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Precision Medicine

From Discovery to Therapy

Lab members: Welcome
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Lab members: About

Our Team

Past and Present

Lab members: Team
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Sherif El-Khamisy

Group Lead

I am a pharmacist who is fascinated by how cells maintain their genomic integrity. My lab studies this process to come up with new strategies to improve human health and fight disease.

Find more about us

Chunyan Liao

Post-Doc & Lab Manager

I am a post-doc and lab manager, supporting various projects in Sherif's lab and also enjoying my own project looking at mitochondrial DNA repair

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Ringaile Zaksauskaite


Ringaile joined the El-Khamisy lab in 2013 to start her PhD and then continued as a research assistant and a research associate until 2020. During her time in the lab she was investigating the link between protein-linked DNA break repair, neurodegeneration and cancer. She generated and characterized zebrafish protein-linked break repair models, and performed drug screens in human cells in collaboration with Artios Pharma. In 2020 she joined the Balmus lab at the UK Dementia Research Institute at the University of Cambridge. In the Balmus lab, she is continuing research on DNA repair in neurodegeneration, namely ALS and Parkison’s disease, using stem cell and neuronal models

Swagat Ray


I joined the lab in 2015 as a Research Fellow after completing my postdoctoral training at Warwick. While in Sheffield, I was part of a Wellcome Trust funded project where we studied the role of uncharacterised factor in DNA strand break repair. I used microscopy, mass spectrometry, cell and molecular biology techniques and genomics (NGS) for the study. In 2019, I moved to Lincoln as a Senior Lecturer to set up my own lab. I am still actively working with Sherif's group as a visiting fellow.


Jacob Parker


I am a postdoctoral bioinformation, having recently completed my PhD in the El-Khamisy and Sudbery labs at the University of Sheffield. My research interests involve using bioinformatics to explore the intersection between neurological disease and DNA damage and repair, with a particular focus on the regional specificity of neurodegenerative disease. To this end, I have analysed variations in mutational spectra, somatic mutations and RNA editing across different tissues, and have worked with data such as apurinic site sequencing and BLISS to identify sites at which specific forms of DNA damage are present. I have secured a post-doc position in Harvard and will be moving to the USA in 2021.

Mat Jurga


I did my PhD in Sherif's lab and currently working as a post-doc studying R-loops and DNA repair in cancer. Hobbies:
Volleyball, dog walking, traveling to remote places. Unusual fact:
I hitchhiked the majority of Europe and a little bit of Asia.

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Dr Shih-Chieh Chiang worked as lab manager and obtained her PhD (2010-2016) in Prof. Sherif El-Khamisy’s lab investigating the novel role of TDP1 in mitochondrial transcription.  She is currently the scientific officer at Dr Santiago Zelenay’s group at the Cancer Research UK Manchester Institute, which focuses on cancer immunology and immunotherapy.

Ryan Beveridge


Ryan obtained his PhD from the University of Sheffield studying DNA Damage in the laboratory of Dr Spencer Collis. Following this he joined the El-Khamisy laboratory as a post doc to study Tdp1 ubiquitination and stability in response to DNA Damage. After working in industry on large scale lentiviral production he went on to set up the Virus Screening Facility at the University of Oxford. The facility focuses on the use of viral systems for genome editing and screening (both focused and genome wide) in a wide variety of model systems. 


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Cleide Souza


My desire to study Neuroscience in a medical context was sparked whilst I was an undergraduate student studying veterinary medicine at the Federal University of Bahia (UFBA). I completed my PhD in 2014 at  the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, with a collaborative period at The Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience at King’s College London where I studied the role of Neuroinflammation during the Neural Development in Autism Spectrum Disorder. During this time, I used Human iPSCs as a Model of study for Neurodevelopment disorders such as Autism Spectrum Disorders and Schizophrenia. In 2016, I secured a Marie Curie Fellowship at the University of Sheffield, researching “The Diagnostic and Drug Discovery Initiative for Alzheimer's Disease (AD), Marie Curie Industry-Academia Partnerships and Pathways (IAPP)”. I am currently, a post-doctoral research associate working with Professor Sherif El-Khamisy and Dr. Laura Ferraiuolo in collaboration with AstraZeneca. In this project, we are interested in investigating the mechanisms of astrocyte-induced DNA damage as a potential pathway for motor neurone death in ALS.

