Group Members

Senior Post-Doctoral Research Associates

Dr. Leticia Torres
I graduated from University of Mar del Plata in 2004 and remained there for my PhD in Biological Sciences, graduating in 2009. For the last ten years I have worked in the characterization and improvement of bacterial enzymes, including glycosyltransferases, glycosylases, amidases, esterases and other hydrolases. My PhD focused on understanding the modularity of proteins involved in sucrose metabolism of bacteria. Particularly, my research in Agrobacterium tumefaciens unraveled a new metabolic pathway leading to the biosynthesis of a sugar osmolyte. I became specially interested in protein engineering during my PhD and in 2010, joined the Severo Ochoa Centre for Molecular Biology in Madrid, Spain, where in collaboration with Antibiotics S.A. (a Spanish biotechnology company), I worked on the cryoactivation of a thermostable penicillin-acylase from Thermus thermophilus using rational and directed evolution techniques. I joined the Pinheiro group to work in the development of an HNA episome in April 2014.
Dr. Christopher Cozens
After my undergraduate BSc in Molecular Biology at the University of St Andrews I moved to Phil Holliger’s lab at the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology in Cambridge, where I stayed for 7 years as PhD and postdoc. My PhD work focused on expanding the substrate spectra of DNA polymerases for RNA and XNA synthesis. As a postdoc I continued engineering polymerases as well as developing methods for SELEX using XNAs and carrying out aptamer selections.

In October 2015 I joined to the Pinheiro lab to take on a new range of XNAs and polymerases.

Post-doctoral Research Associates

Research Assistants

Ms. Ana Riesco
TNAepisome, invivoXNA
 I completed my undergraduate course at UCL in 2016, graduating with a MSci in Biochemistry. During this time, I completed a short research project in Prof. Ivan Gout’s lab which focused on the large-scale expression of S6K2 kinase in mammalian and insect cells. I then dedicated the final year of my degree to researching the Mycobacterium tuberculosis small RNA DrrS in Dr. Kristine Arnvig’s lab. I acquired some further lab experience during the summer of 2013 in the Molecular Biology lab of Virgen de la Salud hospital, Toledo, and the summer of 2014 in The Pinheiro Lab, where I worked on Rolling Circle Amplification with modified nucleobases. I returned to The Pinheiro Lab in July 2016.

Post-graduate Students

Ms. Yan Kay Ho
tRNA Synthetases
 I studied Natural Sciences at University College London (UCL, 2010-2014), focusing on Genetics, Evolution and Development. My Masters project, with Prof. Mark Thomas, was to develop a method for identifying signatures of natural selection in human evolution through gene-protein interaction networks. Currently, I am a third year PhD student on the BBSRC LIDo programme, having joined the Pinheiro Lab at UCL in June 2015.
Hugo Vilanueva
Mr. Hugo Villanueva
Collaboration with Dr. Renos Savva
 I am French and did my undergraduate at the university of Edinburgh getting a degree in biotechnology and working on the Synthetic Yeast 2.0 project, specifically on the SCRaMbLE technology. During my masters in Systems and Synthetic Biology, I continued working on the Synthetic Yeast Project and SCRaMbLE doc using on creating libraries of three fluorescent proteins and testing yeast terminator strength via flow cytometry. I continued my interests in synthetic biology at the Renos Savva lab and the Vitor Pinheiro lab focusing on phage-based biotechnology.
Ms. Paola Handal Marquez
DNA polymerase engineering
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Undergraduate Students


Alumni LinkedIn group

Dr. Eszter Csibra PDRA (joined Guy Bart Stan’s group)
Mr. Tayo Alleyne-Weir MRes Biosciences – Membrane channels (collaboration with Prof. Kaila Srai)
Mr. Alberto Aparicio de Narvaez Visiting PhD student from UCL STS
Dr. Pedro Tizei PhD student (joined Labgenius)
Mr. Charles Henderson UCL BIOCM101 student
Ms. Samantha Borje Pomona College Exchange
Mr. Gurkaran Singh Pomona College Exchange
Dr. Antje Kruger PDRA (joined the Jewett lab)
Mr. Andrei Solovyev UCL student volunteer
Mr. Kieran Davey UCL BIOC3002
Ms. Eloise Nee Summer volunteer
Mr. Warren Hazelton Research Assistant
Mr. Eneko Pascual Navarro Biochemical Society Summer Vacation Studentship
Mr. Ewan Coates PhD student (interrupted)
Mr. Andras Sandor UCL MSci. Genetics
Mr. Yi Fan UCL BIOLM030 student
Mr. Samuel Alberman Summer volunteer
Ms. Paola Handal Marquez Wellcome Trust Biomedical Vacation Scholarship
Ms. Chinyere Ihuegbu MRes Biosciences – Membrane channels (collaboration with Prof. Kaila Srai)
Mr. Enrique de Zamacona Meza MRes Synthetic Biology
Ms. Pinelopi-Eleftheria Stamou MRes Synthetic Biology
Mr. Daniel de la Torre UCL BIOC3002 student
Ms. Barbara Steijl BBK iGEM, Research assistant
Ms. Havva Yalinca LiDO BBSRC rotation PhD student
 Dr. Marleen Renders Visiting Post-doc (Herdewijn Group – KUL/Belgium)
 Ms. Mei Teh UCL BIOC3002 student
 Ms. Li Cheah UCL BIOC3002 student
 Ms. Bethan Wolfenden LiDO BBSRC rotation PhD student
 Mr. Joel Sabaniego Nunes ERASMUS exchange student
Mr. Thomas Murthi MRes Synthetic Biology student
Ms. Luba Prout XNA nanotechnology, BBK iGEM
Mr. Edoardo Gianni Biochemical Society Summer Vacation Studentship
 Ms. Ana Riesco Summer volunteer
 Mr. Paul Rutten Wellcome Trust Biomedical Vacation Scholarship
 Ms. Laure Canarelli Biochemical Society Summer Vacation Studentship