Personal profile


Paul obtained a BSc in Biochemistry from Newcastle University in 1999 before completing a PhD at the Cancer Research Unit at the same Institution.  His PhD studies focused on the characterisation of novel post-translational modifications of the p53 tumour suppressor protein.  Such studies have been a common theme in Paul’s postdoctoral research, including 3.5 years at the MRC Protein Phosphorylation Unit (University of Dundee), before returning to Newcastle University in 2006. 


Since 2006, research interests have included studies to define the genotoxic mechanism of sulphur mustard (a chemical warfare agent), studies to investigate potential adverse effects associated with medical radiation (e.g. X-rays that can cause DNA damage), as well as the identification and characterisation of post-translational modifications in DNA damage response proteins.  Paul has published regularly in peer-reviewed journals and obtained independent grant income to pursue his research interests.  Alongside his research, Paul also lectured in the areas of ‘Cell Death’, ‘Genotoxicology’ and ‘Genotoxicology & Carcinogenesis’.


Paul joined Northumbria in May 2020 as a Senior Lecturer in Cellular and Molecular Sciences. 

Research interests

Our cells are constantly exposed to endogenous and exogenous agents that can damage our genetic material (DNA) and cause mutations (potentially leading to cancer).  In addition, the normal cellular processes of DNA replication and mitosis pose a risk to genomic stability during each cell division, for example due to DNA polymerase errors and/or incorrect segregation of sister chromatids.  To protect our DNA, cells have evolved complex protein signalling pathways that control DNA repair and cell cycle regulation.  Our research aims to:


1) Characterise novel regulatory mechanisms that help to maintain genomic stability.  Current studies involve functional characterisation of novel post translational modifications that we have identified in the microcephalin-1 (MCPH1) tumour suppressor protein


2) Investigate cellular/cytogenetic changes induced by DNA damage that could contribute to disease.  Current studies focus on amplification of the c-MYC oncogene after exposure of cells to ionising radiation (X-rays).


3) Identify novel genetic factors and gene-environment interactions that might increase susceptibility to DNA damage and cancer.  Current studies focus on the impact of certain environmental factors on cells carrying a mutation in the BRCA1 or BRCA2 breast cancer susceptibility genes.


Such knowledge is essential to understand normal cellular function, understand disease mechanisms and identify potential novel targets for therapeutic intervention.

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being

Education/Academic qualification

Biochemistry, PhD

3 Dec 200331 Dec 2099

Award Date: 3 Dec 2003


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