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Research groups

Student Project:
Nucleases and helicases as potential cancer targets

It is clear that the acquired genetic changes (vulnerabilities) in tumours can be exploited to treat cancer, increasingly in a manner tailored to individual patients. Defects and alterations in DNA repair pathways are often vital for tumour cell viability and are excellent potential therapeutic targets.

We combine cell biology, cellular genetics (including genome editing) and biochemistry (including cryo-electron microscopy) to provide a detailed understanding of key DNA repair pathways that are targets for cancer prevention and treatment.


Prof Chris Schofield, Department of Chemistry, University of Oxford
Prof Tom Brown, Department of Chemistry, University of Oxford
Dr Joe Newman, Centre for Medicines Discovery, University of Oxford
Dr Andre Nussenzweig, National Cancer Institute, NIH, Bethesda, USA

Peter McHugh

Professor of Molecular Oncology

Research Summary

We aim to understand how repair of damaged DNA is controlled during chromosome duplication, and why potentially dangerous changes in the behaviour of cells can occur when this process goes wrong. We also hope use this improved knowledge of DNA damage and its repair to improve treatments for cancer.


Following post-doctoral research at University College London, Peter McHugh was awarded a Royal Society University Research Fellowship in 2001. In 2003 he joined the Oncology Laboratories at the MRC Weatherall Institute of Molecular Medicine, where he now heads the DNA Damage and Repair research group.

He is a regular presenter to CRUK fundraisers, and is a co-organiser of the UK Genome Stability Network Annual meeting and of the FEBS Nucleotide Excision Repair and Interstrand Crosslink repair meeting.


Sanja Brolih, Postdoctoral Researcher
Abimael Cruz-Migoni, Postdoctoral Researcher
Jennifer Gurnett, Postdoctoral Researcher
Matthew Harris, DPhil Student (with Yang Shi and Chris Schofield)
Lucy Henderson, DPhil Student
Malitha Ratnaweera, DPhil Student
Rebecca Roddan, Postdoctoral researcher
Lonnie Swift, Postdoctoral Researcher
Ceren Yalaz, Post-Doctoral Researcher