Dr Cristina Tufarelli

Cristina's Photograph

Leicester Cancer Research Centre
Department of Genetics and Genome Biology
Room 504C, Level 5, Robert Kilpatrick Clinical Sciences Building
Leicester Royal Infirmary
Leicester LE2 7LX

Tel: +44 (0) 116 223 1853

Email: Cristina.Tufarelli@le.ac.uk

Current Position

Wellcome Trust Research Career Re-entry Fellow

Awards/Positions of Esteem

2020-2025 - Genetics Society Committee Member (Gene Structure, Function and Regulation)
2017-2018 – Lay Chair HSS equivalence assessment panel, Academy of Healthcare Science (AHCS)

Invited oral presentations

  • May 2018 – Epigenetics Symposium, UCL Genetics Institute, London
  • Feb 2018 – External Speaker –Institute of Genetics and Biophysics, National Research Council (CNR) in Naples
  • Apr 2015 – London Epigenomics Club - Blizard Institute, QMUL, London

Professional Registrations

  • Genetics Society
  • British Association for Cancer Research
  • European Association for Cancer Research
  • Epigenetics Society
  • Associate Fellow of the Higher Education Academy

Research Interests

Our research aims to understand the role of repetitive DNA in driving epigenetic and transcriptional alterations that predispose cells to acquire cancerous characteristics and to establish the potential for exploiting this information in the clinic.

We currently focus on:

  1. Determine which repetitive elements are active in precancerous and cancerous cells
  2. Understanding what causes activation of repetitive elements
  3. Establish activation of which repetitive elements plays functional roles in cancer
  4. Investigate whether expression of these elements has potential for early detection of cancer or as a predictor of response to therapy

To achieve these goals, we use a combination of ‘omics’, genome editing and pharmacological approaches in cell cultures and primary tissues.


  • Prof J. Hughes and Prof D. Higgs, MRC-MHU, WIMM, Oxford
  • Prof R. Khan and Mr J. N. Lund, School of Medicine, University of Nottingham
  • Prof R. Meehan, MRC-HGU, Edinburgh
  • Dr V. Sottile, Dept Molecular Medicine, University of Pavia, Pavia


I graduated in Molecular Biology from the University of Rome ‘La Sapienza’ and then spent four years in the lab of Prof Ellis J. Neufeld in the Department of Pediatrics, Harvard Medical School. After completing a DPhil in molecular medicine in the lab of Prof Doug Higgs at the Weatherall Institute of Molecular Medicine, I moved to the Department of Genetics, University of Leicester, with a Royal Society Dorothy Hodgkin Research Fellowship and then took up a lectureship in the School of Medicine, University of Nottingham. Following a career break, thanks to the award of a Wellcome Trust Research Career Re-entry Fellowship, I have returned to research within the Leicester Cancer Research Centre.

Link to personal pubmed profile:


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Powerful pre-clinical platform for anti-cancer drug and biomarker discovery

Pre-clinical models that can accurately predict outcomes in the clinic are much sort after in the field of cancer drug discovery and development.  Read about how patient derived explants offer many advantages and are the powerful model of choice. A copy of the review, published in the British Journal of Cancer, is available by clicking this link: PDE Platform


SEND Study Success

Congratulations to Chris Avery, who with collaborating colleagues published findings of the SEND study, a multi-centre randomised trial using two different surgical protocols for mouth cancer treatment.  A nationwide first for this type of trial, using real-world data.  The paper, published in the British Journal of Cancer, is available by clicking this link: SEND Paper


Centre Health and Wellbeing Group
Join up for a walk on the park Friday lunchtime - details here.

More information from Jenny McNair jm65@le.ac.uk

Contact Details

Leicester Cancer Research Centre
Robert Kilpatrick Clinical Sciences Building
University of Leicester
Leicester Royal Infirmary
Leicester LE2 7LX

T: +44 (0) 116 252 3170
E: cancerstudies@le.ac.uk

(Please note this email address should not be used for clinical referrals or patient correspondence)

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