Professor Marija Krstic-Demonacos

School of Science, Engineering and Environment

Photo of Professor Marija Krstic-Demonacos

Contact Details

Cockcroft Building Room 305

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Current positions

Professor of Molecular Medicine; Director of Biomedical Research Centre

Biography

I took up my Chair in Molecular Medicine in the School of Environment & Life Sciences in April 2013 and a post of Director of Biomedical Centre in 2014. Prior to this I was a Wellcome Trust Fellow and Lecturer at the University of Manchester from 2003.  I completed my PhD in molecular endocrinology at the University of California San Francisco and postdoctoral studies in cancer biology at the University of Glasgow. 

I have published more than 50 papers in reputed journals and am serving as an editorial board member of several international journals. In addition, the commercialisation potential of my research is evidenced by the three patents I own. I have presented at numerous conferences and served as a reviewer for many international funding bodies and journals.

Areas of research

Cancer, Inflammation, Steroids, Transcription, Bioinformatics

Teaching

Since starting in the University of Salford, I have developed the MSc Biomedical Science taught course. I have shaped the course from the start and I am a module leader for the programme. Other teaching activities include delivery of lectures as part of the Cell Biology and Genomics and Proteomics courses. I have also taught tutorial groups across all levels. In addition, I have been supervising summer, placement, final year project and PGR students.

In the University of Manchester, I have delivered lectures for the Genome regulation course. In addition, I have taught tutorial groups from various degrees including Molecular Biology, Biochemistry and Biology. In addition, I have also been a problem based learning tutor for medical students, (12 students), including personal tutoring and pastoral care. I have been invited lecturer for the University of Belgrade that was part of a brain gain programme funded by Austrian government (2007-9).

Research Interests

My research focuses on the investigation of how cells respond to stress. In particular, my research group investigates molecular basis of cellular response to hormonal and stress signals, important for inflammation, cancer, stem cell biology and development.  We analyse of the function of steroid receptors focusing on glucocorticoid hormones (GCs) which are essential for life and among the most extensively prescribed drugs in clinical practice for wide range of conditions including asthma, eczema, arthritis, allergies, in transplantation and for childhood leukaemia treatment.

Glucocorticoids regulate the metabolism of carbohydrates, proteins and lipids, the inflammatory and immune responses, and the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis. We aim to understand the molecular mechanisms by which these hormones regulate cellular metabolism and exert their effects. My long term interests are in investigating the mechanisms by which these clinically relevant drugs mediate their therapeutic effects in order to improve available treatments and to develop novel pharmacologically beneficial approaches.

We also study effects of DNA damage on tumour suppressor p53 that is a gene mutated in over half of human cancers. The deregulation of DNA damage inducible signalling pathways plays a major role in the development of cancer and analysis of components of these pathways is vital for the diagnosis, prognosis and therapy of malignant tumours. Finally, my group focuses on pathway modelling and genome wide studies as a tool to understand the mechanisms of cellular signalling and to discover new therapeutic targets. These logical models are increasingly predictive and have potential use in personalized medicine.

Overall my observations provide detailed insight in the molecular networks governing cellular survival in numerous physiological and pathological processes. This knowledge can find application in the pharmaceutical industry, has been highly cited and internationally recognized. Several collaborative projects with clinical partners are ongoing in order to translate this knowledge to clinic and to pursue goals of personalized medicine to generate an efficient roadmap that will lead rapidly and safely to effective individual treatment.

Qualifications and Memberships

Qualifications

  • 1995: PhD in Endocrinology, Department of Biochemistry, University of California San Francisco, San Francisco, California, USA
  • 1987: MSc in Molecular Biology and Biochemistry, Faculty of Natural Sciences, University of Belgrade, Belgrade. Serbia
  • 1984: BSc in Molecular Biology and Physiology, Faculty of Natural Sciences, University of Belgrade, Belgrade, Serbia

Membership

  • Endocrine Society (USA), full member from 2011-2019
  • Royal Society of Biology, full member from 2010- 2020
  • British Association for Cancer Research, full member since 2009
  • British Endocrine Society, full member since 2008
  • Biochemical Society, full member from 2007-2019