Breast image


Group lead
Professor Justin Stebbing
+44 (0)20 7594 2793

Disease areas

What we do

We are currently focused on two main areas of research: firstly, the analysis of DNA mutations in the normal and malignant breast and colon tissue; and secondly, the use of cancer-associated miRNA as potential biomarkers and therapeutic targets.

Why it is important

Breast and colon cancers are amongst the most commonly diagnosed neoplasms in the world. The basis of colitis-associated colon cancer and the effect of age of pregnancy on breast cancer occurrence are still not well-studied. Understanding these molecular mechanisms will enable better prevention strategies such as surveillance programs which could be implemented in clinical settings.

How it can benefit patients

Our research aims to understand how the normal breast modifies during the reproductive years, and if epigenetics analysis can lead to biomarkers in colitis-associated colon cancer. While these projects may not lead to immediate clinical implication, we expect the findings could improve current surveillance programs and diagnosis.

Summary of current research

  • Analysis of markers of proliferation and apoptosis in normal breast and breast cancer tissue from different time points in the reproductive age, recording age of pregnancy and of cancer onset
  • Investigation of genetics and epigenetics changes of the normal and malignant breast and colon by detecting single nucleotide variants, insertions/deletions, copy number changes, and large structural variants
  • Identification of novel long ncRNAs and microRNAs in cancer initiation, progression and metastasis using RNA sequencing technologies


For patients

PhD students

When we have funding for PhD studentships, we advertise them through central channels such as Find a PhD. Information is also available on the Surgery and Cancer study page. If no studentships are currently advertised, please get in touch with the group lead with proposed project titles to discuss further. 

Current PhD students:

  • Neha Tabassum
  • Charlie Craddock
  • Mr Paul Cathcart
  • Victoria Harding
  • Alexander de Giorgio
  • Mr Pramodh Chitral Chandrasinghe    


Our researchers