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Blizard Institute - Barts and The London

Professor Dean Nizetic, MD, PhD


Professor of Cellular and Molecular Biology

Centre: Centre for Genomics and Child Health

Telephone: 020 7882 2275


Professor Dean Nizetic was born in Split , Croatia in 1959. He obtained his M.D. at the Faculty of Medicine, University of Zagreb , Croatia , in 1982. He performed the experimental work used for his PhD thesis in Molecular Biology at the Max-Planck-Institute for Biology in Tuebingen , Germany. He was a postdoc at the ICRF Genome Analysis Department in London (1987-1994). From 1994, he is an independent research group leader at Centre for Applied Molecular Biology, School of Pharmacy , University of London (today UCL) where he becomes a Reader in 2000. From July 2001, he obtained a Chair in Cellular and Molecular Biology at Barts and The London School of Medicine, Queen Mary, University of London and from February 2014, reduced his engagement to part-time, as he started in the position of Professor of Molecular Medicine at Lee Kong Chian School of Medicine, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore.


Professor Nizetic has made significant contributions to stem cell biology, ageing-related disease-modelling and cancer by his research into Down's Syndrome (DS). He is one of the leading researchers and opinion-makers in molecular research into DS, in particular its relation to stem cell ageing and cancer (Nature Rev. Cancer 2012, Nature Comm., 2014. Stem Cells 2015, Nature Rev Neuroscience, In press, 2015).


  • Graduate School Programme in Genetics (Lecture on “Genetic Basis of Disease”), January 2004, January 2005, January 2006, 2007-2009.
  • Undergraduate Teaching - PPD/CPT/PATHOLOGY COURSE Lecture on “Single Gene Disorders”, March 17th, 2006, March 9th 2007, February 21st, 2008, February 19th 2009, December 2010-2014
  • MSc in Paediatric Oncology. “Childhood tumours in Down syndrome”, March 7th, 2007.
  • FUN-MED LECTURE on “Chromosomal Genetics”, 2010, 2011
  • Problem based learning (6-10 sessions per year, 2001-2012)
  • Student project supervision

SSC2A (Research SSC) supervised eight student projects (2009-2012

 Supervised the Intercalated BmedSci project student Amelia E.Fisher, Jan-Jun 2010. Project won an award for the best project and was selected for oral presentation at the “Intercalators Conference”.

Supervising 3 more Intercalated BmedSci project students (2011-2012).


Research Interests:

Several results by Professor Nizetic’s group have produced paradigm shifts in the definition of key pathogenic molecules and therapeutic targets in DS -associated childhood leukaemia, (Lancet 2003, BJH 2004, Blood 2005, Oncogene 2010, Blood 2013, Nature Comm 2014). His team also discovered the earliest molecular changes of DS in embryonic stem cells causing the deregulation embryonic stem cell fate (Am J Hum Genet 2008, Mol Cell Proteomics 2009). This work attracted media-attention including Press, live TV and Radio interviews, and support from the UK National DS Association (see ). His team has recently generated an isogenic induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC) model of DS (Stem Cells 2015) from skin cells of a person with mosaic DS, and is currently modelling DS-associated phenotypes using this and other cellular systems. Professor Nizetic coordinated a work package on embryonic stem cell modelling within the €12 million EU-FP6-Integrated Project "AnEUploidy” and on human iPSC modelling within The Wellcome Trust (UK) Strategic Funding Award winning “LonDownS Consortium”. He is a Pre-clinical Committee and Advisory Board Member of the International “Trisomy 21 Research Society”.



Research Group in the Blizard Institute:

Dr Niamh O'Brien, Postdoctoral Research Assistant

Research members at Lee Kong Chian School of Medicine, NTU, Singapore:

Dr Li Pin - Stem Cell Lab ManagerDr Aoife Murray - Postdoctoral Research Fellow

Dr Xiaowei Shao - Postdoctoral Research Fellow


    1.   Aoife Murray, Audrey Letourneau, Claudia Canzonetta, Elisavet Stathaki, Stefania Gimelli, Frederique Sloan-Bena, Robert Abrehart, Pollyanna Goh, Shuhui Lim, Chiara Baldo, Franca Dagna-Bricarelli, Saad Hannan, Martin Mortensen, David Ballard, Denise Syndercombe Court, Noemi Fusaki, Mamoru Hasegawa, Trevor G. Smart, Cleo Bishop, Stylianos E. Antonarakis, Jürgen Groet*, and Dean Nizetic*

*co-corresponding, shared senior authors

Isogenic induced pluripotent stem cell lines from an adult with mosaic Down Syndrome model accelerated neuronal ageing and neurodegeneration.

