single cell eukaryote Tetrahymena thermophila.


Dickman, M. J., Kucharski, R., Maleszka, R. & Hurd, P. J. (2013) Extensive histone post-translational modification in the honey bee. Insect Biochem. Mol. Biol. 43, 125-137

Hurd, P. J. (2010) The Era of Epigenetics. Brief. Funct. Genomics, 9, 425-428.

Hurd, P. J., Bannister, A. J., Halls, K., Dawson, M. A., Vermeulen, M., Olsen, J. V., Ismail, H., Somers, J., Mann, M., Owen-Hughes, T., Gout, I. & Kouzarides, T. (2009) Phosphorylation of histone H3 Thr-45 is linked to apoptosis. J. Biol. Chem., 284, 16575-16583.

Hurd P. J.*, Fuks, F*., Deplus R. & Kouzarides, T. (2003) The DNA methyltransferases associate with HP1 and the SUV39H1 histone methyltransferase. Nucleic Acids Res., 31, 2305-2312.

Hurd, P. J.*, Fuks, F.*, Wolf, D., Nan, X., Bird, A. P. & Kouzarides, T. (2003) The methyl-CpG-binding protein MeCP2 links DNA methylation to histone methylation. J. Biol. Chem., 278, 4035-4040.

Group Members

Marek Wojciechowski (Postdoc)
Danyal Conn (Postdoc)
Daniel Condliffe (PhD)


The overall goals of the lab are to understand the molecular basis of the non-genetically determined component of mammalian phenotypes and diseases. Within this context, we are particularly interested in ‘epialleles' – loci at which the epigenetic state varies as a result of stochastic, genetic and/or environmental influences. We pursue several complementary lines of investigation that integrate molecular genomics, computational biology, mouse models, and human cohorts to understand the role of epialleles in complex phenotypes and diseases, transgenerational epigenetic inheritance, and environmental epigenomics.


Beyan H, Down T, Ramagopalan S, Uvebrant K, Nilsson A, Holland M, Gemma C, Giovannoni G, Boehm B, Ebers G, Lernmark A, Cillio C, Leslie D, Rakyan VK. (2012) Guthrie card methylomics identifies temporally stable epialleles that are present at birth in humans. Genome Res. 2012 Aug 23. [Epub ahead of print]

Rakyan VK, Down TA, Balding DJ, Beck S. Epigenome-wide association studies for common human diseases. Nat Rev Genet. 2011 Jul 12;12(8):529-41.

Rakyan VK, Down TA, Maslau S, Andrew T, Yang TP, Beyan H, Whittaker P, McCann OT, Finer S, Valdes AM, Leslie RD, Deloukas P, Spector TD. Human aging-associated DNA hypermethylation occurs preferentially at bivalent chromatin domains. Genome Res. 2010 Apr;20(4):434-9.

Group Members

Dr Michelle Holland (Postdoc)
Amy Danson (PhD student)
Amina Daou (undergraduate)


The epithelial cell section researches into (1) the epithelial cell as part of the innate immune system, responding to microbial products and being modulated by nutrients; (2) carcinogenesis and the control of...

Lead: Professor Denise Sheer Since each cell in an organism contains the same DNA sequence, other features of genomes must determine the regulation of gene expression. We know that specific transcription...

The Global Public Health Unit, led by Prof Allyson Pollock , is multidisciplinary and rooted in clinical medicine, social sciences, and law. It is committed to Health For All principles and redistributive...

The Hepatology unit examines mechanisms of pathogenesis of viral hepatitis (B and C). Molecular studies focus on how a virus subverts the signal transduction pathways critical to immune defence of the...

The infection, immunity and inflammation section studies: (1) inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), with both basic and translational research. In addition to examining pathways the initiate inflammation (for...

The QMUL Epigenetic hub was formed to promote interactions amongst the different research groups within Queen Mary University of London that investigate the role of epigenetic mechanisms in basic biological processes and disease pathogenesis. In addition, we aim to raise the profile of our work within QMUL and externally in the form of regular inter-lab meetings, public communication, and outreach activities.








