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Personal profile

Research interests


Dr Maria Victoria Niklison Chirou obtained her PhD from Tucuman University in Argentina in 2009. She worked in the laboratory of Professor Roberto Morero studying the role of microcin J25 in inducing oxidative stress. Maria then joined the laboratory of Professor Gerry Melino at the MRC Toxicology Unit in Leicester, as a postdoctoral fellow to work on understanding the role of the p53-family in inducing metabolic changes in normal cells and reprograming in cancer.

In 2014, she won a prestigious fellowship from Children with Cancer UK to work in metabolic adaptation of medulloblastoma tumours. Therefore, she move to London and started as a research fellow in the Blizard Institute, Queen Mary University of London. She recently published, a ground-breaking research in the high impact journal Genes & Development. She identified the p53-family member, p73, as a crucial factor causing “glutamine addiction” in aggressive medulloblastoma. In 2019 she won the BNOS Young Investigator Award.

Maria joined University of Bath in 2020 as a Lecturer in Cell and Molecular Biology. Since 2019, she is part of the Editorial Bord of the journal Cell Death and Discovery (Impact Factor: 4.11).

Research Summary:

Her current research focuses on the development of novel drugs for the treatment of childhood brain tumours. Dr Niklison currently works on medulloblastoma, a paediatric brain tumour and a major cause of mortality in children. She works to understand the chemical reactions that allow tumours to grow, trying to ascertain how the metabolism of medulloblastoma is regulated, and whether and how these tumours could be starved of essential components in order to strengthen the effect of chemotherapy given to patients. These tumours are malignant and patients have to undergo aggressive treatments leaving survivors with severe side effects. Hence, more targeted and less toxic therapies are vitally needed to improve the quality of life for patients.


Lab members:


Jasmin Kimya Farshchi (ERASMUS visiting student)


Willing to supervise doctoral students

I welcome motivated PhD students with a biological or science background who are interested in cancer metabolism, ongogene regulation and metastais. I am very interested to hear from international students who have identified competitive sources of funding for which we might apply together.

Education/Academic qualification

Doctor of Philosophy, Universidad Nacional de Tucumán

1 Jan 20051 May 2009

Award Date: 1 May 2009

Master of Biochemistry

1 Mar 19981 Dec 2004

Award Date: 1 Dec 2004

External positions

Research Fellow, Queen Mary University, London

1 Sep 201428 May 2020

Postdoctoral Research, Medical Research Council

1 Jul 200915 Aug 2014


  • p53-family
  • Metabolism
  • Oncogene
  • lipid metabolism
  • medulloblastoma
  • Cancer


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