We are delighted that Dr Konstantinos Tzelepis has moved into the Milner Centre for Pathway Analysis as a new Academic in Residence. He brings significant expertise in the identification and characterisation of novel therapeutic targets using a wide range of applied functional genetics including sophisticated CRISPR-Cas9 screening platforms, which will be vital as we expand our functional genomics capacity during the coming year.
Kostas’s research is focused on uncovering epigenetic mechanisms that are implicated in devastating malignancies including acute myeloid leukaemia (AML), a disease in urgent need of effective new therapies. Kostas completed his PhD at the Wellcome Sanger Institute in 2017, where he pioneered the use of CRISPR-Cas9 technology to perform the first disease-focused genome-wide recessive screen in AML. He was then awarded the prestigious Sir Henry Wellcome Fellowship in order to investigate the role of RNA modifications and splicing in cancer initiation and maintenance. So far, his efforts have led to the identification of several novel RNA-binding/modifying proteins that are essential for AML cell survival, including the RNA methyltransferase METTL3 and the splicing kinase SRPK1. His ultimate aim is the development of new effective treatments against aggressive cancers through close collaborations with academia and industry, including the labs of George Vassiliou (Wellcome MRC Cambridge Stem Cell Institute) and Tony Kouzarides (Wellcome Cancer Research UK Gurdon Institute), and Storm Therapeutics.
As part of the Centre for Pathway Analysis, Kostas will bring vital know-how in both the design of CRISPR screens for improved disease understanding, and also the development of in vivo and in vitro assays for genetic and pharmacological validation of promising targets. “The Milner team is excited about working closely with Kostas to validate the targets from our computational pipeline and foster further collaborations with industry. Kostas has a strong translational profile and his functional genomics approaches are applicable to many therapeutic areas. We look forward to creating a critical mass in technical expertise in the Milner Therapeutics Institute.” says Deputy Director Kathryn Chapman.