Miguel Branco

Group Leader

Miguel completed his PhD with Ana Pombo in 2007, working on the spatial organisation of the genome. He spent his postdoc years in the lab of Wolf Reik, studying the role of DNA modifications during early mouse development. He then became enamoured with transposable elements, and started his lab in 2013 to learn more about them. Miguel doesn’t handle a pipette very often these days, but he loves playing with R.

Jennifer Frost

Postdoctoral Research Fellow

Jenny studied human genomic imprinting during her PhD with Gudrun Moore and her postdoc with Rebecca Oakey. An intercontinental and organismal leap saw her investigate DNA demethylation in Arabidopsis, with Bob Fischer. She returned to the UK and humans in 2016, joining our lab to dissect the contribution of transposons to placenta-specific gene expression. Her work has been supported by a Marie Sklodowska-Curie fellowship.

Darren Taylor

PhD Student

Darren graduated from the University of Leeds in 2016, where he undertook research on m6A RNA methylation of a Herpesvirus. He also gained industrial experience at GSK and AstraZeneva, working on 3D liver models and the Influenza vaccine, respectively. He started his PhD in 2017, during which he has been developing a new approach for chromatin profiling of transposable elements. Darren is funded by BBSRC’s LIDo PhD programme.

Samuele Amante

Postdoctoral Research Assistant

Sam worked in Rebecca Oakey’s lab first as an undergraduate, then as a research assistant, and finally as a PhD student. During that time he worked on the regulation of imprinting, endocardial differentiation, and the role of intragenic CpG islands. He joined us after completing his studies in 2019. Sam is studying the evolution and roles of transposon-derived enhancers in the trophoblast of the Mus lineage.


Özgen Deniz was a postdoc from 2014 to 2020. Amongst other contributions, she uncovered TEs that gain enhancer activity in AML. She is now a group leader at Imperial College London.

Ekaterina Rozhavskaya started her PhD in our lab in 2016, working on the regulation of LINE-1 expression in cancer. She later decided to follow greener pastures, and is currently an R&D project manager at Atlas Oncology Diagnostics

Christopher Todd was the first PhD graduate from the lab (2014-2019). He used genetic and epigenetic editing to test the regulatory role of TEs in mouse embryonic and trophoblast stem cells. He is currently a postdoc in Wolf Reik’s lab.

Kevin Cheng was a research assistant from 2015 to 2018, who dissected the mechanism of LINE-1 regulation by vitamin C in mouse embryonic stem cells. His aptitude for computational work led him to a PhD position in Jüri Reimand’s lab, in Toronto.

Lorenzo de la Rica was the first member of the lab (2013-2016). During his postdoc he described how TET enzymes play a dual role in the regulation of LINE-1 expression in mouse embryonic stem cells. He is currently a grant manager at CRUK.

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