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 cellular assays, imaging techniques, genetic deletion approaches and mouse models of human cancer in functional studies combined with state-of-the-art mass spectrometry and biochemical techniques to elucidate the molecular basis of protein: protein interactions in the signalling pathways we investigate. We work closely with the groups of Dr Heiko Wurdak (Stem cell and brain tumour group), Dr Mihaela Lorger (Brain metastasis group), Professor Susan Short (Radiation biology and therapy group), Professor Colin Johnson (Cilia group), Dr Stephen Wheatcroft (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 development in patients with early breast cancer.

For more details 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

My teaching currently focuses on cancer angiogenesis and anti-angiogenic therapy. I deliver MSc lectures, tutorials for medical students, and supervise project work both at undergraduate and postgraduate levels. I act as Cancer Biology Examiner for the First FRCR Examination Board of The Royal College of Radiologists, and deliver lectures at the first FRCR Clinical and Medical Oncology Basic Sciences Course.


Research groups and institutes

  • Leeds Institute of Medical Research at St James's
<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://medicinehealth.leeds.ac.uk/research-opportunities">research opportunities</a> allow you to search for projects and scholarships.</p>