Dr Erica di Martino

Dr Erica di Martino


I am a biologist (BSc Biological Sciences, University of Cagliari, Italy, 1999) with a particular interest in medical genetics (MSc Medical Molecular Genetics, University of Aberdeen, 2001). I have moved to Leeds in 2001 to undertake a PhD on the molecular changes associated with oesophagal cancer, under the supervision of Professor Chris Wild and Dr Laura Hardie. I discovered that the expression of two insulin growth factor binding proteins, IGFBP-3 and IGFBP-10, is altered during progression from a preneoplastic condition, Barrett's oesophagus, to oesophagal adenocarcinoma and that this change may have a scope as an early marker of cancer risk.

After completing my PhD, I joined Professor Knowles’s group, in the Leeds Institute of Cancer and Pathology, as Postdoctoral Research Fellow investigating the role of Fibroblast Growth Factor Receptors (FGFRs) in the development of bladder cancer. I was awarded a three-year Yorkshire Cancer Research Project Award in 2012 to investigate the role of transcription factors of the ETS-family as effectors of FGFRs signalling in bladder cancer. Overall, my research has detailed the cellular signalling and phenotypic consequences of common activating mutations of FGFR3 found in bladder tumours and identified key downstream effectors of FGFR3 signalling, which could be used as prognostic or diagnostic markers, or as therapeutic targets in the clinical management of bladder cancer.

In September 2018 I moved to Prof. Neal's group, within the Academic Unit of Primary Care, and I am working as part of a Cancer Research UK international collaborative programme (https://www.cantest.org/) aimed at shortening cancer diagnostic times by developing and implementing new and improved cancer diagnostic tests into GP surgeries.

Research interests

My research is focused on understanding the molecular changes occurring whilst normal cells become malignant, and using this information to improve cancer diagnosis and develop novel therapies.


  • PhD Molecular Oncology, Leeds, 2005
  • MSc Medical Molecular Genetics, Aberdeen, 2001
  • BSc Biological Sciences, Cagliari (Italy), 1999

Professional memberships

  • FHEA

Student education

Small-group teaching for 1st year of MBChB

Research groups and institutes

  • Leeds Institute of Health Sciences