Jon Griffin

Clinical PhD Fellow

I am a clinician (MBChB 2007) specialising in histopathology (FRCPath 2018) which involves analysing the microscopic and molecular features of cells and tissues to provide diagnostic, prognostic and predictive information to other clinicians. I am undertaking a PhD investigating androgen signalling and R-loops in prostate cancer. My project is funded by a Jean Shanks Foundation/ Pathological Society of Great Britain and Ireland clinical PhD fellowship. My ORCID id is:

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Hannah Crane

Wellcome Trust Clinical PhD Fellow

I am a qualified dentist, currently undertaking my PhD in the laboratory funded by a Wellcome Trust Clinical PhD Fellowship, investigating the molecular basis underlying treatment resistance in HPV-positive and HPV-negative Oropharyngeal Squamous Cell Carcinoma.  My interest in research was initially sparked whilst undertaking a research project during an intercalated BMedSci.  I subsequently completed Dental Foundation Training and Dental Core Training and began specialist training in 2017. I am currently a specialist trainee in Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology and have recently completed an Academic Clinical Fellowship.

Nelma Palminha

PhD Student

I am working as PhD student in Sherif's lab on DNA damage response deficiencies in polynucleotide repeat expansion neurodegenerative disorders such as Huntington’s disease. MSc in Molecular Medicine from The University of Sheffield and BSc in Biomedical Sciences in Histopathology from Escola Superior de Tecnologias da Saúde de Lisboa, Portugal. My interests include the understanding of the molecular and biochemical properties of the central nervous system, as well as the study of the pathological mechanisms and genetic features that underlie neurodegeneration.

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Rabab El-Gendy

Clinical PhD Student

I am a clinical PhD student at El-Khamisy Lab. As a Dermatology Specialist registrar and teaching staff assistant, 
my main research interest is studying the mechanistic of aging and molecular basis of skin diseases. I am working to find clinical implications of molecular researches on improving the health outcome for patients suffering from premature aging and autoimmune skin diseases.

Nelly Ramirez

PhD Student

I did an a MSc in Human and Molecular Genetics from The University of Sheffield and a Bachelor's degree in Chemistry, Pharmaceutics and Biology from the Universidad de Guadalajara in Mexico. My PhD in Sherif's lab examines DNA repair in neurodegenerative disorders such as Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA). Scientific interests also include biochemistry of the Nervous System (NS), as well as pharmacokinetics and dynamics of molecules that target the NS, and their impact on human physical and mental health. On a personal note, an art lover, professional dancer, performer and acrobat, who believes that science and love can make this world a better place.


Mohamed Ashour

PhD Student

Mohamed has earned his bachelor’s degree in Biochemistry and Chemistry in 2008. He has done his graduate work at El-Khamisy's lab, where he was investigating the relation between topoisomerases enzymes and genomic instability. Now, Mohamed is working as post doctor at Washington University in St Louis, where he is continuing his research on the relation between cancer and DNA damage.

Ruth Thomas

PhD Student

I am a PhD student working in the labs of Professor Sherif El-Khamisy and Dr Freek van Eeden. I use zebrafish as a human disease model and my work includes the study of the DNA repair mechanisms involved in neurological diseases such as Spinocerebellar Ataxia with Axonal Neuropathy Type 1 (SCAN 1) and Aicardi Goutières Syndrome (AGS). Outside the lab I am a keen hockey player, representing Doncaster Hockey Club and the national English Universities Sport (EUS) squad.

