Dr Shankar Varadarajan

Principal Investigator


Research Interests: 


1. Apoptotic and non-apoptotic roles of BCL-2 family of proteins in cancer

2. Mitochondria and Endoplasmic reticulum (ER) membrane dynamics and apoptosis

3. Intracellular signalling in apoptosis, autophagy, ER stress and the Unfolded Protein Response

4. Identification and characterisation of novel drug combinations to treat head and neck cancer


Following a Bachelor's degree in Pharmacy and an Engineering degree in Biotechnology, both from India in 2002, I carried out my doctoral studies in The University of Texas at Austin, USA, studying the molecular mechanisms underlying autophagy and apoptosis. I then relocated to England to pursue my postdoctoral fellowship at the Medical Research Council - Toxicology Unit in Leicester from 2009 to 2013. During this time, I focussed on the anti-apoptotic BCL-2 family of proteins and discovered a novel form of Endoplasmic Reticulum stress response, which led to an opportunity to work in the laboratory of Prof. Tom Kirchhausen at Harvard Medical School, USA. After my successful postdoctoral fellowship, I joined the University of Liverpool, where I have established a dynamic and productive laboratory with several members, studying the therapeutic relevance of BH3 mimetics in treating several cancers, such as haematological malignancies, pancreatic cancer as well as cancers of the head and neck, which have a particularly high incidence in the Liverpool area.

Screenshot 2020-02-07 at 20.17.28.png

Research Grants

  1. North West Cancer Research Funding – 2020-2023 – Targeting pyrimidine nucleotide biosynthesis through rational combinations to enhance cancer cell death and circumvent chemoresistance mediated by the tumour microenvironment.

  2. North West Cancer Research Grant – 2017-2020 – Novel therapeutic approaches for personalised therapy of Head and Neck cancer.

  3. North West Cancer Research Grant – 2015-2018 – Functional characterisation of distinct complexes of MCL-1 in regulating apoptosis in cancer.

  4. PhD Studentships from Brazil, India, Iraq and Saudi Arabia.

Contact Information

Dr Shankar Varadarajan

Department of Molecular and Clinical Cancer Medicine

Institute of Systems, Molecular and Integrative Biology

University of Liverpool

Room 232, Sherrington Building

Ashton Street

Liverpool L69 3GE

Tel: +44 151 795 8034


Our Sponsor

Recruitment/ Internships

We are keen to recruit enthusiastic scientists to join our team. If you need help in securing a fellowship, do get in touch.