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Meet the team


Dr Clare Davies 


PhD, B.Med.Sc

Reader in Cancer Cell Biology


I completed my PhD in Cancer Studies at the University of Birmingham, UK, and have ever since been interested in understanding how post-translational modification of proteins contributes to malignant progression. I first came across the wonderful world of arginine methylation during my post-doctoral position at the CRUK-London Research Institute (now The Crick) in the lab of Dr. Axel Behrens studying c-Jun-mediated gene expression, and then moved to The University of Manchester to work with Dr. Cathy Tournier on mouse models of breast, skin and pancreatic cancer. I was awarded a Birmingham Fellow in 2012 to start my own research group at the Institute of Cancer and Genomic Sciences and was promoted to Reader in 2019. I really enjoy mentoring the younger members of the team, and in my spare time can be found in the gym sweating and singing along to a Les Mills class, hiking up a mountain, or planning my next big travel tip abroad. Dogs are by far my favourite animal!



Dr Kelly Chiang


PhD, BSc

After completing a PhD at the Paterson Institute for Cancer Research in Manchester, I moved to the University of Glasgow to begin my foray into the infinite world of epigenetics. I continued this journey after moving to the University of Birmingham where I currently work on the role of arginine methylation in the regulation of breast cancer stem cells, which has also allowed me to dabble part-time in bioinformatics. Outside the lab, I prefer science of a different nature - one which usually results in a more tasty endpoint than pouring an SDS-PAGE gel.


Dr Soo Youn Choi


PhD, MSc

I obtained my MSc in Genetic Engineering and PhD in Biochemistry from Seoul National University in South Korea. After my first postdoctoral training in MRC-PPU (MRC -Protein Phosphorylation and Ubiquitination Unit, University of Dundee), I joined the lab to conduct research focusing on the functions of PRMT5 in breast cancer. I like all kinds of art form, love visiting art galleries and theatres. Actually that is why I like science most as it is like a journey to understand the art of nature.

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Dr Debashish Sahay

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I obtained my PhD in 2015 from INSERM1033/University of Lyon under the supervision of Dr. Peyruchaud with a Marie Curie fellowship. We identified the mechanism involved in lysophosphatidic acid mediated breast cancer-bone metastases. Previously, I have worked as a Post-Doctoral Researcher with Columbia University Medical Center/Mount Sinai, NYC and University of Houston. The projects that I worked on focused on identifying underlying mechanisms of causality as well as advanced and drug-resistant breast cancers. I am very happy to be here and explore the interesting and exciting world of PRMTs in breast cancer. Outside work I love traveling, watching movies, watching cricket and cooking.



Ciara Ward

Research Technician

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I completed a Masters of Research in Cancer Sciences at the University of Birmingham before I joined the Davies lab as a research technician in October 2021. In my spare time I love to read and am often found with my head in stranger worlds. I also adore travelling and I am hoping to visit new places soon!


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Lizzie Dufficy


iCASE Astra Zeneca BBSRC Studentship

I obtained my Cancer Sciences M.Res. in the Davies Lab before moving on to a Wellcome Trust funded Research Assistant position at Cambridge University. Following this I had the opportunity to return to the Davies Lab to undertake a PhD. My research interests include molecular mechanisms involved in the DNA damage response, the arginine methyltransferase PRMT5 and breast cancer. Outside of work I love to paint and am a keen runner. Last year I ran The Great North Run to raise money for Alzheimers Society. Dogs are also my favourite animal!

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Nicole Mcfadzean


MIBTP BBSRC PhD Studentship

I studied Veterinary Biosciences at the University of Glasgow as an undergraduate. I then worked as a research assistant on a Humanimal Trust project aiming to develop a test that could diagnose and monitor cancers through circulating tumour DNA. My PhD included a training year to learn statistics and bioinformatics skills and my research within the Davies Lab focuses on investigating the recruitment of PRMTs to sites of DNA damage and the roles of histone arginine methylation within the DNA damage response. In my spare time I enjoy listening to and playing music as well as meeting up with friends.

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Matthew Gillespie


UoB PhD Studentship

I read Biochemistry and Pharmacology at the University of Strathclyde during which I specialised in Biochemistry gaining my M.Sci. in 2018. I am now studying for a PhD in Cancer and Genomic Sciences where I aim to understand how arginine methylation helps breast cancer stem cells repair their DNA and also resist chemoradiotherapy. In my free time I enjoy playing sports like football and golf and going for walks up the Scottish glens with my dog Cassie. 

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Karan Sharma


CRUK PhD Studentship

I studied Biomedical Science at King's College London as an undergraduate. In order to further my interest in cancer research I chose to do a MSc at the University of Leicester in the Molecular Pathology and Therapeutics of Cancer. I joined The Davies Lab in 2019 as a Research Technician, and I started my PhD in October 2021. My research within The Davies Lab focuses on FXR1 and the DNA damage response.  In my spare time I love watching and playing cricket. I also like music and most art forms. 


Lauren Pitt

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After graduating with a Biomedical Science degree from the University of Birmingham, I pursued my interest in the science around cancer by studying a MRes in Cancer Sciences. As part of this, I am undergoing a research project within the Davies lab investigating links between PRMT5-mediated RUVBL1 methylation with cellular responses to DNA damaging agents and PRMT5 inhibitors in breast cancer. In my free time I like to take my dogs out on new hiking routes for a good explore and love getting lost in a book.

Sophie Ord


I completed my undergraduate degree in Biochemistry at the University of Surrey where I spent a placement year with King’s College London’s AML Cancer Genetics group. I started my MRes in Cancer Sciences in September 2021 and am completing my research project in the Davies Lab. In my free time I enjoy reading, musical theatre and travelling.

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