Main Menu

Epigenetics and Genome Stability Team

Professor Jessica Downs’s team investigates how DNA packaging influences the stability of genetic information, studying how this packaging and its regulation can influence the development and progression of cancer.

Team leader

Professor Jessica Downs

Professor Jessica Downs

Team Leader

Professor Jessica Downs is investigating the interplay between epigenetics and genome stability. The goal of this research is to understand how the packaging and organisation of DNA in cells helps to maintain its integrity and prevent tumourigenesis.

ORCID 0000-0002-6600-849X

Team members

 Hugang Feng
Hugang Feng
PhD student 020 7153 5174

Hugang (Geoffrey) completed his undergraduate degree in Biochemistry at Imperial College London and then joined Professor Downs’ team as a PhD student in 2017. His research focuses on late repaired IR-induced DNA double strand breaks and the interplay between genome instability and immunotherapy.

 Alison Harrod
Alison Harrod
Postdoctoral Training Fellow

Alison obtained her BSc in Biomedical Science at the University of Sheffield. She then completed her MSc degree in Molecular Medicine and her PhD in the Department of Surgery and Cancer at the Imperial College London. In April 2019, she joined Professor Down’s team at the ICR and her research is focusing on chromatin modifiers in cancer, working jointly with Professor Raj Chopra.

Dr Karen Lane
Dr Karen Lane
Postdoctoral Training Fellow 020 7153 5174

Karen completed her undergraduate BSc degree in Pharmacology and an MSc in Biomedical Science at the National University of Ireland, Galway. She graduated from the Centre for Chromosome Biology in Galway with a PhD in Biochemistry in 2017. Karen started in Professor Downs' lab in 2018, where she is investigating synthetic lethal drug candidates in cancers which have mutations in the SWI/SNF chromatin remodelling complexes.

Federica Schiavoni
Postdoctoral Training Fellow 020 7153 5174

Federica obtained her bachelor’s and master’s degree in Biotechnology at Northumbria University in Newcastle. In 2013, she started her PhD at the Spanish National Cancer Research Centre (CNIO) in Madrid. In September 2017, she joined the ICR as a postdoc in Professor Downs’ lab and here she is studying cellular evolution in a SWI/SNF-deficient background.

Dr Susana Sousa
Dr Susana Sousa
Postdoctoral Training Fellow

Susana completed her BSc degree in Applied Biology at the University of Minho, and her MSc degree in Oncology at the University of Porto, both in Portugal. She then obtained her PhD in Cancer Sciences at The University of Manchester. In January 2019, she joined Professor Downs’ lab at the ICR and is investigating the contribution of chromatin dynamics to DNA damage responses and genome stability.

 Youwen Yang
Youwen Yang
Higher Scientific Officer

Youwen joined the Downs Lab in June 2019. He holds a PhD from Shanghai Jiao Tong University. He has experience in NGS, particularly working on low input of tissues for ChIP-seq and Capture-C during the last couple of years. He is keen on exploring the interplay between epigenetics and genetics in carcinogenesis, mainly focusing on pathways of DNA repair which could cause carcinogenesis if they go wrong.

Pedro Zuazua-Villar
Higher Scientific Officer 020 7153 5174

Pedro joined Professor Downs’ lab in 2014. He studies the role of chromatin remodelling complexes during replication and in the DNA damage response.

 David McBay
David McBay
PhD student T 020 7153 5174