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Our understanding of the molecular complexity of the aggressive blood cancers Acute Myeloid Leukaemia (AML) and Myelodysplastic Syndromes (MDS) has increased dramatically in recent years; however, the available therapeutic options are limited due to the disease complexity. The research is focused on identifying less intensive and more effective therapies through in silico and in vitro drug screens to identify novel and repurposed agents and dissecting the effects of defective DNA damage and the specific mutations such as SF3B1 or STAG2.

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There are opportunities to investigate molecular mechanisms in myeloid blood cancers including epigenetic alterations, DNA repair deficiency, altered signal pathways to identify therapeutic targets for novel agents or repurposed drugs using drug screens and/or NGS technologies to improve patient outcomes.

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Research students

PhD Title: Exploring the Molecular Mechanisms of a Loss of Function STAG2 Mutation in Myelodysplastic Syndrome and Acute Myeloid Leukaemia

Name: James Smith
Years of Study: 2014-2018
Country: England

PhD Title: DNA Damage Repair Deficiency in AML

Name: Clare Crean
Years of Study: 2016-2019
Country: Ireland

PhD Title: DNA repair in myeloid malignancies

Name: Harmony Black
Years of Study: 2017-2020
Country: Northern Ireland

Alumni: where are they now?

Fabio Liberante

PhD Title: Investigating the molecular basis for the progression of myelodysplastic syndromes to acute myeloid leukaemia

Years of Study: 2009-2012
Country: Northern Ireland
Current position: Post-doctoral Research Fellow; Ludwig Boltzmann Institute for Cancer Research, Vienna, Austria

Jodie Hay

PhD Title: The molecular mechanisms of histone deacetylases inhibitors in Acute Myeloid Leukaemia

Years of Study: 2010-2014
Country: Scotland
Current position: Post-doctoral Research Associate, Paul O’Gorman Research Centre, Glasgow University, Glasgow, Scotland

Christine Young

PhD Title: Identification of Activated Pathways Following Epigenetic Combination Therapies in Myeloid Leukaemia Cell Lines

Years of Study: 2012-2015
Country: Northern Ireland
Current position: Post-doctoral Research Fellow, MRC Institute of Genetics & Molecular Medicine, University of Edinburgh, Scotland

Alumni: where are they now?

Kathryn Clarke

PhD Title: Molecular analysis of the in vitro effects and it’s potential for for combination therapy in MDS/AML

Years of Study: 2012-2016
Country: Northern Ireland
Current position: Trainee Clinical Scientist, Addenbrooke’s Hospital, Cambridge

Katrina Lappin

PhD Title: Investigating the consequences of SF3B1 K700E

Years of Study: 2014-2017
Country: Northern Ireland
Current position: Post-doctoral Research Assistant, CCRCB, Queen’s University Belfast

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