The Team

Leadership

Prof Dr Martin Widschwendter, FRCOG

Director and Principal Investigator

Scientific Staff

Dr Chiara Herzog

Molecular Medicine

Chiara has a background in molecular medicine and regenerative neuroscience.

She obtained a PhD in Neuroscience from the University of Edinburgh in 2019 and has extensive experience in molecular biology, biochemistry and microscopy. Her previous work involved generation and computational analysis of omic data and she joined Martin’s team in July 2020 after gaining valuable professional experience at a precision diagnostics company in Glasgow. She is now working on computational and statistical analysis of epigenetic data and coordinating a key clinical study assessing the impact of lifestyle factors on cancer risk and ageing.

Dr Elisa Redl

Laboratory

Elisa is working as a laboratory manager at the EUTOPS Institute in Zams.

After her school education in Innsbruck, she moved to Vienna to study Molecular Biology. She has a strong background in cancer research and epigenetics, especially DNA methylation, with a Master's degree in Molecular Medicine from the University of Vienna and a PhD in Malignant disease, studying the role of DNA methylation for epigenetic reprogramming in NPM-ALK driven lymphomagenesis at the Medical University of Vienna. Elisa started working with Martin in February 2021 and her main contribution to the overall vision is the establishment and maintenance of the new translational epigenetics laboratory in Zams, where we are establishing DNA methylation-based high-throughput analysis pipelines to identify and validate epigenetic signatures for individualised prevention, risk prediction, and early detection of cancer.

Dr James Barrett

Bioinformatics

James is an expert in bioinformatics and completed his PhD in machine learning at King's College London in 2015.

He joined Martin's group in 2018 and leads the bioinformatics and statistics team. His work focuses on statistical and computational techniques for analysing epigenetic data, the development of new epigenetic cancer tests, and the translation of epigenetic testing to the clinic. His research interests also include the impact of hormones on women's cancer risk and the relationship between aging and epigenetics.

Dr Charlotte Vavourakis

Laboratory

Charlotte has a background in molecular biology, microbial ecology, and metagenomics, with a PhD degree from the University of Amsterdam.

Since February 2021, she has been working with Martin as Laboratory Technician in his laboratory located in Zams. The core of her current work is the high-throughput detection of DNA methylation patterns in biological specimens using sequencing and real-time PCR.

Prof Nora Pashayan

Public Health & Epidemiology

Ms Christine Kastner, BSc

Laboratory

Christine has a background in Molecular biosciences with a BSc Joint degree from Salzburg and Linz University.

She is highly excited to join Martin’s team in 2021. She has previously worked as a Laboratory Technician at the Medical University Innsbruck. Her main role is based in the “wet laboratory” area of the high-throughput laboratory, dealing with sample preparation and processing. 

Administrative Staff

Dr Julie Bennett

Executive Personal Assistant to EUTOPS Director, Prof Dr Martin Widschwendter FRCOG

Ms Irene Künzel

EUTOPS Institute Secretary

Irene is Martin’s PA/secretary. She joined the Institute in February 2020.

Before this, she worked as the assistant to the director of the Training Centre for Physiotherapy at UMIT (Private University for Health Sciences, Medical Informatics and Technology) since 2004, after completing an apprenticeship as office and wholesale clerk and chief assistant training and working at various other places and companies for a few years.

Dr Sara Sleigh

Research Support Manager

Sara is a life scientist with a background in chemistry and molecular biology gained during her BSc and DPhil studies at the University of York, UK.

She has authored regulatory submissions documents for new medicines in the pharmaceutical industry, has experience of grant proposal authoring for a wide range of funders including the European Commission, UK Research and Innovation and major charities, and has written extensively for business information publishers on topics of interest to the life science and healthcare industries. She has been working with Professor Widschwendter since 2012, initially as project manager for the FP7-funded EpiFemCare project and subsequently in support of the H2020 FORECEE and European Research Council Advanced Grant (BRCA-ERC). She continues to support new funding applications for all aspects of Professor Widschwendter’s research portfolio.

