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Genome Engineering Lab

Life Sciences University of Westminster Genome engineering, the introduction of desirable changes in the genome of living cells using CRISPR-Cas9 has fundamentally transformed biomedical sciences in characterization and treatment of human diseases. The major goal of the Genome Engineering Lab at the University of Westminster is to train and develop young researchers in the methods and theoretical knowledge necessary to investigate complex problems of molecular and cellular biology using CRISPR-Cas9 technology. The current key projects that apply the CRISPR-Cas9 tool involve:

1) Generation and characterization of novel cellular models of newly identified cancer driver genes to help researchers address the molecular basis of various cancers and to understand how specific disease phenotypes are regulated;

2) More than 200 proteins are involved in DNA damage repair (DDR) and inactivation of DDR leads to accumulation of disease inducing genomic aberrations. Therefore, we plan to generate DDR defective systems, with particular interest in proteins involved in DNA mismatch repair (MMR) pathway to contribute to better understanding of this highly complex DDR machinery and to test the effectiveness of chemotherapeutic drugs in selected MMR component deficient systems;


3) Stem cell editing paired with CRISPR-Cas9 genome editing technology has opened up new and improved avenues for modeling human diseases.Future perspectives in this direction include conducting CRISPR-Cas9 experimentsin iPSC disease models and demonstrate the versatility of these technologies in revolutionizing disease research..

Our Team Members

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Dr Kalpana Surendranath Msc, PhD, PGCHE, FHEA MRSB

Leader

k.surendranath1@westminster.ac.uk

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Dr John Murphy

Leader

j.murphy@westminster.ac.uk

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Nadeen Shaikh Solaiman3rd Year Phd

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Ahmed Sidali 1st year

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Nahida Bashir Phd 1st year

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Varsha Teotia Phd 1st year

Selected Awards and grants

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Excellence in learning and teaching

Excellence in learning and teaching for being a visible role model for excellence in learning and teaching at Westminster- awarded by the centre of teaching innovation CTI university of Westminster London April 2019

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Team Excellence- 2020

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Individual Teaching Excellence - 2020

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Royal Society of Biology Top Project Award

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Genetics society UK

Genetics society UK Summer Studentship April 2019 for work on a early CRISPR/Cas9 screening strategy for editing in Fluorescent chromosomely tagged variants of HeLa cellular models

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Students as co-creators

Students as co-creators project grant for studies on “Hijacking DDR deficiencies in cancer chemotherapy: Effects of PARP inhibitor AZD2461 on BRCA1 deficient and proficient cellular models of human cancers”Jan 2018 Kalpana Surendranath, Mashal Khan and AllanRifat

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Aurora Women leadership

Aurora Women leadership training scholarship from the University of WestminsterLondon 2016 and chosen for serving as Aurora role model by Aurora Advance HE leadership foundation for leadership in Higher Education UK

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EMBO Workshop

RNA and Genome Maintenance: Cooperation and conflict Management

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125 funding Feb 2018

125 funding Feb 2018 (£1400) to conduct studies on DNA damage COMET test in cancer diagnosticsKalpana Surendranath and Matilde Duarte