Writtle University College and ARU have merged. Writtle’s full range of college, degree, postgraduate and short courses will still be delivered on the Writtle campus. See our guide to finding Writtle information on this site.

Molecular Biology

Our aims are to improve our understanding of the cellular mechanisms that lead to the development and treatment of cancer.

Our specialist research interests span a range of areas including ovarian, prostate, liver and breast cancer. In particular we study alterations in DNA repair (the repairome) in human disease, the role of transglutaminase enzymes in chemotherapeutic drug resistance, and by investigating the effects of naturally occurring compounds from sources such as herbs and red wine on the molecular basis of programmed cell death (apoptosis) in cancer cells.

Our academic interests in the underlying basic biology of cancer provide a focus for our interdisciplinary research, which aims to deliver positive translational impact in order to improve the treatment and quality of life of cancer patients.

Dr Richard Jones has research interests including biochemical, biophysical and bioinformatic studies of extracellular matrix and membrane proteins (retinoschisin, fibulin 5, fibronectin, collagen I, integrins, fibrinogen, bacterial surface proteins, oxacillin-hydrolysing proteins and toll-like receptors) implicated in antibiotic resistance and human eye, skin and vascular diseases.

Dr Chris O’Kane researches the development of novel therapeutics for antimicrobial resistance, and the application of nanotechnology in the development of theranostic Devices.

Dr Jim Sullivan conducts his research into ubiquitins, post-translational modifications and protein trafficking.

The Molecular Biology research area is part of the Biomedical Research Group.

We offer our Biomedical Science PhD, and a range of innovative research project opportunities for postgraduate researchers.


Find out more about our members on their profile pages.

Key publications

Sheng, Y., Beguin, E., Nesbitt, H., Kamila, S., Owen, J., Barnsley, LC., Callan, B., O'Kane, C., Nomikou, N., Hamoudi, R., Taylor, MA., Love, M., Kelly, P., O'Rourke, D., Stride, E., McHale, AP. and Callan, JF., 2017. Magnetically responsive microbubbles as delivery vehicles for targeted sonodynamic and antimetabolite therapy of pancreatic cancer. Journal of Controlled Release, (262), pp.192-200.

Sullivan J.A., Tong, J.L., Wong, M., Kumar, A., Sarkar, H., Ali, S., Hussein, I., Zaman, I., Meredith, E.L., Helsby, N.A., Hu, L. and Wilkinson, S.R., 2015. Unravelling the role of SNM1 in the DNA repair system of Trypanosoma brucei. Molecular Microbiology, (96), pp.827-838.

Ramsay, E.P., Collins, R.F., Owens, T.W., Siebert, C.A., Jones, R.P.O., Wang, T., Roseman, A.M. and Baldock, C., 2016. Structural analysis of X-Linked Retinoschisis mutations reveals distinct classes which differentially effect retinoschisin function. Human Molecular Genetics, 25(24), pp.5311-5320.