Photo credit: Johannes Frandsen

Michael Hawgood

PhD student

PhD student in cancer genetics: investigating how human cells replicate DNA.

About me

PhD Student 

Genetics | Molecular Biology | Cell Biology | Cell Division | DNA Replication | Cancer 

Research description

How do human cells copy DNA?

DNA replication is a fundamental process occurring during cell division. It is a highly regulated operation, ensuring that DNA is copied correctly before the cell divides. This is paramount for preventing the accumulation of mutations and maintaining genome stability.

However, accelerated cell proliferation is a hallmark of cancer. Consequently, these cells are forced to start replicating their DNA prematurely and in an uncontrolled manner.

Presently, the mechanisms regulating DNA replication initiation in human cells are poorly understood, obstructing the development of improved, selective cancer therapies.

I am therefore investigating how DNA replication is initiated in human cells, with the aim to uncover novel therapeutic targets and identify new anti-cancer drugs that improve patient care. 

To define a framework for the DNA replication mechanism, I am utilising a time-resolved genetics strategy which involves innovative protein depletion methods and CRISPR gene editing technology, together with advanced microscopy techniques.

Combining these state-of-the-art technologies provides me with a powerful toolkit, allowing me to study DNA replication at an uncharted level.


MSc Human Biology, University of Copenhagen, Denmark

BSc Genetics (Industrial), University of Leeds, UK