Current Lab Members

Dr Rachel J Carter

Postdoctoral Research Associate (Nov 2017 - present)


During my degree at the University of Liverpool, I discovered a passion for scientific research and have never quite managed to tear myself away (from the city or the career path)! I’ve worked on a few different projects to date, but the common theme of my work has always been cancer, its progression and its response to various therapeutics. I’d say I’m most at home in the tissue culture lab. Unfortunately, my compulsion for organisation in the lab doesn’t quite transfer over to my home life (I insist that those skills get used up during my working day!), and outside of work, I’m happiest when socialising with friends and family–if food is involved, even better!

(1) Carter et al (2022), Cell Death and Disease; (2) Carter et al (2019), Cell Death and Disease; (3) Greaves at al (2018), Cell Death and Differentiation
EACR (Amsterdam; 2018); NWCR symposia (Liverpool, UK; 2019)

Mr. Ammar Basabrain
PhD student (Feb 2018 - present)
After spending a couple of years, working towards a masters degree in Advanced Biological Sciences at the University of Liverpool, my fondness for the city and the Scouse accent grew profoundly, pushing me to pursue a PhD to study the ins and outs of chronic myeloid leukemia, under the supervision of Dr Claire Lucas and Dr Shankar Varadarajan. Outside the lab, I spend a reasonable amount of time supporting my home team - Ittihad FC, and when they are not playing, I enjoy hanging out with family and friends!

Publications: (1) Clark et al (2021), Cancers.


Ms. Yuyao Huang

PhD student (Feb 2020 - present)



Mr. Mohammed Alsubhi
PhD student (Oct 2021 - present)

Lab Alumni

Miss Ahoud Alotibi

PhD student (Nov 2017 - present)


After obtaining my master degree in biochemistry from the University of Manchester, I was fortunate enough to find a place in the academic sector back home in Saudi Arabia. As life was swiftly taking me away from research towards a full time career in teaching, I decided to make a sudden U-turn to pursue my PhD in Cancer biology in Varadarajan Lab. I feel 'blessed’ to be back in the cold and rainy England, far away from the scorching heat of Saudi Arabia. Having sold my soul to identify novel ways to overcome chemoresistance in cancer, I do find the occasional spare time to hit the gym, go for long walks and explore local cafes in and around Liverpool. 

(1) Carter et al (2019), Cell Death and Disease; (2) Al-Zebeeby et al (2018), Haematologica.
Genes and Cancer Meeting (Cambridge, UK; 2019); NWCR symposia (Liverpool, UK; 2019)    

Dr Govinda Raju Yedida

PhD student (Jan 2016 - Feb 2020)


5086 is the number of miles that I have travelled to reach Varadarajan Lab, all the way from a small south-eastern town in India. After fighting the initial culture shock inherent with such a big move, I have started enjoying both my work and life in the U.K. My PhD, supported by the Ministry of  Higher Education in India, focusses on studying the interplay between Endoplasmic reticulum and mitochondria in cancer cell death. When I am not at work, I enjoy watching Indian films, going on nature walks and taking part in fun activities in and around Liverpool.


(1) Carter et al (2019), Cell Death and Disease; (2) Yedida et al (2019), Cell Death and Disease


EACR (Manchester, UK; 2016); NCRI (Liverpool, UK, 2017); NWCR symposia (Liverpool, UK, 2017); NWCR symposia (Liverpool, UK; 2019).

Dr Mateus Milani

PhD student (Aug 2015 - Aug 2019)


Having grown tired of the gloriously sunny beaches in Brazil, I found solace in the cold and wet northern England to work on apoptosis in Varadarajan Lab, thanks to my scholarship from Science Without Borders. I am interested in studying mitochondrial structural and functional dynamics and how that can be targeted to induce apoptosis in cancer. On most days, you will find me power walking in the lab, in the name of getting numerous tasks accomplished or generally helping others with their problems in life.

(1) Carter et al (2022), Cell Death and Disease; (2) Carter et al (2019), Cell Death and Disease; (3) Milani et al (2019), Cell Death Discovery; (4) Yedida et al (2019), Cell Death and Disease; (5) Al-Zebeeby et al (2018), Haematologica; (6) Greaves at al (2018), Cell Death and Differentiation; (7) Milani et al (2017), Cell Death and Disease; (8) Lucas et al (2016), Leukemia; (9) Varadarajan et al (2015), Oncotarget.
NCRI (Liverpool,UK; 2015); NWCR symposia (Liverpool, UK; 2016); CSHL (New York, USA; 2017); Keystone symposia (Kyoto, Japan; 2018).

