Dr Ultan McDermott

Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute

NHS or other affiliations
Cancer Genome Project

Position: Faculty & Group Leader
Personal home page: http://www.sanger.ac.uk/research/faculty/umcdermott/

PubMed journal articles - click here

Dr Ultan McDermott is pleased to consider applications from prospective PhD students.

Research description

Ultan McDermott is a clinician scientist and has a lifelong interest in understanding how cancer genomes affect response in the clinic to therapy, and more recently the use of genetic (CRISPR) screens to identify mechanisms of drug resistance in cancer. Ultan joined the Wellcome Sanger Institute in 2009 as a Group Leader and member of faculty. Previously he worked as a postdoctoral fellow with Jeff Settleman at Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center on high-throughput cancer cell line drug screens and resistance mechanisms. In 2018 he took up a role in AstraZeneca as Chief Scientist in Oncology and maintains an Honorary Faculty position at the Sanger Institute. He is a Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians and continues to practice as an oncologist at Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge.

Advances in genome sequencing technologies are enabling researchers to make rapid progress in defining the entire repertoire of causal genetic changes in cancer. The response of patients with cancer to therapy is often highly variable and there are an increasing number of examples where mutations in cancer genomes have been shown to have a profound effect on the clinical effectiveness of drugs. The use of large-scale cell line-based drug screens to identify genomic 'biomarkers' of drug response for the stratification of patients has the potential to transform how patients with cancer are treated. Moreover, for the first time we have the ability to identify clinically relevant patterns of mutations and copy number alterations using thousands of primary tumour exomes from the International Cancer Genome Consortium and to prioritise these for analysis using such cell line-based screens.

Research Programme
Aerodigestive Cancer

Key publications

Garnett MJ, Edelman EJ, Heidorn SJ, Greenman CD, e al. (2012) Systematic identification of genomic markers of drug sensitivity in cancer cells. Nature 28;483(7391):570-5. Huang S, Hölzel M, Knijnenburg T, Schlicker A, Roepman P, McDermott U, Garnett M, et al. MED12 Controls the Response to Multiple Cancer Drugs through Regulation of TGF-? Receptor Signaling. Cell. 2012 Nov 21;151(5):937-50. McDermott U, Sharma SV, Dowell L, Greninger P, et al. Identification of genotype-correlated sensitivity to selective kinase inhibitors by using high-throughput tumor cell line profiling. (2007) Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 104(50):19936-41.