Imperial College London

Dr Ana P. Costa-Pereira

Faculty of MedicineDepartment of Surgery & Cancer

Senior Lecturer



+44 (0)20 7594 2815a.costa-pereira Website




131ICTEM buildingHammersmith Campus





Qualification and Personal History

  • April 2015: School of Medicine Head of BSc Programme Development
  • 2011: Promoted to Senior Lecturer 
  • October 2005: Joined Imperial College London as a Research Team Leader (Cytokines and Cancer Signalling Group) and Lecturer in the Department of Surgery and Cancer (formerly SORA), Faculty of Medicine
  • 1999-2005: Postdoctoral work at Cancer Research UK, London Research Institute (formerly Imperial Cancer Research Fund) (Kerr Lab)
  • 1994-1999: PhD in Biochemistry, University College Cork, Ireland (Cotter Lab)



Research Interests

  • Regulation and organisation of cytokine signalling networks in tumour cells
  • Tumour cell apoptosis signal transduction pathways
  • Identification of novel targets for cancer therapy using the above knowledge

Main Research Objectives


Lab Webpage:

Our previous research work has provided novel insights into deregulation of signalling mediated by Janus kinases (JAKs) and Signal Transducers and Activators of Transcription (STATs),  and associated changes in cytokine responses in a variety of human and mouse cells, an area which can potentially provide us with increased comprehension of mechanisms of cancer progression.

Accordingly, we utilise JAK/STAT signalling as a paradigm to understand how signal transduction specificity is achieved and to translate this information into more effectively targeted cancer therapies. More specifically, we aim to:

  • identify additional pathways activated by Type I and II Interferons (IFNs) and their role(s) in IFN signalling, and thereby enhance our current understanding of IFN actions;
  • unravel novel layers of regulation of signalling in response to IL-6-type cytokines, with particular emphasis on the definiton of the mechanism(s) of the mutational switch of an IL-6 response to an IFN-γ-like response in the absence of STAT3 - likely important in cancers where inflammation plays a major role;
  • establish the contribution of STATs, JAKs and other kinases (such as DAPKs and AKTs) to molecular mechanisms that enable cancer cells to survive apoptosis triggered by diverse stimuli and/or evade the immune system
  • devise alternative modalities of defeating drug resistance in the clinic

In addition, we are interested in apoptotic pathways triggered through death receptors by ligands such as TRAIL and Fas. More specifically, we aim to: 

  • identify novel resistance mechanisms to TRAIL- and Fas-induced apoptosis
  • devise ways to overcome resistance


  • Dr Heike M. Hermanns (University of Würzburg, Germany)
  • Prof. David E. Levy (NYU, USA)
  • Dr Ana Gamero (Temple University School of Medicine, USA)
  • Prof. Tony Green (Cambridge University, UK)
  • Prof. Michael J. Seckl and Dr Olivier E. Pardo (Imperial College London, UK)
  • Prof. Steven Johnsen (University of Hamburg, Germany)
  • Prof. Stefan N. Constantinescu (Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research, Belgium)

Membership of Professional Bodies

  • International Society for Interferon and Cytokine Research (ISICR) since 2006
  • British Association for Cancer Research (BACR) since 2008
  • Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (HEA) since 2008
  • Biochemical Society (BS) since 2010

EXTERNAL Committees

  • Biochemical Society Theme Panel V (Signalling) Committee Member (2013-  )
  • Member of the Organising Committee for the BACR/ Royal Society of Medicine (RSM) Oncology Section conference in Cell Signalling and Novel Cancer Therapeutics (Nov 2007, London, UK)
  • Member of the Jury of the 5th Edition of the Crioestaminal Award (2009, Portugal)
  • Member of the Organising Committee for the triple  joint meeting between the Society for Leukocyte Biology (LBS), ISICR and International Cytokine Society (ICS) (Oct 2009, Lisbon, Portugal)
  • Member of the ISICR Standards Committee (2010-2012)
  • Member of the International Advisory Committee for the ISICR/ICS 2010 Meeting (Chicago, USA)


Internal Committees

  • Faculty of Medicine, Department of Surgery and Cancer, Postgraduate Education
  • Faculty of Medicine, Department of Surgery and Cancer, Cancer Research UK Imperial Centre
  • Faculty of Medicine, Department of Surgery and Cancer, Academic Opportunities Committee (including Athen aSWAN)


Teaching Activities

Undergraduate Teaching

  • BSc in Surgery and Anaesthesia
  • Biomedical Science

Postgraduate Taught Courses

  • Molecular Medicine MSc
  • Biomedical Research MRes
  • Cancer Biology MRes
  • Graduate School of Life Sciences and Medicine Presentation Skills Workshop

Postgraduate Teaching and Supervision

  • PhD supervisor
  • Lecturer and MSc/MRes Project Supervisor 
  • BSc Project Supervisor

Invited Teaching

  • Inside the Cell PhD Course - Institute Gulbenkian for Science, Portugal (2006, 2007, 2008, 2009)
  • Horizons Symposium - International Max Planck Research School for Molecular Biology, Göttingen, Germany (2011)


Editorial Boards  

  • Cytokine 
  • JAK-STAT (launched 2012)
  • PLoS ONE
  • Frontiers in Endocrinology


  • Journal of Cell Science
  • Oncogene
  • Journal of Biological Chemistry
  • PLoS
  • British Journal of Cancer
  • PLoS ONE
  • Molecular Endocrinology
  • Gene Therapy
  • The Journal of Pathology
  • Medical Research Council (MRC)
  • Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC)
  • British Heart Foundation (BHF)
  • Pancreatic Cancer Research Fund (PCRF)
  • Research Foundation Flanders (FWO)



Rutherford C, Speirs C, Williams JJL, et al., 2016, Phosphorylation of Janus kinase 1 (JAK1) by AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) links energy sensing to anti-inflammatory signaling, Science Signaling, Vol:9, ISSN:1945-0877

Schlegel CR, Georgiou ML, Misterek MB, et al., 2015, DAPK2 regulates oxidative stress in cancer cells by preserving mitochondrial function, Cell Death & Disease, Vol:6, ISSN:2041-4889

Bonito NA, Drechsler J, Stoecker S, et al., 2014, Control of gp130 expression by the mitogen-activated protein kinase ERK2, Oncogene, Vol:33, ISSN:0950-9232, Pages:2255-2263

Costa-Pereira AP, 2014, Regulation of IL-6-type cytokine responses by MAPKs, Biochemical Society Transactions, Vol:42, ISSN:0300-5127, Pages:59-62

Schlegel CR, Fonseca A-V, Stoecker S, et al., 2014, DAPK2 is a novel modulator of TRAIL-induced apoptosis, Cell Death and Differentiation, Vol:21, ISSN:1350-9047, Pages:1780-1791

More Publications