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Student Project: Characterisation of DNA-protein crosslink proteolysis repair in response to chemotherapy

DNA-protein crosslinks (DPCs) are under-investigated DNA lesions caused by the covalent attachment of proteins to DNA. DPCs are induced by endogenous aldehydes, chemotherapeutic drugs (such as PARP1 or Topoisomerase inhibitors) and ionising radiation. However, little is known about DPC repair and how do cells acquire resistance to DPC-induced chemo- or radiotherapy. We discovered that the SPRTN metalloprotease is a specialised and essential enzyme for DNA-protein crosslink repair during DNA replication fork progression

As a PhD/DPhil student, you will get an excellent training in the aforementioned laboratory technologies. Most importantly, once you obtain your PhD/DPhil under our supervision, you will become an independent and competitive scientist on the market. All our students have so far secured their next-destination jobs at the most prestigious scientific institutions worldwide, such as Oxford, Cambridge, Harvard or pharma companies.

Kristijan Ramadan

Professor of Molecular Medicine

  • Medical Research Council (MRC) Investigator
  • Corresponding Member of the Croatian Academy of Sciences and Arts

Research Summary

We are interested in the role of proteolysis and p97/VCP/Cdc48 system in DNA replication, DNA repair, ageing, cancer and radiotherapy.

We use biochemical, cell and molecular biology approaches to study basic cellular processes for the maintenance of genome stability. We believe that our research not only contributes to deeper understanding of the fundamental biological processes but also paves the path for novel therapeutic interventions in various malignancies.    


Kristijan holds degrees in Veterinary Medicine (DVM), Veterinary Pathology (MSc) and PhD in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology under supervision of Prof. Dr. U. Hübscher. He did his post-doctoral training at the ETH-Zürich in the group of Dr H. Meyer. Between 2009 and 2013 he was Junior Group Leader and Lecturer at the Institute of Pharmacology and Toxicology-Vetsuisse, University of Zürich. In 2013 he moved to the UK to join the Department of Oncology as MRC Senior Group leader. From 2014 to 2019 he was Associate Professor at the Department of Oncology, University of Oxford. In 2019 Kristijan was promoted to the Full Professor of Molecular Medicine at University of Oxford.

Kristijan received the Proud of Croatia Award (Croatian Hero for 2014) for his scientific contribution in saving the life of a young boy who suffered from liver cancer caused by mutations in the SPRTN gene.

His work contributed to the discoveries of Chromatin-Associated Degradation, DNA-protein crosslink proteolysis repair and Ruijs-Aalfs Syndrome (RJALS). 

In 2020 Kristijan was elected to the Croatian Academy of Sciences and Arts (HAZU) as a distinguished scientist in the field of Medicine.



Ftoon Aljarbou, DPhil Student

Gwendoline Hoslett, DPhil Student

Pauline Lascaux, DPhil Student

Stelios (Alex) Koukouravas,  DPhil Student

Sara Tribble, DPhil Student

Yichen Zhao, MSc Student

Xiaosheng Zhu, MSc Student

Post-doctoral Researchers:

Dr. Siddhartha Mukherjee

Dr. Shivani Patel

Dr. Ignacio Torrecilla

Dr. Wei Song


1. Matthias Bosshard (2009-2010); MSc and Doctor Vet Med Student 2009-2010; shared with Prof Hübscher University of Zurich) - next destination: PhD/DPhil Student, University of Zurich, Switzerland

2. Dr Mayura Meerang (2009-2011) Postdoctoral Researcher - next destination: Postdoctoral Researcher, University Hospital Zurich, Switzerland

3. Sebastian Koller (2011-2013) MSc and Doctor Vet Med Student - next destination: City Delegate/Politician, Region Wil, Switzerland

4. Divya Achuthankutty  (2014-2015) MSc Student - next destination: PhD student, University of Copenhagen, Denmark

5. Domenic Pilger (2015) MSc Student (shared with Prof T. Hoppe, University of Cologne) – next destination: PhD student, Gurdon Institute, University of Cambridge, UK

6. Henry Bickers (2016) MSc Student - Ministry of Defence, UK

7. Dr. Swagata Halder (2012-2016) DPhil Student and Postdoctoral Researcher (2017) - next destination: Postdoctoral Researcher, International Institute for Molecular Oncology, Milan, Italy.

8. Dr. Judith Oehler (2012-2016) DPhil Student and Postdoctoral Researcher (2017) - next destination: Postdoctoral Researcher, Department of Biochemistry, University of Oxford, UK

9. Katherine Wiseman (2013-2017) DPhil Student - next destination: Scientist, Immunocore Ltd, Oxford, UK

10. Dr Marta Popovic (2014-2017) Postdoctoral Researcher - next destination: Junior Group Leader/Assistant Professor at Institute Rudjer Boskovic, Zagreb, Croatia

11. Giyun (Laura) Yoo (2017) MSc Student - next destination: PhD Student, Imperial College London, UK

12. Mirjam Kümmerlin (2018) MRes Student - next destination: Postgraduate Study in Chemistry at Ludwig Maximilian University, Munich, Germany

13. Anouk Sesink (2019) MRes Student - next destination: PhD student at the Curie Institute, Paris, France

14. Dr Bruno Vaz (2012-2019) Postdoctoral Researcher - next destination: Scientist, SENTCELL, Rome, Italy

15. Dr John Fielden (2015-2020) DPhil Student (2015-2019) and Postdoctoral Researcher (2020) - next destination: Institute of Molecular Health Sciences, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology-Zurich (ETH), Switzerland

16. Samuel Hume (2016-2020) DPhil student - next destination: Medical School Oxford, UK.

17. Susan Kilgas (MRes and DPhil student 2016-2022) - next destination: Postdoctoral researcher Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Harvard Medical School, USA.

18. Shudong Li (DPhil student 2017-2022) - next destination: Postdoctoral researcher at The Francis Crick Institute-London, UK.

19. Juntong Xu (MSc student 2022); MSc student -  next destination : 

20. Dr Abhay Narayan Singh (2013-2022) - next destination: Biochemistry Technical Specialist at Syngenta, UK. 

21.   Junyi (Joanna) Li; MSc student (2023)- next destination: 

22. Dr Annamaria Ruggiano (2017-2023) - next destination: Junior Principal Investigator, Centro de Investigaciones Biológicas Margarita Salas, Madrid, Spain.

23.  Camilla Trugenberger; MSc student  (2023) - next destination: PhD student at the University of Geneva, Switzerland.

24. Dr Cristiano Peron; DPhil student (2019-2023) - next destination: Chief Scientific Officer at Oxbridge Clinical Inc, Boston, USA. 

Recent publications

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