Imperial College London

DrMarcoDi Antonio

Faculty of Natural SciencesDepartment of Chemistry

Advanced Research Fellow (BBSRC Fellow)



+44 (0)20 7594 5866m.di-antonio




207LMolecular Sciences Research HubWhite City Campus







My research interests lie at the interface between organic chemistry and cell biology. I leverage on my organic chemistry background to rationally design and develop small-molecule probes to interfere with endogenous cellular process, with particular interest to DNA targeting. My main research focus is on ageing biology, I use chemical and molecular biology tools to investigate how DNA packaging and chromatin dynamics are affected by healthy ageing, with the aim to underpin fundamental epigenetic changes that are associated with ageing and could trigger ageing-related disorders. 


Following a M.Sc. degree in Organic Chemistry from University of Pavia in 2007, Marco undertook a Ph.D in Molecular Sciences at Padua University under the supervision of Prof. Manlio Palumbo and Prof. Mauro Freccero. During his Ph.D, Marco gained an extensive experience on the synthesis of small molecule ligands with DNA cross-linking activity under physiological conditions. Following his Ph.D. Marco moved to Cambridge in 2011 to work with Prof. Shankar Balasubramanian as a Post-Doctoral Research Associate, working on targeting DNA secondary structures such as G-quadruplexes. During his post-doctoral work, Marco has contributed to demonstrate the existence of G-quadruplex DNA and RNA structures in human cells and to their mapping on a genome wide-scale. In 2015, Marco was promoted to Senior Research Associate and kept working in the Balasubramanian group, establishing novel live-cell imaging platforms to investigate DNA G-quadruplex formation in real-time within live cells and investigating the potential of G-quadruplex targeting small-molecules as cancer therapeutics. His research training in Cambridge has enabled him to develop a comprehensive research vision that embraces synthetic organic chemistry, biophysics, molecular and cell biology and genomics 

Marco was awarded a BBSRC David Phillips Fellowship in December 2017 to join Imperial College Chemistry and start his own research group.



We have a 3-years funded Leverhulme PhD studentship in cellular bionics in collaboration with the Di Michele group "DNA phase-separation as a general mean of regulating gene-expression in hybrid cells". Please find more information and apply here.

Marco is always keen to hear from enthusiastic and bright students with a strong interest in his research programme. If you are interested to join my team send Marco an email with your CV and a Cover Letter.


Marco is eager to hear from outstanding researchers keen to apply for externally funded fellowships. If you would like to apply for postdoctoral fellowships and you are looking for a group to support you, please do get in touch with Marco sending a short Cover Letter and your CV. 


Hänsel-Hertsch R, Di Antonio M and Balasubramanian S. 2017, "DNA G-quadrupleex in the human genome: detection, functions and therapeutic potentia." Nat. Rev. Mol. Cell Biol. (18), 279. 

(DOI: 10.1038/nrm.2017.3)

Xu X, Di Antonio M et al. 2017, "CX-5461 is a DNA G-quadruplex stabilizer with selective lethality in BRCA1/2 deficient tumours" Nat. Commun. (8) 14432. 

(DOI: 10.1038/ncomms14432)

Hänsel-Hertsch R,  Beraldi D,  Lensing SV,  Marsico G, Zyner K, Parry A, Di Antonio M, Pike J, Kimura H, Narita M, Tannahill D, Balasubramanian S, 2016 " G-quadruplex structures mark human regulatory chromatin" Nat. Genet. (48), 1267. 

(DOI: 10.1038/ng.3662)

Chambers VS, Marsico G, Boutell JM, Di Antonio M, Smith GP, Balasubramanian S, 2015 "High-throughput sequencing of DNA G-quadruplex structures in the human genome" Nat. Biotech. (33), 877. 

(DOI: 10.1038/nbt.3295)

Di Antonio M, McLuckie KIE, Balasubramanian S, 2014 "Reprogramming the Mechanism of Action of Chlorambucil by Coupling to a G-Quadruplex Ligand" J. Am. Chemistry. Soc. (136) 5860.

(DOI: 10.1021/ja5014344)



Di Antonio M, Ponjavic A, Radzevičius A, et al., 2020, Single-molecule visualization of DNA G-quadruplex formation in live cells., Nature Chemistry, Vol:12, ISSN:1755-4330, Pages:832-837

Minard A, Morgan D, Raguseo F, et al., 2020, A short peptide that preferentially binds c-MYC G-quadruplex DNA, Chemical Communications, Vol:56, ISSN:1359-7345, Pages:8940-8943

Chung BYW, Balcerowicz M, Di Antonio M, et al., 2020, An RNA thermoswitch regulates daytime growth in Arabidopsis, Nature Plants, Vol:6, ISSN:2055-026X, Pages:522-+

Raguseo F, Chowdhury S, Minard A, et al., 2020, Chemical-biology approaches to probe DNA and RNA G-quadruplex structures in the genome, Chemical Communications, Vol:56, ISSN:1359-7345, Pages:1317-1324

Weber J, Bollepalli L, Belenguer AM, et al., 2019, An Activatable Cancer-Targeted Hydrogen Peroxide Probe for Photoacoustic and Fluorescence Imaging, Cancer Research, Vol:79, ISSN:0008-5472, Pages:5407-5417

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