Stem Cells, In Press 2015 Feb 19. doi: 10.1002/stem.1968. [Epub ahead of print] PMID: 25694335

[ Video about the article published on the Front Page of the Stem Cells journal website]

  1. Frances K. Wiseman, Elizabeth M.C. Fisher, Tamara Al-Janabi, John Hardy, Annette Karmiloff-Smith, Dean Nizetic, Victor L.J. Tybulewicz, André Strydom

A genetic cause of Alzheimer disease: mechanistic insights from Down syndrome.

Nature Reviews Neuroscience, In Press, 2015

  1. Sergey I Nikolaev, Marco Garieri, Federico Santoni, Emilie Falconnet, Pascale Ribaux, Michel Guipponi, Aoife Murray, Jürgen Groet, Emanuela Giarin, Giuseppe Basso, Dean Nizetic* and Stylianos E Antonarakis*

*co-corresponding, shared senior authors

Frequent cases of RAS-mutated Down syndrome acute lymphoblastic leukaemia lack JAK2 mutations.

Nature Communications 5, Article number: 4654 doi:10.1038/ncomms5654, 8 August 2014.

“Sniffing out clues in Down syndrome”

  Dean Nizetic and Jurgen Groet;

Tumorigenesis in Down’s syndrome: big lessons from a small chromosome.

Nature Reviews Cancer, October; 12(10):721-732 (2012).

PMID: 22996602

Given a public interview on this subject for the free web series Faculti Media (see

  1. Serena De Vita, Claudia Canzonetta, Claire Mulligan, Frederic Delom, Jurgen Groet, Chiara Baldo, Lesley Vanes, Franca Dagna-Bricarelli, Alex Hoischen, Joris Veltman, Elizabeth M. C. Fisher, Victor L.J. Tybulewicz and Dean Nizetic

Trisomic dose of several chromosome 21 genes perturbs haematopoietic stem and progenitor cell differentiation in Down Syndrome.

Oncogene Nov 18;29(46):6102-14 (2010).

Highlighted in an Oncogene Editorial: “Trisomy 21 leukemias: Finding the hits that matter” Oncogene (2010) 29, 6099–6101.

  1. Claudia Canzonetta, Claire Mulligan, Samuel Deutsch, Sandra Ruf, Aideen O’Doherty, Robert Lyle, Christelle Borel, Nathalie Lin-Marq, Frederic Delom, Jürgen Groet, Felix Schnappauf, Serena De Vita, Sharon Averill, John V. Priestley, Joanne E Martin, Janet Shipley, Gareth Denyer, Charles J. Epstein, Cristina Fillat, Xavier Estivill, Victor L. J. Tybulewicz, Elizabeth M. Fisher, Stylianos E. Antonarakis & Dean Nizetic

DYRK1A dosage imbalance perturbs NRSF/REST levels de-regulating pluripotency and embryonic stem cell fate in Down syndrome.

American Journal of Human Genetics Volume 83(3), 388-400, (2008).

Multiple interviews and articles in the media, see

  1. Jürgen Groet, Claire Mulligan, Monica Spinelli, Anna Serra, Suzanne McElwaine, Finbarr E. Cotter, Franca Dagna-Bricarelli, Giuseppe Saglio, Giuseppe Basso and Dean Nizetic.

Independent clones at separable stages of differentiation, bearing different GATA1 mutations in the same TMD patient with Down Syndrome.

Blood, 106(5):1887-1888 (2005).

  1. Jürgen Groet, Suzanne McElwaine, Monica Spinelli, Andrea Rinaldi, Ingo Burtscher, Claire Mulligan, Afua Mensah, Simona Cavani, Franca Dagna-Bricarelli, Giuseppe Basso, Finbarr E Cotter, Dean Nizetic;

Acquired mutations in GATA1 in neonates with Down syndrome with Transient Myeloid Disorder.

Lancet, 361:1617-1620 (2003).

View all Dean Nizetic's Research Publications at: