Dr Maria A. Christophorou

Chancellor's Fellow and Sir Henry Dale Fellow


Maria obtained a B.Sc. in Biology from MIT as a Fulbright Scholar. During that time, she undertook a two-year UROP (Undergraduate Research Opportunity Program) project at the Whitehead Institute, in the laboratory of Prof. Hazel Sive and under the supervision of Dr. Mary Ellen Lane and worked on a number of projects at the Cyprus Institute of Neurology and Genetics (CING), under the supervision of Prof. Marios Cariolou.

Her graduate work was undertaken at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF), in the Biomedical Sciences (BMS) Program, under a UC Regents Doctoral Fellowship. This exposed her to research in different disease-related fields and involved rigorous training in histopathology and organismal biology. She completed her doctoral dissertation in the laboratory of Prof. Gerard Evan, at the UCSF Comprehensive Cancer Center, where she was able to dissect the relative contributions of different p53 activating signals towards tumour suppression using mouse models and cell culture systems of conditional p53 perturbation.

In order to expand her expertise into basic biochemistry and molecular biology, she joined the laboratory of Prof. Tony Kouzarides at the Gurdon Institute, University of Cambridge. Her work there was funded by Long-Term Postdoctoral Fellowships from EMBO and HFSP and focused on chromatin modifying enzymes and the mechanisms through which they modulate cell function. Specifically, she uncovered a new role for the peptidylarginine deiminase PADI4 in the regulation of pluripotency and described a molecular mechanism by which it mediates chromatin decondensation, through citrullination of the linker histone H1.

In 2014 Maria was awarded a Chancellor’s fellowship from the University of Edinburgh and a Sir Henry Dale fellowship form the Wellcome Trust and Royal Society to establish an independent research group at the MRC Institute of Genetics and Molecular Medicine. She was awarded the Wellcome-Beit Prize in December 2014.


Bachelor of Science, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Doctor of Philosophy, University of California, San Francisco

Responsibilities & affiliations

Member of the HGU Graduate Studies Panel

Affiliated PI, MRC Centre for Regenerative Medicine

Open to PhD supervision enquiries?


Current PhD students supervised

Thomas Cummings

David Hay

View all 6 publications on Research Explorer

Wellcome-Beit Prize (2014)

Sir Henry Dale Fellowship (2014-2019)

Chancellor’s Fellowship (2014-2019)                  

HFSP Long-term Postdoctoral Fellowship (2007-2010)                 

AAAS/Science Program for Excellence in Science member (2007)

EMBO Long-term Postdoctoral Fellowship (2006-2007)                  

Keystone Symposia Fund Scholarship (2003)                           

UC Regents Fellowship (1999-2001)                  

Fulbright Commission Scholarship  (1995-1999)