Professor Anna Philpott

University of Cambridge

University departments
Department of Oncology
University institutes
Hutchison MRC Research Centre
Wellcome Trust MRC Cambridge Stem Cell Institute

Position: Professor
Personal home page:

PubMed journal articles - click here

Professor Anna Philpott is pleased to consider applications from prospective PhD students.

Research description

I am interested in the balance between proliferation and differentiation during development and cancer, using a range of models including embryos of the frog Xenopus laevis, mammalian cells including ES cells, and mice. I am particularly interested in post-translational cell cycle-dependent regulation or proneural transcription factors; manipulating this regulation can have far reaching conseqences for both differentiation therapies in cancer, particularly of neurological origin, and for regerenative medicine. Our work in the nervous system is complimented by parallel studies on basic helix-loop-helix transcription factors in pancreatic and intestinal development and cancer.   I would assert that cancer is primarily a disease of differentiation. Ultimately, our studies on these fundamental mechanisms that co-ordinate proliferation and differentiation during development, and their application in stem cell and developmental models, will illuminate the pathways that are disrupted in tumorigenesis and point the way to new therapeutic interventions.

Research Programme or Virtual Institute
Paediatric Cancer
Secondary Programme
Fundamental Biology of Cancer
Methods and technologies
Cell culture
Gene expression profiling
In situ hybridization
In vivo modelling
Model organisms
Protein biochemistry
Tumour type interests
Brain and central nervous system
Small intestine
Stem cell
Model organisms
in vivo modelling
cell culture
Recent publications:
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Key publications

1. Ascl1 phospho-status regulates neuronal differentiation in a Xenopus developmental model of neuroblastoma. L.A. Wylie, L.J.A. Hardwick, T. D. Papkovskaia, C. J. Thiele and A. Philpott. (2015) Dis Model Mech. 8:429-41.

2. Multi-site phosphorylation regulates NeuroD4 activity during primary neurogenesis: a conserved mechanism amongst proneural proteins.Hardwick LJ, Philpott A. (2015), Neural Dev. 10:15.

3. Multi-site phospho-regulation of proneural transcription factors in development and reprogramming. A. Philpott. (2015). Neurogenesis, (Austin), 2(1).

4. Lineage selection and plasticity in the intestinal crypt. A. Philpott and D.J. Winton. Curr Opinion Cell Biol. (2014) Jul 29;31C:39-45.

5. The phosphorylation status of Ascl1 is a key determinant of neuronal differentiation and
maturation in vivo and in vitro. F.R. Ali, K. Cheng, P. Kirwan, S. Metcalfe, F.J. Livesey, R.A. Barker and A. Philpott. (2014). Development. 141, 2216-24.