Marilena Elpidorou

Marilena Elpidorou


In 2014, I graduated from UCL with a BSc (Hons) in Biomedical Sciences, specialising in genetics and neuroscience. Following that, I joined Dr Taanman's research team in London Royal Free Hospital (UCL Medical School) working as a Research Assistant for a year. In 2015, I was awarded a scholarship to pursue a PhD project in "Gene discovery and cellular modelling in neurodevelopmental disorders" at the University of Leeds, supervised by Prof Colin Johnson, Prof Eamonn Sheridan and Dr James Poulter. During my PhD, I gained expertise in NGS technologies, bioinformatics analysis and the use of various omics techniques to understand a pathomechanism in disease. In 2018, I joined Dr Lucy Stead's group as a post-doctoral research fellow working on investigating the origins of a treatment resistance mechanism in Glioblastoma multiforme using transcriptomics. I am currently working alongside Dr Paolo Actis on a pioneering nanobiopsy platform that is able to sample cytoplasmic fractions from cells without killing them, giving us the advantage to capture any transcriptional changes occurring through treatment using optimised scRNA sequencing protocols.

Research interests

My main research interest is in understanding disease mechanisms, mainly in the brain, by using omics technologies and data analysis. For my PhD work, I used genomics to discovery novel disease genes associated with neurodevelopmental conditions and then used proteomics experiments (BioID) to understand more about the interacting network of our protein of interest. Loss of certain interactions, upon modelling a mutation, gave us insights into the pathomechism involved in a particular disorder. I consider functional genomics a key tool helping researchers understand genetic diseases; even the complex ones like cancer!

With my current work on brain cancer I am exploring new avenues of the omics technologies; particularly transcriptomics at a single cell level and subcellular fractions. Glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) is an incurable brain cancer because, despite aggressive standard treatment (consisting of surgery, radiation and Temozolomide chemotherapy), 100% of tumours recur. However, it is not yet known whether the inevitable recurrence of GBM is owing to Darwinian selection of inherently treatment resistant cells within the primary tumour, or the ability of cells to transcriptional reprogram and acquire treatment resistance properties. My aim is to identify if transcriptional reprogramming occurs upon treatment by longitudinally tracking an indivual cell using the nanobiopsy. We have proved that this technique is able to sample cytoplasmic fractions from cells without killing them, giving us the advantage to capture the transcriptional changes occurring through treatment using optimised scRNA sequencing protocols. 


- Kara E, Tucci A, Manzoni C, Lynch DS, Elpidorou M, et al (2016) Genetic and phenotypic characterisation of complex hereditary spastic paraplegia. Brain 139 (7):1904-18


  • PhD Functional Genomics; University of Leeds 2015-2019
  • BSc (Hons) Biomedical Sciences; University College London 2011-2014

Student education

I am undertaking various teaching tasks including PhD and Master students supervision in the laboratory, assisting with training and troubleshooting. I have also demonstrated in various practical classes and bioinformatics seminars for undergraduate students.

Research groups and institutes

  • Leeds Institute of Medical Research at St James's