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Botnar Research Centre, Old Road, Headington, Oxford OX3 7LD

Srinivasa Rao Rao

MBBS, MS (res), DPhil, AFHEA

Principal Investigator

Biography and research summary

I graduated with a degree in clinical medicine at the Jawaharlal Institute of Postgraduate Medical Education and Research, India. Following this, I obtained a Master of Science (by research) degree at the Indian Institute of Technology Madras; my research during this period focused on the role of microRNAs in the regulation of the Wnt signalling pathway. I studied for DPhil at the University of Oxford (2010-2014), in the Bone Oncology group headed by Dr. Claire Edwards. My DPhil project involved research into the process of epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) in prostate cancer cells. We identified a novel regulator of EMT, demonstrating the functional importance of osteomimicry (prostate cancer cells exhibiting features of bone cells) in prostate cancer signalling pathways. 

I also developed novel high-throughput screening methods, in collaboration with the Daniel Ebner group at the Target Discovery Institute, University of Oxford, to quantify migration and cell morphology. Using these techniques I established a large dataset with thousands of data points describing how prostate cancer cell phenotype is altered by microRNAs. From this dataset, we identified several novel microRNA regulators of EMT.

My recent work with Prof. Freddie Hamdy applied DNA and RNA sequencing techniques to identify the evolutionary routes taken by prostate cancer cells during their intra-prostatic spread. In this process, I have developed library preparation techniques to interrogate difficult samples like formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded tissues and/or limited tissue.

Core competencies

  • Bioinformatics - DNA and RNA sequencing analysis (variant calling, differential expression) (Linux command-line, R, Python), mining (from cBioPortal, GEO, ArrayExpress) and analysis of large datasets using R/Bioconductor;
  • Image analysis - image and video analysis using CellProfiler, Python/OpenCV
  • Cell and molecular biology - Next-Generation Sequencing (WGS, WES, targeted DNA sequencing), high-throughput phenotypic screening and analysis, cell culture, fluorescence microscopy, qRT-PCR, molecular cloning, flow cytometry
  • In vivo - Intra-cardiac metastasis prostate cancer model, intra-tibial PCa model, in vivo tumour imaging