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Arwa Abugable

PhD Student

I graduated with a BSc in Pharmaceutical Sciences from the German University in Cairo in 2016. I then worked at Zewail City of Science and Teachnology as a Research Assistant and joined El-Khamisy lab as a PhD student since October 2018 to study oxidative DNA damage and transcription regulation.

Sameh ElBadry

PhD BBSRC Student

I am a PhD student studying the link between HIF-mediated genoprotection and renal cell carcinoma using zebrafish and cell culture models. I hold a BSc in Biomedical Science and an MSc in Translational Neuroscience, both from the University of Sheffield. Co-supervisor: Dr. Freek van Eeden

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Jannigje Kok

PhD Student

I’m a PhD student, working with our industrial collaborators to investigate the contribution of DNA damage to motor neuron death in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.

Owen Laing

PhD Student

I am a PhD student investigating the molecular mechanisms of genome damage in human Pluripotent Stem Cells (hPSCs). Over prolonged culture, hPSCs are prone to acquiring recurrent genetic changes. Classically these have been observed as gross karyotypic abnormalities. More recently however, gains of point mutations in common oncogenes have been reported at a comparable rate. These changes pose concerns for the safe therapeutic use of hPSCS in regenerative medicine.  For these variants to rise to prevalence in culture, mutation must occur, the basis of which is genome damage. My research aims to explore the unique characteristics of hPSC biology to try elucidate the specific molecular mechanisms underpinning genome damage in these cells.

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Julia Morris

PhD Student (2016 - 2019)

Julia Morris conducted her PhD in El-Khamisy lab working on yeast screens to identify new DNA repair pathways. She is now a Postdoctoral Research Associate at Cancer Research UK Manchester Institute, seconded to Stephen Taylor’s lab at the University of Manchester. She is currently researching the effects of different drug combinations in ovarian cancer.


Walaa Ramadan


After obtaining her masters in basic sciences, Walaa joined El-khamisy’s lab as a graduate student where she was introduced to genomics research. Throughout her graduate work she used genome sequencing applications to identify genetic mutations affecting cancer and neurological disorders patients. After completing her research work, Walaa joined an emerging genome sequencing company in Dubai as a commercial operation manager, through this role she is hoping to put new standards of genetic testing in the Middle East and Africa.

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Billie Ward

Master Student

I graduated with a First Class integrated Masters degree (MBiolSci) in Biochemistry and Genetics from the University of Sheffield in 2020. I spent my fourth-year research project in the El-Khamisy lab, using DIvA cells to investigate the repair of DNA double-strand breaks. I am now a Research Technician in Dr Scott Allen’s lab in the Sheffield Institute for Translational Neuroscience (SITraN)

Peter Daniels

Master Student

I began my Master's project in Sherif's lab in 2018. My time in Sherif's lab helped me develop a keen interest in RNA biology, which I am now pursuing further through a UKRI-funded PhD in Dr Phil Mitchell's lab. I enjoyed my time in Sherif's lab greatly, and the skills and techniques I was able to practice have prepared me well for a career in research

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Fraser Beaumont

Master Student

I completed my masters in the El-Khamisy lab, studying the potential relationship between R-loops and ALS. My time in the lab was both enjoyable and informative. Thanks to the skills acquired in this project, I was able to secure a PhD position at the University of Sheffield. My PhD will involve using NMR to characterise the formation of magnetic nanoparticles with an aim for green nanoparticle synthesis.

Jessica Corry

Master Student

Jess was an MBiolSci Biochemistry and Genetics student in the lab in 2017/18, and worked with Chunyan Liao to establish a transferable siRNA screen to identify E3 ligases for DDR enzymes. Jess went on to study a PhD at the University of Cambridge in 2018 under an AstraZeneca-Department of Biochemistry award, and is investigating how the tyrosine kinase and Cdc42 effector, ACK, influences transcription.

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