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Dr Alessandro Esposito
Lecturer in Biosciences (Epigenetics)

Summary

I joined the University of Brunel in 2022 as a Lecturer in Biosciences (epigenetics). I am looking forward to sharing with students my passion for understanding how cells and tissues work, particularly how cells make decisions and differ from each other despite sharing an identical genome.

My journey started in Sanremo, a small town on the Riviera dei Fiori in Italy. Passionate about science, physics and biology, I moved to the Ligurian capital to complete my studies, where I obtained my BSc in Physics at the University of Genoa. I specialized in Biophysics, microscopy, and neurosciences.

I then completed my PhD in Biophysics at the University of Utrecht (NL), while working at the European Neuroscience Institute in Goettingen (DL). I had the opportunity to develop microscopes dedicated to biochemical imaging and the study of molecular mechanisms underpinning neurodegenerative diseases. Meanwhile, I trained in cell and molecular biology aiming to work at the interface between disciplines.

In 2007, I started a long stint of work at the University of Cambridge. First, I developed novel analytical tools contributing to redefining models of red blood cell homeostasis infected by P. falciparum (malaria). In recognition of my early work, I was awarded a Life Science Interface fellowship by the EPSRC in 2009 to develop heavily multiplexed biochemical imaging tools and applications. Soon after, I moved to the MRC Cancer Unit where I led the ‘Systems Microscopy initiative’ and retrained in cancer biology.

My work developed along two research streams: i) the study of cellular responses to DNA damage and mutations in signalling pathways and ii) the innovation of biochemical imaging technologies. Within the Director group, my team contributed to revealing the vast cell-to-cell variability in stress responses of genetically identical cells, a feature of biological systems that hinder the efficacy of disease management and therapeutic efficacy. Since 2019, my primary focus has been to understand how DNA damage and mutations in KRAS derange homeostatic programmes leading to cancer, in particular in models of pancreatic and colorectal cancers. 

My group combines multi-omics data with single-cell biochemical imaging techniques aiming to achieve a deeper understanding of cancer phenotypes during the earliest stages of carcinogenesis, with particular attention to cell-to-cell variability of non-genetic origin and cell-to-cell communication.

After the closure of the MRC Cancer Unit in 2022, I started my new adventure at the University of Brunel. The majority of my work is dedicated to the study of non-genetic factors causing cell-to-cell variability in signalling and metabolic pathways. At the Centre of Genome Engineering and Maintainance, I aim to dissect epigenetic mechanisms underpinning cellular variability in fate decisions. 

Qualifications

  • 2006, PhD in Biophysics at the University of Utrecht
  • 2002, BSc in Physics (biophysics) at the University of Genoa

Responsibility

I am a Lecturer in Biosciences with responsibilities for research and teaching.

Newest selected publications

Valls, PO. and Esposito, A. (2022) 'Signalling dynamics, cell decisions, and homeostatic control in health and disease'. Current Opinion in Cell Biology, 75. pp. 1 - 9. ISSN: 0955-0674 Open Access Link

Journal article

Trinh, AL. and Esposito, A. (2021) 'Biochemical resolving power of fluorescence lifetime imaging: untangling the roles of the instrument response function and photon-statistics'. Biomedical Optics Express, 12 (7). pp. 3775 - 3788. ISSN: 2156-7085 Open Access Link

Journal article

Esposito, A. (2021) 'Cooperation of partially transformed clones: An invisible force behind the early stages of carcinogenesis'. Royal Society Open Science, 8 (2). pp. 1 - 12. ISSN: 2054-5703 Open Access Link

Journal article

De, S., Campbell, C., Venkitaraman, AR. and Esposito, A. (2020) 'Pulsatile MAPK Signaling Modulates p53 Activity to Control Cell Fate Decisions at the G2 Checkpoint for DNA Damage'. Cell Reports, 30 (7). pp. 2083 - 2093.e5. ISSN: 2211-1247

Journal article

Esposito, A. and Venkitaraman, AR. (2019) 'Enhancing Biochemical Resolution by Hyperdimensional Imaging Microscopy'. Biophysical Journal, 116 (10). pp. 1815 - 1822. ISSN: 0006-3495

Journal article
More publications(7)