Dr Aoula Al-Zebeeby

PhD student (Dec 2015 - Oct 2019)


Although my name technically must be pronounced like the Spanish hello (hola), in reality, it translates to honesty and glory in Arabic. Therefore, I have tried to live up to that by embarking on a PhD, just two months after giving birth to my daughter in a foreign country. As if my life with two young children is all play and no work, I study cancer cell resistance and have an extremely busy work-life exploring ways to improve effectiveness in cancer therapy. When I am not developing a million resistance models, I try to spend my time drawing flowers on anything and everything that I can find in the lab, much to the displeasure of a certain someone.


(1) Carter et al (2019), Cell Death and Disease; (2) Milani et al (2019), Cell Death Discovery; (3) Henz et al (2018), Biological Chemistry; (4) Al-Zebeeby et al (2018), Haematologica.     


EACR (Manchester, UK; 2016); NCRI (Liverpool, UK, 2017); NWCR symposia (Liverpool, UK, 2017).

Dr Georgia Greaves

PhD student (Oct 2015 - April 2019)


After my undergraduate degree in Cell Biology with French at The University of Manchester, I subsequently moved to France to eat excessive amounts of pastries and do my Masters research project. I am now back in the U.K. to do my PhD in Varadarajan Lab, supported by North West Cancer research, where I am now honing the art of the Western Blotting while trying to not flood the lab with electrode buffer. Outside of science, I love going out to eat nice food, playing and live-streaming videogames and laughing at cats on the internet/ in real-life.


(1) Carter et al (2019), Cell Death and Disease; (2) Al-Zebeeby et al (2018), Haematologica; (3) Greaves at al (2018), Cell Death and Differentiation; (4) Milani et al (2017), Cell Death and Disease


Biochemical society (Chester,UK; 2016); EACR (Manchester, UK; 2016); NWCR symposia (Liverpool, UK, 2017); CSHL (New York, USA; 2017).

Dr Michael Butterworth

Postdoctoral Research Associate (2014 - 2017)


After graduating from the University of London, I had successfully and very happily maintained my status as a perpetual post-doc, previously with Prof. Gerry Cohen at Leicester and then in Liverpool to study novel therapies for head and neck cancer, thanks to the generous funding by North West Cancer Charity. Interested in how to manipulate the cell death process to aid in cancer therapy. Also, exceptionally keen on pies, books, hill walking; all things horticultural, decorative and edible, and .......did I mention the pies? They're very important!


(1) Carter et al (2019), Cell Death and Disease; (2) Greaves at al (2018), Cell Death and Differentiation; (3) Butterworth et al (2016), British Journal of Cancer; (4) Lucas et al (2016), Leukemia; (5) Milani et al (2016), Cell Death and Disease.


Training at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute (Boston, USA; 2015). NWCR symposia (Liverpool, UK; 2017)

Dr Fern Baedyananda

PhD student (Aug 2014 - June 2018)


After obtaining my BSc in biology from the University of California, Irvine, and MPH degree from Loma Linda University, I decided to leave sunny, mild-weathered Southern California for the first time. In pursuit of new cultures, uncomfortable weather conditions and studying cancer biology, I joined a PhD programme between Thailand and the UK, which brought me to Varadarajan Lab for a few months in 2016. My interests are in oncogenic viruses, and the mechanisms in which they regulate cell death. When not in lab, I enjoy being with friends, having nice meals, and especially enjoy tasting new varieties of craft beer and coffee.


(1) Baedyananda et al (2017), Intervirology

Prof Gerald M Cohen

Chair in Cancer Pharmacology


After graduating from the University of Leeds and completing my PhD in the US at the University of Minnesota and then working in so many different places, it is hard to remember all the details, except for running a BSc in Pharmacology and Toxicology at the School of Pharmacy, University of London and then working at the MRC Toxicology Unit in Leicester before joining the University of Liverpool in order to become a scouser. Having mentored Shankar during his postdoctoral training at Leicester, we now work together to exploit our deep knowledge of apoptosis in order to improve cancer chemotherapy.

          Ms Bo Peng

 MRes  (Sep 2019 - Feb 2020)


  Mr Patrick Freeman

 MRes  (Apr 2019 - Jul 2019)


     Mr Callum Stagg

 MRes  (Apr 2019 - Jul 2019)


   Dr Caitlin Richards

 MRes  (Sep 2016 - Mar 2017)

     Mr Henry Tinker

MRes (Sep 2016 - Mar 2017)

   Mr Michael Cope

MRes  (Sep 2017 - Dec 2017)

   Ms Emily Jones

MRes  (Jan 2018 - July 2018)

   Ms Gizemgul Kara

 MRes  (Sep 2020 - present)