Dr. Marios P Stavridis



Division of Cancer Research
Medical Research Institute
Jacqui Wood Cancer Centre
University of Dundee
James Arrott Drive
Ninewells Hospital And Medical School

Phone Number:

+(44) 01382 383388

Email Address:



Marios got his first degree in genetics from the University of Wales, Cardiff in 1998. He then moved to Edinburgh to work with Austin Smith on the neural differentiation of embryonic stem cells where he completed his PhD studies in 2002. During that time he developed an interest in signal transduction and how it regulates stem cell behaviour. Following a short period with a small biotech company in Edinburgh where he worked on generating specific neural types from embryonic stem cells, he moved to Dundee to work with Kate Storey on the mechanisms controlling neural specification in vertebrate embryos and embryonic stem (ES) cells. He was awarded a MRC/BBSRC cross council career development fellowship in stem cell research which led to the identification of the Erk MAPK pathway as a critical early signal controlling ES cell differentiation. In 2009 he was appointed Lecturer in the College of Medicine, Dentistry and Nursing where his group continue the study of signals involved in ES cell differentiation onset. A recent interest in the group has been the regulation of signalling by O-GlcNAc modifications.

He is involved in various public engagement activities and has in the past given presentations to the general public and patient groups, co-ordinated pupil activities, organised a screening/discussion of a documentary on stem cell research and collaborated with a local artist for the production of stem cell-inspired paintings.


Our work focuses on the biochemical properties of pluripotent cells such as embryonic stem cells (mouse and human) and cells of the early embryo. Work in recent years has identified the Erk1/2 classical MAPK signalling pathway as the one required to initiate the differentiation of mouse and rat ES cells. These findings have led to the proposition that pluripotency is a “ground state” maintained extrinsically by protecting cells from differentiation signals (e.g. Fibroblast growth factor or Erk) or their consequences. However, human pluripotent cells may require this pathway for cell survival and/or proliferation suggesting that there may be fundamental differences between the control of differentiation of human and rodent early embryo cells.

We are interested in exploring these apparent differences and understanding their cause. For this we study the signalling pathways controlling self-renewal and differentiation of mouse and human pluripotent stem cell lines. Work is currently focussed on the mechanisms by which the Erk pathway initiates mouse ES cell differentiation, the role of O-GlcNAc signalling in controlling differentiation onset of pluripotent cells as well as creation of induced pluripotent stem cell lines for the study of hereditary cardiac arrhythmias from patients.


  • Pickford CE, Holley RJ, Rushton G, Stavridis MP, Ward CM and Merry CL (2011). Specific glycosaminoglycans modulate neural specification of mouse embryonic stem cells, Stem Cells, Apr; 29(4):629-40.
  • Stavridis MP, Collins BJ, and Storey KG.(2010) Retinoic acid orchestrates FGF signalling to drive embryonic stem cell differentiation, Development, March; 137(6):881-90.
  • Ekerot M, Stavridis MP, Delavaine L, Mitchell MP, Staples C , Owens DM, Keenan I, Dickinson RJ, Storey KG and Keyse SM.(2008) Negative feedback regulation of FGF signalling by DUSP6/MKP-3 is driven by ERK1/2 and mediated by Ets factor binding to a conserved site within the DUSP6/MKP-3 gene promoter. Biochem. Journal, Jun 1;412 (2): 287-98.
  • Stavridis MP, Lunn JS, Collins BJ and Storey KG1. (2007) A discrete period of FGF-induced Erk1/2 signalling is required for vertebrate neural specification. Development, Aug; 134 (16); 2289-94.
  • Johnson CE, Crawford BE, Stavridis M, Ten Dam G, Wat AL, Rushton G, Ward CM, Wilson V, van Kuppevelt TH, Esko JD, Smith A, Gallagher JT and Merry CL. (2007) Essential Alterations of Heparan Sulfate during the Differentiation of Embryonic Stem Cells to Sox1-EGFP Expressing Neural Progenitor Cells. Stem Cells. Apr 27; 25 (8): 1913-23.
  • Ying Q-L, Stavridis M, Griffiths D, Li M and Smith A (2003) Conversion of embryonic stem cells into neuroectodermal precursors in adherent monoculture. Nat. Biotech., 21(2): 183-186.
  • Stavridis MP and Smith AG (2003) Neural differentiation of mouse embryonic stem cells. Biochem. Soc. Trans., 31(1): 45-49.
  • Aubert J, Stavridis MP, O’ Reilly M, Vierlinger K, Li M, Tweedie S, Ghazal P, Pratt T, Mason JO, Roy D and Smith AG. (2003) Screening for mammalian neural genes via FACS purification of neural precursors from Sox1-gfp mice. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. Sep 30; 100 (Suppl 1): 11836-41         


3rd year: Developmental Biology (BI3102)

Honours: Reproduction (4A15)

Honours: Stem Cells and Regeneration (Module leader) (4B10)

Post graduate: MRes Cancer Biology (Module 6 co-ordinator)