Accepting PhD Students

    PhD projects

    Funded PhD Project available!
    Investigate molecular biomarkers in colorectal cancer. In collaboration with the Dudley Group NHS Foundation Trust. Deadline for applications: 30.06.2023
    See details at

    Open position for a motivated self-funded PhD student!
    Available research projects on the effects of GTP depletion on transcription, DNA damage and repair, as well as the molecular and cellular consequences of mutations in histone modifiers like KMT2D, KMT2C and JMJD6. Feel free to contact me if interested. Queries on published, related, interdisciplinary or novel projects are welcome.

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    Personal profile


    Dr Theo Kantidakis completed his undergraduate studies at the Biology department of Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece, in 2002. He continued his education in the UK, by attending the MSc in Molecular Genetics at the University of Leicester, from which he graduated with distinction in 2003. Subsequently, he secured a prestigious 4-year PhD prize scholarship from the Wellcome Trust at the University of Glasgow (2003-2007), which fully funded his MRes and PhD research.

    During his PhD, Dr Kantidakis worked on multiple aspects of the regulation of RNA polymerase III transcription in the lab of Prof. Bob White. He started his postdoctoral training at the Beatson Institute for Cancer Research (2008-2010) and showed how mTOR can affect tRNA transcription by phosphorylation of transcriptional repressor MAF1.

    Next, Dr Kantidakis moved to Cancer Research UK’s London Research Institute (now Francis Crick Institute) to continue his postdoctoral studies (2010-2016) with Prof. Jesper Svejstrup, working on the interface of RNA polymerase II transcription, chromatin epigenetics and the maintenance of genomic stability. By employing several of the latest genome-wide techniques, he discovered, among others, that inactivation of MLL2 (KMT2D), a histone methyltransferase that is often mutated in many cancers, results in transcription stress, DNA damage and genomic instability, providing a mechanism to explain its widespread role as a cancer driver.

    In 2016, Dr Kantidakis moved to Xi’an Jiaotong-Liverpool University (XJTLU) in China, where he taught at the department of Biological Sciences. In 2018, he moved back to UK and joined the newly established Aston Medical School (AMS).

    Dr Kantidakis' research has been published in many prestigious journals, including Cell, Genes & Development, PNAS, Nucleic Acids Research. His current research focus is on chromatin and transcription regulation, investigating their role in DNA damage and genomic stability.


    • 2018, Certificate in Professional Studies Learning and Teaching in Higher Education, University of Liverpool
    • 2008, PhD in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, University of Glasgow
    • 2004, MRes in Molecular Functions in Disease, University of Glasgow
    • 2003, MSc in Molecular Genetics, University of Leicester
    • 2002, BSc (Hons) in Biology, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece


    • 2018-present, Senior Lecturer, Aston Medical School, Birmingham
    • 2016-2018, Ass. Professor, Xi’an Jiaotong-Liverpool University, Suzhou, China
    • 2015-2016, Senior Research Fellow, The Francis Crick Institute, London
    • 2010-2015, Senior Research Fellow, London Research Institute - Cancer Research UK, London
    • 2008-2010, Research Fellow, The Beatson Institute - Cancer Research UK, Glasgow

    Research Interests

    • Transcriptional regulation of non-coding RNAs by RNA polymerase I and III
    • Transcriptional regulation of coding and non-coding RNAs by RNA polymerase II
    • The role of mutations in chromatin modifiers and their effect on transcription, DNA damage and genomic instability. 

    Research Projects/Collaborations

    • The effects of GTP depletion on transcription, DNA damage and repair.
    • The role of chromatin modifiers KMT2D, KMT2C and JMJD6 on transcription, mutagenesis and genomic instability.
    • The molecular and cellular conequences of Heme Oxygenase 1 (HO-1) depletion.

    Teaching Activity

    • MS1000 - Cell Biology and Genetics
    • MS1000 - Pathological Processes

    Membership of Professional Bodies

    • Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (HEA)

    Contact Details


    Tel: 0121 204 3632



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