Affiliated Members

Dr Iona Evans

University College London
Research Associate

Iona has a background in cell signalling and epigenetics, with a BSc from the University of Wales Cardiff and a PhD from Sheffield University.

She has been working with Martin as part of his UCL team since December 2013, working on various EU funded projects including EPIFEMCARE and FORECEE. Her main role within the team is laboratory-based and involves sample processing and methylation assay design and analysis.

Ms Allison Jones, BSc

University College London
Senior Research Associate

Allison completed her BSc in Applied and Human Biology at Aston University, Birmingham in the UK in 1997.

Since her degree, she has accrued almost 20 years’ experience working in cancer research. She began working with Martin in 2006 and ever since has specialised in the role of epigenetics in the development of women specific cancer. During these productive years she lead the UCL laboratory and established the laboratory logistics for two of our major research programmes: EpiFemCare (an FP7 funded programme of research aiming to develop epigenetic based tests for the early detection of breast and ovarian cancers), and, FORECEE (a Horizon 2020 programme of research aiming to develop clinical tests to risk predict future development of women specific cancer). Currently, she is working with our pan-European team on refining numerous early detection and risk prediction tests developed during our research programmes for eventual clinical implementation, with the aim to ultimately progress towards our 2040 vision i.e. 50% reduction of women specific cancer incidence and mortality by 2040.

Dr Dan Reisel

University College London
Senior Research Associate

Dan received his PhD in from the University of Oxford in 2005, with a thesis focusing on the molecular anatomy of GluR-A receptors and their role in activity-dependent synaptic plasticity.

After completing his graduate medical training at University College London (UCL), he joined Prof Widschwendter’s group as a full-time post-doctoral fellow. In 2016, Dan was awarded a three-year NIHR Academic Clinical Fellowship, during which he supported the research activities in Prof Widschwendter’s group and also completed an MSc in Genomic Medicine at Imperial College. Dan has an interest in the effect of hormones on cancer and establishing new prediction and prevention strategies for female cancers, including epigenetic, metabonomic or other omics-based tools. He also has an interest in implementation-related themes, such as risk communication, genomic testing and informed consent in the genomic/post-genomic era. He combines research with clinical training in Obstetrics and Gynaecology.

Alumni

Mr Niall Delahunty, MSc

University College London
Computational Biology Intern

Niall has a background in biomedical research with degrees in Biomedical Sciences (BSc) and Molecular Biology (research MSc) from University College Dublin (UCD).

Although his experience was largely wet laboratory work, he became increasingly interested in computer science and in the application of machine learning methods in biological data analysis. He is currently pursuing an MSc in Computer Science to create a strong foundational knowledge in computational methods. His career interests are in biomedical data analysis and the application of technology to solve research and healthcare problems and he is particularly interested in genomics and epigenomics. He worked with Martin from September 2020 until January 2021, where his main role was as an intern as part of the computational biology team contributing to the overall vision through the analysis and evaluation of epigenetic classifiers.

Mr Sam Jarvis

Student

Sam has a background in ICT and engineering, working towards a degree from Fontys University.

They were working with Martin between September 2020 and January 2021. Their main role in the group was experiment design and prototyping and they were contributing to the overall vision by targeting quality issues in DNA samples. 

Dr Yoo-Na Kim

Bioinformatics

Yoo-Na has a background in Economics and Biology from Columbia University in United States and in Medicine from Yonsei University in South Korea.

After five years of in-hospital training, Yoo-Na is a board certified Gynecologist who is very passionate about the role of epigenetics in gynaecological cancers. Yoo-Na focused on the analysis of FORECEE project during her time in the group (March 2020-March 2021).

Learn more about EUTOPS

Leadership

Martin Widschwendter is Professor for Cancer Prevention and Screening and the Director of the European Translational Oncology Prevention and Screening (EUTOPS) Institute.

The team

Find out who is contributing to our vision.

Collaborations

We strongly believe in collaborative work.

Publications

Read our scientific publications.

Open positions

We are always interested in working with talented scientists.