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Cambridge Biosciences DTP PhD Programme


Department of Genetics


I am a second-year PhD student in the Department of Genetics, specialising in mitotic chromosome condensation in humans. Parallel to my studies, I have also worked in industry for many years, most notably in start-ups. My work spanned research & development, software engineering and consultancy. I have also worked in a healthcare incubator where I assisted with due diligence and assessed investment opportunities. I have a great interest in tech transfer and working with start-ups to allow them to distribute novel, disruptive technology and improve the field of healthcare.


Project Title:

Investigating the role of Topoisomerase II alpha during mitosis

Project Summary:

My project is mainly focused on the role of Topoisomerases II in human chromosome condensation. I am studying the two isoforms, alpha and beta, in their interaction with DNA duplexes for catenation/decatenation, and their relief of superhelical tension. Depletion of Topoisomerases II has been thoroughly performed, as many chemotherapy drugs disturb the proteins. Depletion of Topoisomerase II alpha, in particular, leads to many phenotypes - impaired condensation of mitotic chromosomes, failure to decatenate sister chromatids, chromatin bridges and lagging chromosomes in anaphase - that illustrate its varied roles. One of the phenotypes - the trapped-arm phenotype, characterised by chromosomes loops escaping the congressed chromosomes and appearing trapped at centrosomes - is of particular interest to me. This phenotype could be explaining Topoisomerase II alpha’s role as a chromosomal scaffold. Depletion of the Topoisomerases II also perturbs proteins interacting with Topoisomerases II, such as TOPBP1. Studying the phenotypes arising from the depletions, I am trying to understand how these proteins all interact, both on chromatin and at centrosomes, and how important they are in chromosome condensation.

Teaching and Supervisions

Research supervision: 

Dr Christine Farr

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Contact Details

Job Titles

PhD Student