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Blizard Institute - Barts and The London

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 together with UCL Institute of Neurology 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.

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 Lead of the NIHR Integrated Academic Clinical Training Programme at QMUL/BH. She is the current President of the British Neuro-Oncology Society (BNOS).

Further information

  • President of the British Neuro-Oncology Society (BNOS).
  • Chair of the academic committee of the British Neuropathology Society (BNS).
  • Member of the NCRI Clinical Studies Group in Brain Tumours
  • Member of the academic committee of the European Association of Neuro-Oncology
  • Member of the Editorial Board Neuropathology and Applied Neurobiology
  • Organizer of the Glioma Club since 2010


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 
Peter Hall, Academic Research Fellow
Dr Maria Niklison-Chirou, Postdoctoral Research Fellow
Dr Sarah Badodi, Postdoctoral Research Fellow
Dr Claire Vinel, Postdoctoral Research Fellow
Dr Gabriel Rosser, Postdoctoral Research Assistant
Dr Veronica Freire, Postdoctoral Research Assistant
Dr Nicola Pomella, Postdoctoral Research Assistant
Dr Ana Moraga, Postdoctoral Research Assistant
Xinyu Zhang, Research Technician




MSc Neuroscience and Translational Medicine

MSc Regenerative Medicine

MSc Molecular Pathology of Tumours (BCI)


Prof Marino is the lead for the NIHR Integrated Academic Clinical Training at QMUL

PhD studentships

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

Professional development

Lab experience placements

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



Research Interests:

Professor Marino leads a research programme in the epigenetic regulation of stem cell function during CNS development and brain tumour formation. In particular, she is investigating the role of deregulated self-renewal mechanisms in initiation and progression of brain tumours.

In the context of the Brain Tumour Research Centre of Excellence, the group focuses on glioblastoma multiforme (GBM), the most common and most aggressive malignant brain tumour of adulhood. The aim of the research is to increase our understanding of the cells within the brain from which GBM originates. The team will look at how this particular type of brain tumour develops from normal cells, and which genes and biological functions control its behaviour. By uncovering this essential knowledge, the clinical evaluation of each individual patient can be improved and better and more specific drugs which target the tumour cells can be identified.

In MRC-funded studies, the Marino group is studying the role of chromatin regulation, particularly through the Polycomb group (PcG) genes, in the development of medulloblastoma, the most common malignant brain tumour in children.

Finally, Prof Marino is interested in assessing how fine tuning of the expression of chromatin modifiers, such as the PcG genes, can be exploited to enhance the regenerative function of stem cells in developmental and adult diseases.

Current projects in the lab are funded by Brain Tumour Research, MRC, Barts and The London Charity and NIHR.



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
TAp73 is a marker of glutamine addiction in medulloblastoma
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

S Dibenedetto, M Niklison-Chirou, CP Cabrera, M Ellis, LG Robson, P Knopp, FS Tedesco, M Ragazzi, V Di Foggia, MR Barnes, A Radunovic, S Marino.
Enhanced Energetic State and Protection from Oxidative Stress in Human Myoblasts Overexpressing BMI1.
Stem Cell Reports. 2017 Aug 8;9(2):528-542. doi: 10.1016/j.stemcr.2017.06.009. Epub 2017 Jul 20.

WJ Dawes, X Zhang, SP Fancy, D Rowitch, S Marino.
Moderate-Grade Germinal Matrix Haemorrhage Activates Cell Division in the Neonatal Mouse Subventricular Zone.
Dev Neurosci. 2017 Mar 25. doi: 10.1159/000455839. [Epub ahead of print]

D Guillotin, P Austin, R Begum, MO Freitas, A Merve, T Brend, SC Short, S Marino, SA Martin.
Drug-repositioning screens identify Triamterene as a selective drug for the treatment of DNA Mismatch Repair deficient cells.
Clin Cancer Res. 2016 Dec 2. pii: clincanres.1216.2016. [Epub ahead of print]

SA Papadimitriou, MP Robin, D Ceric, RK O'Reilly, S Marino, M Resmini.
Fluorescent polymeric nanovehicles for neural stem cell modulation.
Nanoscale. 2016 Oct 6;8(39):17340-17349.

SM Blake, SH Stricker, H Halavach, AR Poetsch, G Cresswell, G Kelly, N Kanu, S Marino, NM Luscombe, SM Pollard, A Behrens.
Inactivation of the ATMIN/ATM pathway protects against glioblastoma formation.
Elife 2016 Mar 17;5. pii: e08711. doi: 10.7554/eLife.08711.

