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Research groups

Research Theme

Tumour Microenvironment (Lead Principal Investigator)

Student Project:
Parallels between the biological response to viral infection and hypoxia

Regions of low oxygen or hypoxia occur in most solid tumours and predict for a poor patient outcome. Cancer cells adapt to hypoxic conditions and become resistant to therapy, therefore finding new strategies to target tumour hypoxia is essential to improve patient care. Recent transcriptomic studies of hypoxic tumours have identified an upregulation of viral restriction factors. These data lead us to hypothesise a common sensing pathway for cells to respond to the stress of hypoxia or viral infection. This project will begin with a detailed analysis of the available RNA sequencing data to identify genes involved in both the hypoxia and viral response. In parallel, we will focus on the E3 ubiquitin-ligase, TRIM5 which is a retroviral restriction factor and, a gene that we have recently found to be hypoxia-inducible. The project will elucidate the mechanism of TRIM5 induction in hypoxia and to determine if this is shared with the response to viral infection. The project opens collaborative opportunities between groups working in tumour microenvironment and virology.

Ester Hammond

Professor of Molecular Cancer Biology

  • Principal Investigator at the Oxford Institute for Radiation Oncology, Department of Oncology
  • Director of the Oxford-MRC Doctoral Training Partnership

Research Summary

I investigate how tumours survive in conditions which include low oxygen (hypoxia). The goal is to target the hypoxic parts of tumours to improve cancer therapy.


Ester completed her PhD at the School for Cancer Sciences, University of Birmingham then accepted a post as a postdoctoral fellow within the Molecular Oncology Group at the University of Cambridge School of Clinical Medicine before moving to the USA to join the Department of Radiation Oncology at Stanford University, first as a postdoctoral fellow then a research associate. She joined the Oxford Institute in 2007.


Tiffany Ma, Postdoctoral Researcher

Hannah Bolland, Postdoctoral Researcher

Athanasios Patsalias, DPhil Student

Çağla Tosun, DPhil Student

Sophie Twigger, DPhil Student

Katja Worth, DPhil Student

Megan Jones, Undergraduate Biochem (part II)

Eduard Petrosyan, DPhil Student

Chumin Zhou, Postdoctoral Researcher

Lina Hacker, Postdoctoral Researcher


Sam Bader (2016-21), DPhil student - Scientist, Totus Medicines, USA

Charlotte Simpson (2020-2021) MRes student - PhD student, University of Cambridge, UK

Natalie Ng, (2016–21), DPhil student - Scientist, Oxford Biomedica, UK

Anna Mandel, (2018-20), MRes student - PhD student, University of Toronto, Canada

Ania Skwarska, (2019-20) Postdoctoral Researcher - Postdoctoral Researcher Medical University of Bialystok, Poland

Elizabeth Bowler, (2019 -20) Postdoctoral Researcher - Postdoctoral Researcher University of Bath

Ming-Shih Hwang, (2018-19), Postdoctoral Researcher - Postdoctoral Researcher, The Francis Crick Institute

Karen Sayal, (2018-19), Clinical Research Fellow – CRF, University of Oxford

Katarzyna Leszczynska, (2011 – 18), Postdoctoral Researcher, - Postdoctoral Researcher Nencki Institute, Warsaw, Poland

Alhasan Al-Habib (2017), MSc Student  - PhD student, Cambridge University, UK

Karin Purshouse (2016-17), ACF  - ACF, Oxford University Hospitals Trust, UK

Greg Dobrynin (2014-17), Postdoctoral Researcher - Senior Scientist, Immunocore Ltd, UK

Iosifina Foskolou (2012-16), DPhil Student  - Postdoctoral Researcher, Cambridge University, UK

Liam O'Connor (2012-16), DPhil Student  - Patent lawyer, UK

Cindy Korner (2010-15), MSc/DPhil Student - Postdoctoral Researcher, Karolinska Institute, Sweden 

Selva Anbalagan (2009-14), MSc/DPhil Student  - Postdoctoral Researcher, ICR, London, UK

Monica Olcina (2009-14), MSc/DPhil Student  - Postdoctoral Researcher, Stanford University, US

Isabel Pires (2007-12), Postdoctoral Researcher  - Lecturer, University of Hull, UK

Recent publications

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