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Structural Biology of Cell Signalling Team

Dr Sebastian Guettler’s team is researching the ways in which certain enzymes, known as ADP-ribosyltransferases (ARTs), control cell function.

Team leader

Dr Sebastian Guettler

Dr Sebastian Guettler

Team Leader

Dr Sebastian Guettler is Deputy Head of the Division of Structural Biology. He studies the precise molecular mechanisms of signalling processes central to cancer stem cell function, with a particular interest in ADP-ribosylation in signal transduction. His previous work on tankyrase, a poly(ADP-ribose)polymerase (PARP), helped to explain how the rare human disease cherubism is caused.

ORCID 0000-0002-3135-1546

Team members

Iona Black
Iona Black
PhD Student

I joined the ICR as a PhD student in October 2018. The aim of my research project is to develop novel chemical tool compounds to study and understand the scaffolding functions of the PARP enzyme tankyrase, a key cancer related protein involved in the regulation of cellular processes such as Wnt/β-catenin signalling and telomere length. My project is a multidisciplinary collaboration between the Cancer Therapeutics and Structural Biology divisions, with Prof Ian Collins and Dr Sebastian Guettler.

Ben Broadway
Ben Broadway
PhD Student

I graduated from the University of Manchester, with a BSc in Biochemistry with industrial experience (IE). I spent my IE at Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, Florida, investigating mitochondrial dysfunction in disease. In 2020, I joined the ICR to study how tankyrase regulates Wnt/β-catenin signalling utilising genetic techniques.

Giacomo Casale
Giacomo Casale
PhD Student +44 20 3437 6220

I graduated with a BSc in Biochemistry from Imperial College London in 2020. As an undergraduate, I spent a year in the Pintacuda lab at the Very High Field NMR Center (CRMN) in Lyon, France, where I worked on the characterisation of membrane proteins by solid-state NMR. At the ICR, I am working on a collaborative project with Professor Ian Collins and Dr Sebastian Guettler to develop chemical probes to study telomere function.

Dr Oviya Inian
Dr Oviya Inian
Postdoctoral Training Fellow

Oviya studied Biotechnology during her undergraduate degree at SRM University, India. She then completed her PhD in Professor Sara Sandin's lab at Nanyang Technological University, Singapore. Oviya joined the ICR as a postdoc in 2019 and is currently studying the function of tankyrase at telomeres.

Dr Matthew Jessop
Dr Matthew Jessop
Postdoctoral Training Fellow +44 20 7153 5236

I completed my BSc (Hons) in Biology at the University of Auckland, New Zealand, in 2015. I then moved to the Institut de Biologie Structurale in Grenoble, France, for my PhD, working in Dr Irina Gutsche’s group. During my PhD, I used cryo-EM and biochemistry to characterise the bacterial AAA+ ATPase RavA and the Mitochondrial Complex I Assembly Complex. I moved to the Guettler lab in 2020 to work on the cryo-EM characterisation of tankyrase.

Muhammed Kocak
Muhammed Kocak
Marie Curie Fellow +44 20 8722 4043

For my undergraduate, I studied Molecular Biology & Genetics at the Istanbul Technical University, Turkey, followed by my M.Sc. in Molecular Biology, Genetics and Bioengineering at Sabanci University, Turkey. During my M.Sc. programme, I investigated the regulation of autophagy through microRNAs, and developed a nanoparticle-based, microRNA-functionalised gene therapy system to target breast cancer cells. At the ICR, I study the mechanisms of selective autophagy.

Dr Nisha Pillay
Dr Nisha Pillay
Postdoctoral Training Fellow

I studied Natural Sciences at the University of Cambridge majoring in Biochemistry. I then moved on to the University of Manchester to undertake a Wellcome-funded PhD in the lab of Professor Stephen Taylor investigating the poly(ADP-ribose) reversal enzyme poly(ADP-ribose) glycohydrolase (PARG) as a therapeutic target. In 2020, I joined Sebastian’s lab to pursue my interests in ADP-ribosylation biology, investigating ADP-ribosylation of tankyrase targets, with a particular interest in telomeric functions of tankyrase.

Dr Michael Ranes
Dr Michael Ranes
Postdoctoral Training Fellow

Michael received his MSc degree in Medical Biology in 2009 from the Radboud University in the Netherlands. He then moved to the Clare Hall Laboratories at the London Research Institute, where he obtained his PhD in Biochemistry. In 2014, he joined the ICR, working on understanding how the poly(ADP-ribose)polymerase tankyrase regulates the Wnt/β-catenin signalling pathway.

Saira Sakalas
Saira Sakalas
PhD Student

During my bachelor's degree at Erasmus University College, I completed a summer internship at Karolinska Institute in the field of cancer biology. I continued with my studies at Imperial College London in Molecular Basis of Human Disease. Here at the ICR, I am studying the molecular mechanisms of Wnt/beta-catenin signalling.

Dr Mariola Zaleska
Dr Mariola Zaleska
Higher Scientific Officer +442071535180

Mariola studied Biotechnology (BSc) at the University of Silesia in Poland and undertook her MSc in Analytical Bioscience at the University of Huddersfield. She then did her PhD in Dr Mark Pfuhl’s lab at King’s College London. Mariola joined Dr Guettler’s lab in July 2017.