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Epigenetics and Cancer Team

Professor Kristian Helin’s team studies the role of chromatin-associated proteins (epigenetics) in the regulation of transcription, cell fate decisions and in cancer. The team is also using functional genetic screens to identify potential novel targets for the development of anti-cancer therapy.

Team leader

Professor Kristian Helin

Professor Kristian Helin

Team Leader

Professor Kristian Helin’s team studies the role of chromatin-associated proteins (epigenetics) in the regulation of transcription, cell fate decisions and in cancer. The team is also using functional genetic screens to identify potential novel targets for the development of anti-cancer therapy.

ORCID 0000-0003-1975-6097

Team members

Dr Robin Armstrong
Dr Robin Armstrong
Postdoctoral Training Fellow +44 20 7153 5496

Robin completed her undergraduate BSc degree in Biology and Biotechnology at Tufts University. She graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with a PhD in Genetics and Molecular Biology in 2020. Robin started in Professor Helin’s lab in 2020, where she is investigating differential roles for p53 loss and p53 missense mutation in complex karyotype AML.

Sarah Bruestl
Sarah Bruestl
PhD Student +44 20 7153 5599

Sarah completed her undergraduate BSc degree in Molecular Medicine at the University of Tübingen, Germany, and Karolinska Institute, Sweden. She obtained her MSc in Molecular Medicine with a focus on Oncology from the University of Tübingen. Sarah joined Professor Kristian Helin’s lab in 2021. As a PhD student she is investigating p53 missense mutations in complex karyotype AML.

Dr Helene Damhofer
Dr Helene Damhofer
Staff Scientist +44 20 7153 5499 ORCID 0000-0003-4459-7534

Helene completed her BSc and MSc degree in Genetics at the University of Salzburg, Austria, and continued her interest in oncology research at the Academic Medical Center in Amsterdam, studying Hedgehog signalling in pancreatic cancer. After obtaining her PhD in Medicine from the University of Amsterdam in 2015, Helene joined Professor Kristian Helin’s Lab in Copenhagen where she started investigating chromatin-modifying enzymes as novel therapeutic targets in glioma stem cells. She continued this research in the Helin Lab in New York at the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center and since September 2021 at the ICR.

Dr Shunlei Duan
Dr Shunlei Duan
Postdoctoral Training Fellow +44 20 3437 7013

Shunlei completed his MSc in stem cell biology at the Institute of Biophysics, Chinese Academy of Sciences, where he explored the role of PTEN deficiency in transforming neural stem cells towards glioblastoma stem cells. He then obtained his PhD at University of Copenhagen, where he investigated the role of RECQL4 in maintenance of genomic stability. After obtaining his PhD, he joined Professor Kristian Helin’s lab at Biotech Research & Innovation Centre (BRIC), University of Copenhagen, where he started investigating kinases as novel therapeutic targets in AML. He continued this research in Professor Helin’s lab at the ICR since January 2022.

Dr Zheng Fan
Dr Zheng Fan
Postdoctoral Training Fellow +44 20 3437 7007

Zheng completed his undergraduate BSc degree in Biological Science at Fudan University, China. He then completed his Master of Biotechnology and PhD in Oncology at The University of Melbourne, Australia, where he explored the roles of cyclin-dependent kinases in regulating RNA polymerase II transcription elongation. In 2020, Zheng joined Professor Kristian Helin’s lab at the University of Copenhagen, Denmark. Since then, he has been investigating the mechanism of how Polycomb complexes repress gene expression using genome-wide CRISPR screen and single-cell sequencing technology.

Xuerui Han
Xuerui Han
Scientific Officer +44 20 3437 7012

Xuerui obtained her MSc in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology with a focus on structural biology from Peking University, China. After her MSc, she worked as a R&D Engineer at TransGen Biotech Co., LTD. Then she moved to Copenhagen and worked at the Center for Healthy Aging, University of Copenhagen. Xuerui joined Professor Kristian Helin’s lab in Copenhagen in 2021 and Professor Helin’s lab at ICR in 2022, where she investigated the role of DNMT3A mutation in mastocytosis.

