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Michael Ellis

Research assistant

Research Interests

As a member of Professor Xin Lu’s group, I am currently investigating the tumour suppressor p53 and its associated regulation. p53 is often referred to as the ‘guardian of the genome’ and is a crucial protein involved in regulating many cellular functions. In healthy cells, p53 acts as a tumour suppressor; however, in approximately 50% of cancers, p53 is mutated making it the most frequently mutated gene in human cancers and a stand-out candidate for investigation. The regulation of p53 in these abnormal conditions may be crucial to understanding how these changes arise and how a tumour can develop and progress. Important regulators of p53, the ASPP family of proteins, can contribute to the development and suppression of a tumour. The Lu Group has a long-standing interest in p53 and the ASPP family, and I will be working with other group members to investigate how p53 is regulated in healthy and tumorigenic environments. With this, we are aiming to enhance our understanding of p53 regulation to develop improved cancer therapies in the future.


Originally from York, I studied at the University of Leeds where I obtained a BSc (Hons) in Medical Sciences and an MSc in Molecular Medicine. I began working at the University of Oxford in 2019, moving to the Ludwig Institute and Professor Xin Lu’s laboratory in 2020.  My previous project involved investigating the epigenetic regulation of drug-resistant chronic myeloid leukaemia. I have the aspirations to complete a DPhil in the field of oncology in the future.