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Wolfson Institute of Preventive Medicine (WIPM)

Molecular Epidemiology

The Molecular Epidemiology Laboratory (MEL) develops and evaluates tests and biomarkers for screening, diagnosis and prognosis of cancer.

Our team have a strong focus on the validation and dissemination of DNA methylation tests and mathematical classifiers. We have an excellent track record of research collaboration and numerous publications in high impact scientific journals.


Our main aim is to identify and develop optimised and cost-effective tests for the diagnosis of cancer and the prediction of outcomes in cancer patients. We adhere to good laboratory procedures and every process has exactly defined standard operating protocols. We have produced new biomarkers and advanced DNA tests. Recent successes include improved methods to manage women infected by papillomavirus and an alternative epigenetic approach for management of men with prostate cancer. 
Our classifier combining DNA methylation of HPV and human genes is a strong contender to triage women infected by carcinogenic HPV. A methylation classifier based on a novel small set of genes is prognostic of death from prostate cancer and may be especially useful for men with low risk disease. Research continues to expand the scope and accuracy of these new tests.

We are active in large screening evaluations and recently published a major study of 100,000 women in Mexico using the self-sampling approach. Going forward we have started studies in African HIV-infected women and are expanding HPV screening implementation efforts in Latin America. Looking ahead we see great opportunity in epigenomics and have moved into deep sequencing and bioinformatics.


Main ongoing projects include the following:

  • Predictors studies
  • TAPG
  • HARP

A full list with details can be found under Research Projects.


  • Carlos Alvarez - Scientific Officer
  • Cristiana Banila - PhD Student
  • Maia Goree - PhD Student
  • Dr Belinda Nedjai - Senior Research Fellow
  • Matthew Preece - Scientific Officer
  • Dr Caroline Reuter - Senior Scientific Officer
  • Leandro Rodrigues Santiago - Postdoctoral Research Asistant
  • Dr Dorota Scibior-Bentkowska - Scientific Officer