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Dr Karen Rees-Unwin (PhD) - personal details

Contact details

Role: Research Associate




I have specialised in the field of haematology research since beginning my PhD in 1998. Initially I trained as a molecular biologist, where I specialised in patient sample preparation, Southern blotting and Real time PCR to characterise an amplicon associated with the progression of Follicular lymphoma to diffuse large cell lymphoma. This data was presented at the 43rd Annual meeting of the American Society of Haematology and subsequently published in the British Journal of Haematology.
For my first postdoctoral research position I successfully applied proteomics (2D-PAGE) to the investigation of dexamethasone sensitivity and resistance in Multiple Myeloma with Dr Faith Davies and Professor Gareth Morgan in collaboration with Dr Ken Anderson of the Dana Faber Institute Boston. Using both my proteomic and molecular skills I successfully demonstrated the up-regulation at both the mRNA and protein level of a key regulatory protein of the Hsp90-steroid-receptor complex, FKBP5, in dexamethasone-mediated apoptosis. During these two years, I was invited to give oral presentations at the UK-Myeloma Forum Scientific meeting, and the 1st Entente Cordial Workshop:Proteomics: A New Tool in Cancer Research. I also gave an oral presentation of my study at the 46th Annual meeting of the American Society of Haematology and subsequently published this work in the British Journal of Haematology.

My current postdoctoral research position focuses on proteomic changes associated with subsets of chronic lymphocytic leukaemia. I have developed a successful 2D-PAGE technique to analyse clinical material and in association with a PhD student, whom I successfully guided through the experimental aspect of his training identified changes in the proteome of mutated versus un-mutated CLL. Of these changes I have personally focused on the biological impact of nucleophosmin in mutated versus unmutated CLL.  This work has been by the British Journal of Haematology was presented by myself at the 2008 50th Annual meeting of the American Society of Haematology. This work has also formed the basis of two grants of which I am a co-author on both, an LRF Clinical Research Training Fellowship (£197,061) and a Manchester Royal Infirmary Trust funded MD position (£131,374). My most recent work has been supported by the LRF to optimise technical aspects of transfection in CLL, enabling me to develop new techniques and capabilities specifically to allow me to explore new avenues in CLL as a primary researcher.

Memberships of Committees and Professional Bodies





1998-2002: Ph.D. Genetic events associated with the transformation of NHL
Institute for Cancer Studies, University of Sheffield.
1995-1998: 2:1 BSc. Honours, Cellular and Molecular Pathology. University of Bristol


I am a postdoctoral research associate within the university working in the Chronic lymphocytic leukemia research group within the Institute of Cancer Sciences.  I currently apply proteomic and immunological techniques to investigate the role of altered protein expression in the aetiology of Chronic lymphocytic leukaemia. I am a laboratory supervisor and co-author of a LRF Clinical Research Training Fellowship within the group. I also presently supervise a MD student who will be investigating cell signalling in CLL cell motility using phosphoproteomics. I have also recently organised and orchestrated the groups move into a new laboratory within the University of Manchester

I am also involved with a project in Oxford which investigates antigenic peptides to malaria. This project is headed by Professor David Roberts and Dr John Burthem.