Dr Chang Huang
Dr Chang Huang
Senior Scientific Officer +44 20 7153 5522

Chang obtained his Ph.D. degree from a joint program held by the National Institute of Biological Sciences, Beijing, and the College of Biological Sciences, China Agricultural University. He worked as a research associate in the Institute of Biophysics, Chinese Academy of Science, for several years, where he characterized the biochemical regulation of the histone methyltransferase Ash1 complex. He joined Professor Kristian Helin’s team in Nov 2019. His research focuses on understanding the molecular mechanisms of leukemogenic genes and identifying novel targets for potential therapies.

Dr Kankadeb Mishra
Dr Kankadeb Mishra
Postdoctoral Training Fellow +44 20 7153 5509

Kankadeb completed his undergraduate BSc degree in Genetics, Microbiology and Chemistry from Bangalore University, India. He completed his MSc in Molecular and Human Genetics from BHU, India. He then moved to University of Gothenburg, Sweden to pursue his research interest in epigenetics regulation mediated by long non-coding RNAs in higher organisms. After obtaining his PhD in Medicine in December 2017 and continuing postdoctoral research work for one more year in Sweden, Kankadeb joined Professor Kristian Helin’s Lab in New York in 2019. He is investigating the tissue specific role of Polycomb Repressive Complex 2 (PRC2) in DIPGs and haematological malignancies.

Dr Hiroe Namba
Dr Hiroe Namba
Postdoctoral Training Fellow +44 20 7153 5513

Hiroe completed her undergraduate BSc degree in Animal Science and Biotechnology at Azabu University, Japan. She obtained her MSc in Integrated Science and her PhD in Medical Science from the University of Tokyo, Japan. She continued her interest in cancer epigenetics study and joined Professor Kristian Helin’s lab at the University of Copenhagen, Denmark. She is investigating the role of PRC2 in B lymphoma.

Dr Van Nguyen
Dr Van Nguyen
Postdoctoral Training Fellow +44 20 7153 5564

Van completed her undergraduate BSc degree in Biotechnology at the University of Nottingham, United Kingdom. She then obtained her MSc in Cancer biology and PhD in Clinical medicine research at Imperial College London, where she investigated the mechanism of endocrine therapy resistance and targeting transcription machinery in breast cancer. After obtaining her PhD in 2020, she continued her research as a postdoc at Imperial College London. She started in Professor Helin’s lab in 2021 where her current research focuses on unravelling the tissue specificity of PRC2 alterations in cancer.

Dr Burak Ozkan
Dr Burak Ozkan
Postdoctoral Training Fellow +44 20 3437 7014

Burak completed his undergraduate BSc degree in Molecular Biology and Genetics department at Bilkent University, Turkey in 2012. He studied role of a zinc finger protein in the recruitment of the histone methyltransferase G9a and received his PhD degree from the University of Edinburgh in 2016. He could not resist the beauty of Edinburgh and stayed there to work as a Postdoctoral Research Associate in Dr. Abdenour Soufi’s lab at the Centre for Regenerative Medicine. He investigated the molecular features of Yamanaka Factors during induction of human pluripotent stem cell. In 2022, he joined Professor Kristian Helin’s team at ICR. His research focus is on the epigenetic landscape and cell fate decision in cancer.

Dr Tulin Tatar
Dr Tulin Tatar
Postdoctoral Training Fellow +44 20 3437 7006

Tulin obtained her undergraduate BSc degree in Molecular Biology and Genetics at Bilkent University, Turkey in 2013. She completed her PhD in Stem Cell Biology at The University of Edinburgh, UK in 2018. Then, in April 2018, she moved to Denmark to join Kristian Helin’s Lab at The University of Copenhagen. She is investigating the molecular mechanism regulating tumor formation and maintenance in glioblastoma as well as the regulation of transcriptional repression by Polycomb Repressive Complexes in mouse embryonic stem cells.