Ryan Group

Targeting Gene Loss in Cancer

Group Members

Colm Ryan
Group Leader
Barbara De Kegel
Ph.D. Student, Ryan Group
Thomas Lefeivre
Ph.D. Student, Bond/Ryan Groups
Niall Quinn
Postdoctoral Researcher, Ryan Group
Cosmin Tudose
Ph.D. Student, Bond/Ryan Groups
Swathi Ramachandra Upadhya
Ph.D. Student, Ryan Group
Anjan Venkatesh
Ph.D. Student, Ryan Group

About the Group

What we do 

We are interested in how gene loss rewires tumour cells and how this may be exploited to target them therapeutically. A particular focus of the group is the identification of synthetic lethality - a phenomenon whereby mutation of one gene renders tumour cells especially sensitive to the perturbation of a second gene. We have developed computational methods to identify synthetic lethal interactions from genetic screens and interpret them using protein-protein interaction networks (see our resource www.cancergd.org). Through the integration of whole proteome expression profiling (see bit.ly/brca_complexes), protein interaction mapping, and high-content screening we are hoping to gain a mechanistic understanding of how gene loss rewires molecular networks. We anticipate that this will aid us in the identification and mechanistic interpretation of novel synthetic lethal interactions. In collaboration with Prof. Walter Kolch we are applying similar approaches to understand how gene loss can lead to drug resistance in BRAF mutant melanoma 


Work with us 

We will shortly be advertising positions for a computational PhD student and a lab-based research assistant. For the PhD studentship some programming experience is required and someone with an undergraduate degree in computer science, statistics, genetics or bioinformatics may be suitable. A background in biology is not required for this role. If you are interested in either position, please send me an email and we can discuss further. 

I am also interested in supporting applications for PhD studentships - either through the Irish Research Council’s postgraduate schemes or the UCD School of Computer Science PhD Scholarship Programme. The next deadline for the Computer Science PhD Scholarship is May 2019. 


Recent publications 

CancerGD: a resource for identifying and interpreting genetic dependencies in cancer 
Bridgett, S., Campbell, J., Lord, C.J., Ryan, C.J. 
Cell Systems 2017  

The histone variant H2A. Z promotes splicing of weak introns 
Nissen, K.E., Homer, C.M, Ryan, C.J., Shales, M., Krogan, N.J., Patrick, K.L., Guthrie, C. 
Genes & Development 2017  

ATR inhibitors as a Synthetic Lethal Therapy for Tumors Deficient in ARID1A 
Williamson, C., Miller, R., Pemberton, H., Jones, S., Campbell, J., Konde, A., Badham, N., Rafiq, M.R., Brough, R., Gulati, A., Ryan, C.J., Francis, J., Vermulen, P., Reynolds, A., Reaper, P., Pollard, J.R., Ashworth, A., Lord, C.J. (2016) 
Nature Communications 2016  

Large-Scale Profiling of Kinase Dependencies in Cancer Cell Lines 
Campbell, J.,* Ryan, C.J.*, Brough, R., Bajrami, I., Pemberton, H.N., Chong, I.Y., Frankum, J., Gulati, A., Holme, H., Miller, R., Postel-Vinay, S., Rafiq, R., Wei, W., Williamson, C.T., Quigley, D.A., Fenton, T., Natrajan, R., Strauss, S.J., Ashworth, A., Lord, C.J. 
Cell Reports 2016 * Equal Contribution 


SBI Blog: ‘Spare tire genes’ explain why some genes can be lost by cancer cells | 27 November 2019

New online tool launched to speed up development of novel, therapeutic, targeted approaches to cancer | 12 July 2017 

SBI at the Irish Association for Cancer Research Meeting 2017 | 27 February 2017 

Genetic screening of cancer cell lines to identify new targeted treatments | 23 May 2016 

SBI Blog: 2 + 4 = 6, 4 + 2 = 7? | 25 November 2015 

UCD scientist receives €300,000 in international funding for cancer research | 17 June 2014