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Blizard Institute - Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry

Professor Silvia Marino, MD, FRCPath


Professor of Neuropathology

Centre: Centre for Genomics for Child Health

Telephone: +44 (0)20 7882 2585


Silvia Marino is the Director of the Brain Tumour Research Centre of Excellence, a partnership between QMUL and the charity Brain Tumour Research.

The focus of the Marino research group is on the biology of stem cells and progenitor cells, on the pathways and genes involved in control of their maintenance, proliferation and differentiation, in particular the Polycomb group genes. The group is currently investigating the role of deregulated epigenetic mechanisms in initiation and progression of brain tumours –medulloblastomas and glioblastomas- in experimental models and in human tumour samples.

Prof Marino is the lead of the Barts Brain Tumour Centre, a clinical research platform at QMUL/Barts Heath funded by Barts Charity to take basic science discoveries to the clinic more effectively with the aim of increasing the availability of experimental treatments to brain tumour patients. 

In her clinical role as a consultant neurolopathologist, she specialises in the neuropathological assessment of neuro-oncological surgical specimen and muscle biopsies.

Prof Marino is the Academic Training Programme Director for Pathology at Health Education England and the immediate past President of the British Neuro-Oncology Society (BNOS).



Silvia Marino is Professor of Neuropathology at Barts and The London School of Medicine and Dentistry, Queen Mary University of London and also Honorary Consultant Neuropathologist at Barts Health NHS Trust. After studying Medicine at the University of Turin in Italy, Professor Marino trained in Neuropathology and Histopathology at the University of Zurich in Switzerland. She trained in molecular genetics with Professor Anton Berns at The Netherlands Cancer Institute in Amsterdam as a Marie Curie Postdoctoral Fellow of the European Community studying the role of the tumour suppressor Rb and p53 in the pathogenesis of medulloblastoma in genetically engineered mouse models. She established her own laboratory research group in 2002 firstly at the Institute of Pathology, University of Zurich and then since 2006 at the Blizard Institute in London.

Group Members 
    • Ms. Rawinder Banwait (Laboratory Manager)
    • Dr. Xinyu Zhang (Senior Research Technician)
    • Dr. Claire Vinel (Postdoctoral Researcher)
    • Dr. Sara Badodi (Postdoctoral Researcher)
    • Dr. Nicola Pomella (Postdoctoral Researcher)
    • Dr. Weiwei Jin (Postdoctoral Researcher)
    • Dr. Alexandra Rose (Postdoctoral Researcher)
    • Dr. Thomas Millner (NIHR Clinical Lecturer)
    • Dr. Anam Anzak (NIHR Clinical Lecturer)





MSc Neuroscience and Translational Medicine

MSc Regenerative Medicine

MSc Molecular Pathology of Tumours (BCI)


PhD studentships

Prof Marino is pleased to consider applications from prospective PhD students.


Lab experience placements

Prof Marino is pleased to consider applications for prospective lab placements.




Research Interests:

We are a multidisciplinary research group composed of basic scientists and clinical researchers with the common aim to apply knowledge of basic stem cell biology to advance our understanding of brain tumours.

We study epigenetic mechanisms regulating the biology of normal and neoplastic stem cells, in particular we are investigating the role of deregulated self-renewal mechanisms in initiation and progression of brain tumours. 

Professor Marino leads a research programme in the epigenetic regulation of stem cell function during CNS development and brain tumour formation.

The group focuses on glioblastoma (GBM) and on medulloblastoma (MB), the most common malignant brain tumours in adults and children respectively. The aim of the research is to increase our understanding of the cells within the brain from which these tumours originate and to characterise key deregulated epigenetic mechanisms driving their growth.

In GBM, the team has established a novel experimental pipeline which allows for the first time to compare GBM stem cells to their normal counterpart -the neural stem cells- isolated from the same patient. The aim is to uncover patient-specific changes which will advance the clinical evaluation of each individual patient and lead to better and more specific drugs.

In MB, the Marino group is studying the role of chromatin modifiers, such as the Polycomb group (PcG) genes, in the development of the tumour and how these genes can be targeted therapeutically in the tumour cells without affecting the normal cells at a crucial stage of brain development in children.

Current projects in the lab are funded by Brain Tumour Research, Cancer Research UK, Barts Charity and NIHR.



Key Publications

Microglia promote glioblastoma via mTOR-mediated immunosuppression of the tumour microenvironment. A A Dumas, N Pomella, G Rosser, L Guglielmi, C Vinel, T O Millner, J Rees, N Aley, D Sheer, J Wei, A Marisetty, A B Heimberger, R L Bowman, S Brandner, J A Joyce, S Marino. EMBO J. 2020 Aug 3;39(15):e103790. doi: 10.15252/embj.2019103790. Epub 2020 Jun 22

A Patient-Derived Cell Atlas Informs Precision Targeting of Glioblastoma. P Johansson, C Krona, S Kundu, M Doroszko, S Baskaran, L Schmidt, C Vinel, E Almstedt, R Elgendy, L Elfineh, C Gallant, S Lundsten, FJ Ferrer Gago, A Hakkarainen, P Sipilä, M Häggblad, U Martens, B Lundgren, MM Frigault, DP Lane, FJ Swartling, L Uhrbom, M Nestor, S Marino, S Nelander. Cell Rep. 2020 Jul 14;32(2):107897. doi: 10.1016/j.celrep.2020.107897.

Polycomb-mediated repression of EphrinA5 promotes growth and invasion of glioblastoma. B Ricci, TO Millner, N Pomella, X Zhang, L Guglielmi, S Badodi, D Ceric, C Gemma, E Cognolato, Y Zhang, S Brandner, MR Barnes, S Marino. Oncogene. 2020 Jan 27. doi: 10.1038/s41388-020-1161-3. [Epub ahead of print]

Convergence of BMI1 and CHD7 on ERK signalling in medulloblastoma. S Badodi, A Dubuc, X Zhang, G Rosser, M Da Cunha Jaeger, M M Kameda-Smith, A S Morrissy, P Guilhamon, P Suetterlin, XN Li, L Guglielmi, A Merve, H Farooq, M Lupien, S K Singh, M A Basson, M D Taylor and S Marino. Cell Reports Dec 5;21(10):2772-2784. doi: 10.1016/j.celrep.2017.11.021

TAp73 is a marker of glutamine addiction in medulloblastoma. MV Niklison-Chirou, I Erngren, M Engskog, J Haglöf, D Picard, M Remke, P H R McPolin, M Selby, D Williamson, S C Clifford, D Michod, M Hadjiandreou, T Arvidsson, C Pettersson, G Melino and S Marino. Genes & Development, 2017 Sep 1;31(17):1738-1753. doi: 10.1101/gad.302349.117. Epub 2017 Sep 26.
This paper was accompanied by an Outlook article in Genes & Development.

All Publications


James Boot, PhD Student

Myrianni Constantinou, PhD Student

Pratistha Panday, PhD Student

Sara Lucchini, PhD Student