BM, MA, DPhil, FRCP(UK)
Professor of Renal Medicine
- Group Head / PI
- Consultant Physician
- Assistant Director of Graduate Studies
- Deputy Director of Graduate Entry Medicine
Research interest: transcriptional responses to hypoxia in cancer biology
My group works on the mechanisms by which cells sense and respond to reduced oxygen (hypoxia) and their role in the development of cancer. These pathways are activated both by the tumour microenvironment and by oncogenic mutation, regulate many of Hanahan and Weinberg’s hallmarks of cancer, and promote tumour growth and resistance to treatment. Working alongside Nobel Prize winner Sir Peter Ratcliffe, I helped elucidate the oxygen sensing and signalling pathways that link the transcriptional regulator, hypoxia inducible factor (HIF) to the availability of oxygen. Importantly, these involve the VHL tumour suppressor, which is mutated in clear cell kidney cancer, and which in turn provides a paradigm for studying the role of hypoxia pathways in cancer.
We are currently focussed on using high throughput sequencing and bioinformatic approaches to study the transcriptional and epigenetic responses to hypoxia in cancer, using kidney cancer as a model tumour type. Specifically, technologies such as RNA-seq, ChIP-seq, ATAC-seq, and capture-C (to study chromatin looping) have allowed us to characterise widespread transcriptional and epigenetic responses to hypoxia and VHL loss across the genome. These responses include changes that help drive cancer progression, as well as many that have neutral effects, but are simply co-acquired during activation of the pathways. Combining these analyses with WGS, WES, GWAS and single cell RNA-seq, has allowed us to distinguish key components that are driving the cancer and to separate them from bystander events. These, in turn, provide attractive novel therapeutic strategies, either as new candidate targets or by indicating new combinations of existing therapies.
Hypoxic microenvironment shapes HIV-1 replication and latency
Zhuang X. et al, (2020), Communications Biology, 3
Unlocking the complexity of hypoxia non-coding transcriptome landscape of breast cancer
Choudhry H. et al, (2014), BMC Genomics, 15