The Membrane Transport Biology group are interested in the relationship between the structure and function of transport proteins in cellular membranes, and how this relates to human physiology and disease. The...

The major emphasis of neonatal research has been the study of determinants of adverse outcomes following extremely preterm birth. This has involved long term collaborations between Professor Kate Costeloe  and other...

Lead: Qasim Aziz Professor of Neurogastroenterology Director of the Wingate Institute Neurogastroenterology is a discipline of gastroenterology, aimed at understanding the neuromuscular control of...

Leads: Professors Gavin Giovannoni and David Baker The unit focuses on translational neuroscience, with a speciality in multiple sclerosis. We are one of the few groups in the World that has truly...

Lead:   Professor Adina Michael-Titus The research in this unit focuses on major translational projects in spinal cord injury, peripheral nerve injury, Alzheimer’s disease and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. We...

New insights into human B cell biology B cells are highly important white blood cells known as lymphocytes and are part of the adaptive immune system. B cells have a specialised receptor on their cell surface (B...

Barts and Queen Mary Science Festival.

This year the QMUL Epigenetics Hub took part in the Barts and Queen Mary Science Festival. The event is held annually and is aimed at anyone interested in science from children and teenagers to adults of any age. The 2015 event was opened by Professor Vernon Trafford and had over 400 attendees. The Epigenetics Hub stand was designed and manned by PhD students and Post-Doctoral Researchers representing each of the labs involved in the QMUL Epigenetics Hub. Topics introduced to attendees on the day covered the role of epigenetics in everything from cancer to learning behaviours and included kid-friendly explanations of the molecular mechanisms behind these phenomena. We look forward to taking part again next year – the 2016 Science Festival will be held on the 6th July.

“I found all the groups were really engaging and interesting, in particular, the epigenetics people where all manned by PhDs who had come together from all over the different campuses from SMD”
 Olivia Festy
Business Development

Dr Andrew Prendergast ’s group has a focus on the interaction between infection, immunity and malnutrition, particularly in the context of HIV infection. Specifically, his group is investigating the role of...

The Pragmatic Clinical Trials Unit (PCTU) leads and supports clinical trials in which the primary question of interest relates to intervention effectiveness: whether an intervention works under real-life conditions...

The Centre for Primary Care and Public Health hosts the East London spoke of the Primary Care Research Network-Greater London. We are a partnership between PCRN-GL and the North Central London Research Consortium...

Research Design Service (RDS) London is an advice service funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) which gives help on research design to NHS and other health researchers. Queen Mary is one of...

Previous Seminars

Epigenomics: new marks, new horizons, December 2015

Two large clubs - the London Chromatin Club and the London Epigenomics Club have joined forces to co-host this special and exciting meeting.
Chaired by Andy Bannister, Vardhman Rakyan and Miguel Branco.
Venue: Perrin Lecture Theatre, Blizard Institute, Queen Mary, University of London, UK
Date: Wednesday December 2, 2015

Lead: Professor Silvia Marino We are a multidisciplinary research group composed of basic scientists and clinical researchers with the common aim to apply knowledge of basic stem cell biology to advance our...

T cell receptor signalling T cells are essential white blood cells that control and direct immune responses against invading pathogens and cancer. There are two major types of T cell, referred to as “ab” and...

Translational research comprises two components, both of which are addressed by the Translational Research Unit in the Centre for Primary Care and Public Health, led by Prof Chris Griffiths . "Bench to community...

Lead: Professor Karim Brohi Since 2008 the unit has grown strategically, developing bench and translational research programmes with partners in QMUL and the Royal London Hospital that span the complete...

Women’s Health Research Unit   undertakes multidisciplinary research to understand why woman and her unborn child can become ill and how they can stay healthy . Clinical trials and systematic reviews...