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Arussa Nawaz

BSc, MRes

2nd Year DPhil student


I am a DPhil student at the University of Oxford Department of Oncology, studying the roles of RNA binding proteins (RBPs) in the development and progression of cancer. My project involves exploration into the role of La-related protein (LARP) family of RBPs in tumorigenesis, particularly LARP1b of which there is currently very little knowledge describing its function.

Research Summary

Acquisition of the "hallmarks of cancer" is largely attributed to the different genomic landscape in cancer with post-transcriptional modification of critical regulatory genes prompting the development of many cancers. We now know that RBPs are involved in this process and are key players in tumorigenesis. Interestingly, RBP expression is significantly higher in cancer tissue compared to normal tissue with levels even exceeding those of transcription factors. Given that RBPs regulate all stages of the mRNA life cycle from stability, localisation and degradation it is no surprise that RBP dysregulation can have catastrophic effects. 

The LARP family of RBPs (7 family members; LARP1, LARP1b, SSB/LARP3, LARP4, LARP4b, LARP6 and LARP7) have been identified as factors contributing to the acquisition of various hallmarks of cancer. Each LARP has been shown to have its own distinct role with LARP1, LARP3, LARP4b and LARP6 being identified as oncogenes and LARP4 and LARP7 as tumour suppressors. However, the role of LARP1b has not yet been elucidated despite the fact it shares a 60% total sequence homology with its oncogenic paralogue LARP1. 

The aim of my project is to investigate the functional role of LARP1b in cancer, identifying its regulators and interacting partners to understand the role it plays in cancer. 


Research Assistant - Blagden Lab - The University of Oxford Department of Oncology

Research Assistant - Under supervision of Dr Kelly Coffey and also Dr Stuart McCracken - The Northern Institute for Cancer Research, Newcastle University

MRes Cancer - Newcastle University

Biomedical Sciences  BSc - Northumbria University 


HarvardX Titled: "Data Analysis for the Life Sciences - Statistics and R". Completed May 2020.

Recent publications

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