Dr Georgia Mavria


I am the head of the Signal Transduction and Tumour Microenvironment Group. We are studying the role of microenviromental signalling in tumour progression and resistance to therapies. Prior to joining the University of Leeds, I trained at the National Institute of Medical Research (now part of the Francis Crick Institute) and the Institute of Cancer Research, London (1997-2009). I joined the University of Leeds as a Translational Research Fellow in 2009 and was tenured in 2015.

Our research aims to identify signalling pathways driven by the microenvironment that promote tumour progression and understanding the contribution of specific niches to tumour resistance to therapy and recurrence. We have a strong focus on the role of the brain tumour perivascular niche, and ongoing interest in key cellular and molecular mechanisms of angiogenesis.


  • Head of the Signal Transduction and Tumour Microenvironment Group
  • Organiser of the Leeds Institute of Medical Research at St James's Seminar Series
  • Member of the Leeds Breast Cancer Tissue Bank Tissue Access Committee

Research interests

Research  in my lab focuses on

  • Understanding the mechanisms of blood vessel formation in glioblastoma and interaction with cancer stem cells during therapy and recurrence
  • Investigating the spread of breast cancer cells to the brain via the vasculature
  • The DOCK4 signalling pathway in the tumour microenvironment and tumour invasion
  • Development of inhibitors to disrupt DOCK4 mediated protein-protein interactions and Rac1 signalling

We use a range of organotypic assays, genetic deletion approaches and mouse models of human cancer combined with state-of-the-art mass spectrometry and biochemical techniques to investigate key signalling pathways in angiogenesis and metastasis. We work closely with colleagues at the Leeds Institute of Cardiovascular and Metabolic Medicine and the Astbury Centre of Structural and Molecular Biology.

Work from my team delineated a novel signalling pathway downstream of VEGF that controls filopodial protrusions and blood vessel lumen formation. The Rac1 guanine nucleotide exchange factor DOCK4 is a key component of this signalling pathway and mediates its effects through interaction with the Cdc42 regulator DOCK9. In addition to blood vessel formation DOCK4 controls breast cancer cell migration and the process of breast cancer brain metastasis. DOCK4 is a potential biomarker for risk of bone metastasis in patients with early breast cancer.

For more details on our research see link





  • PhD
  • BSc (Hons)

Professional memberships

  • European Neuro-oncology society
  • British Society for Cardiovascular Research
  • British Association and for Cancer Research
  • European Association for Cancer Research
  • North American Vascular Biology Organization
  • Biochemical Society

Student education

I deliver undergraduate and MSc lectures and tutorials some of which are focused on cancer angiogenesis. I supervise project work both at undergraduate and postgraduate levels. I act as Cancer Biology Examiner for the First FRCR Examination Board (Royal College of Radiologists), and lecture at the first FRCR Clinical and Medical Oncology Basic Sciences Course.

Research groups and institutes

  • Leeds Institute of Medical Research at St James's
  • Brain Cancer Research Group
  • Breast Cancer Research Group
<h4>Postgraduate research opportunities</h4> <p>We welcome enquiries from motivated and qualified applicants from all around the world who are interested in PhD study. Our <a href="https://phd.leeds.ac.uk">research opportunities</a> allow you to search for projects and scholarships.</p>
    <li><a href="//phd.leeds.ac.uk/project/1502-limr-cancer-biology:-the-role-of-wnt-signalling-in-glioblastoma-therapeutic-resistance">LIMR Cancer Biology: The role of Wnt signalling in glioblastoma therapeutic resistance</a></li> <li><a href="//phd.leeds.ac.uk/project/1486-limr-cancer:-characterization-of-egfr-signaling-activated-by-the-endothelium-in-the-process-of-breast-cancer-metastasis-to-the-brain">LIMR Cancer: Characterization of EGFR signaling activated by the endothelium in the process of breast cancer metastasis to the brain</a></li>