V Di Foggia, X Zhang, D Licastro, M F M Gerli, R Phadke, F Muntoni, P Mourikis, S Tajbakhsh, M Ellis, L C Greaves, R W Taylor, G Cossu, L G Robson and S Marino
Bmi1 enhances skeletal muscle regeneration through MT1 mediated oxidative stress protection in a mouse model of dystrophinopathy.
J Exp Med. 2014 Dec 15;211(13):2617-33

A Merve, AM Dubuc, X Zhang, M Remke, PA Baxter, XN Li, MD Taylor, S Marino
Polycomb group gene BMI1 controls invasion of medulloblastoma cells and inhibits BMP-regulated cell adhesion.
Acta Neuropathol Commun. 2014 Jan 24;2(1):10. doi: 10.1186/2051-5960-2-10.

S Acquati, A Greco, D Licastro, H Bhagat, D Ceric, Z Rossini, J Grieve, M Shaked-Rabi, N V Henriquez, S Brandner, E Stupka and S Marino.
Epigenetic regulation of Survivin by Bmi1 is cell type specific during corticogenesis and in gliomas.
Stem Cells 2013 Jan 31(1):190-202

H Behesti, H Bhagat, A Dubuc, M Taylor and S Marino.
Bmi1 overexpression in the cerebellar granule cell lineage affects cell proliferation and survival without initiating medulloblastoma formation.
Dis Model Mech 2013 Jan;6(1):49-63

LG Robson, V Di Foggia, A Radunovic, K Bird, X Zhang and S Marino.
Bmi1 is expressed in postnatal myogenic satellite cells, controls their maintenance and plays an essential role in repeated muscle regeneration.
PLoS One. 2011;6(11):e27116. Epub 2011 Nov 9.

DD Ateh, VH Leinster, SR Lambert, A Shah, A Khan, HJ Walklin, JV Johnstone, NI Ibrahim, MM Kadam, Z Malik, M Gironès, GJ Veldhuis, G Warnes, S Marino, IA McNeish, JE Martin.
The intracellular uptake of CD95 modified paclitaxel-loaded poly(lactic-co-glycolic acid) microparticles.
Biomaterials. 2011 Nov;32(33):8538-47. Epub 2011 Aug 6.

X. Zhang, A. Santuccione, C. Leung and S. Marino.
Differentiation of postnatal cerebellar glial progenitors is controlled by Bmi1 through BMP pathway inhibition.
Glia. 2011 Jul;59(7):1118-31. doi: 10.1002/glia.21184. Epub 2011 May 4

G. Yadirgi, V. Leinster, S. Acquati, H. Bhagat, O. Shakhova and S. Marino.
Conditional activation of Bmi1 expression regulates self-renewal, apoptosis and differentiation of neural stem/progenitor cells in vitro and in vivo.
Stem Cells. 2011 Apr 29(4):700-12

T. Subkhankulova, X. Zhang, C. Leung and S. Marino.
Bmi1 directly represses p21Waf1/Cip1 in Shh-induced proliferation of cerebellar granule cell progenitors.
Mol Cell Neurosci. 2010 Oct;45(2):151-62. Epub 2010 Jun 20.

R. Sutter, O. Shakhova, C. Sutter, S. Penkar, H. Bhagat, A. Santuccione, R. Bernays, F. L. Heppner, U. Schüller, M. Grotzer, H. Moch, P. Schraml and S. Marino.
Cerebellar stem cells act as medulloblastoma initiating cells in a mouse model and a neural stem cell signature characterises a subset of human medulloblastoma.
Oncogene 2010 Mar 25;29(12):1845-56.

O. Shakhova, C. Leung, E. van Montfort, A. Berns and S. Marino.
Lack of Rb and p53 delays cerebellar development and predisposes to large cell anaplastic medulloblastzomas through amplification of N-Myc and Ptc2.
Cancer Research 2006; 66 5190-5200

S. Bruggeman, M. Lingbeek, P. van der Stoop, J. Jacobs, K. Kieboom, E. Tanger, D. Hulsman, C. Leung, S. Marino and M. van Lohuizen.
Ink4a and Arf differentially affect cell proliferation and neural stem cell self-renewal in Bmi1 deficient mice.
Genes & Development 2005; 19:1438-1443

C. Leung, M. Lingbeek, O. Shakhova, J. Liu, E. Tanger, P. Saremaslani, M. van Lohuizen, S. Marino.
Bmi1 is essential for cerebellar development and is overexpressed in human medulloblastomas
Nature 2004; 428(6980):337-41


Dr Thomas Millner, Clinical Research Fellow/PhD Student
James Boot, PhD Student
Anaelle Dumas, PhD Student
Myrianni Constantinou, PhD Student