Speaker Details

Sherif El-Khamisy

Sherif El-Khamisy received his training in Pharmacy from Cairo University followed by doctoral and post-doctoral training at the Genome Damage and Stability Center at the University of Sussex, UK. During this period Sherif’s work focused on studying the most abundant form of endogenous DNA breakage; those that occur in one strand of the DNA double helix (SSBs). His early work unraveled a role for the DNA nick sensor poly(ADP-ribose)polymerase in recruiting SSB repair factors at sites of oxidative DNA damage (Cell 2003). Consequently Sherif’s work led to the conceptual hypothesis that progressive accumulation of SSBs causes neurodegeration in humans (Nature 2005 and Nature 2006). After working in pharmaceutical industry in Egypt, Sherif moved to St.Jude Hospital in the USA to pick up the skills and techniques that would allow him to test the consequences of unrepaired SSBs at the organismal level, using mouse models. Sherif then moved to the UK and established his lab with a Fellowship from the Wellcome Trust. El-Khamisy lab focused on how mammalian cells repair protein-linked DNA breaks and their impact on tissue viability. This has led to the discovery of the enzyme that repairs topoisomerase 2 - mediated DNA damage, which was subsequently named TDP2 (Nature 2009). Driven by his initial training as a pharmacist, El-Khamisy established a successful network with clinicians, chemists, and structure biology scientists to translate some of the lab findings to the clinic (Nature Communications 2012), which was recognized by funding from Cancer Research UK. In 2013, El-Khamisy established the Genome Center at Zewail City for Science and Technology and co-founded the Egyptian Young Academy of Science, in Egypt. He has maintained research activities in the UK at the Universities of Sussex and Sheffield. He was elected as a Fellow of the Royal Society of Preventative Medicine (Lister) and won the Wellcome Trust Investigator Award. El-Khamisy and his team focused on analyzing protein-linked DNA breaks in cellular and mouse models and in-patient derived materials from Europe and the Middle East. In 2014, this work led to the discovery of the first human disease defective in TDP2 (Nature Genetics 2014), which triggered significant attention of clinicians and academics. He studied DNA repair and ageing in zebra fish and in mouse models of motor neuron disease (Hum Mol Genet 2015). Last year, the team at Zewail City published an article in Nature Rev Cancer in which they analysed how protein-linked DNA break repair pathways control transcription-driven cancer. El-Khamisy is currently the director of the Genome Center at Zewail City, Chair of Molecular Medicine and Director of Research at the Krebs Institute, UK. He is the recipient of the State Encouragement Award and Abel Hamid Shoman Award for Medical Sciences.

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