skip to primary navigationskip to content

Dr George Vassiliou

107-Vassiliou-2017Dr George Vassiliou

Leukaemic haemopoietic stem cells


Laboratory: Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute.

Departmental Affiliation: Haematology



George Vassiliou graduated from the Royal London Hospital Medical College in 1994, having obtained an intercalated BSc in Pharmacology with Basic Medical Sciences in 1991. He carried out his basic medical training in London and Cambridge and became a member of the Royal College of Physicians in 1997. He went on to train in Haematology at the Hammersmith and Great Ormond Street Hospitals, and received his PhD from the University of Cambridge in 2005. After completing his Haematology training in Cambridge, he became a Member of the Royal College of Pathologists in 2005 and from 2006-11 carried out a postdoctoral period in Allan Bradley’s Laboratory at the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, funded by a Cancer Research UK Clinician Scientist Fellowship. In 2011 he won a Wellcome Trust Senior Fellowship in Clinical Science and became a member of Faculty and Group Leader at the Sanger Institute. He joined the Faculty of the Cambridge Stem Cell Institute in 2015. Additionally, he has been an honorary Consultant Haematologist at Cambridge University Hospitals since 2006.



Cancer Research UK


Vassiliou research 2018



The Vassiliou Group seeks to understand the cell-autonomous and cell-non-autonomous processes involved in transformation of normal to leukaemic haemopoietic stem cells and to identify genetic vulnerabilities of myeloid malignancies that can be exploited as targets of novel anti-leukaemic therapies. 

To achieve these aims the group uses three main approaches: 

  • Generation and study of bespoke mouse models of somatic mutation drivers of myeloid malignancies, in order to define their molecular, genomic and phenotypic effects on haemopoietic stem and progenitor cells
  • Application of genetic screens to identify the molecular pathways involved in the transformation of HSCs (transposon mutagenesis) and the survival of leukaemic stem cells (genome-wide CRISP Cas9 screens)
  • Deep sequencing approaches to detect and track the evolution of subclinical haemopoietic clones in healthy individuals, in order to understand the factors involved in leukaemic progression.


850 Vassiliou group 2 1ratio


Group Members

Faisal Basheer, Vijay Baskar, Grace Collord, Etienne De Braekeleer, Oliver Dovey, Monika Dudek, Margaret Fabre, Dimitris Garyfallos, Gonia Gozdecka, Muxin Gu, Suruchi Pacharne, Konstantinos Tzelepis. 


Plain English

Blood stem cells live in the bone marrow and are responsible for the production of the cells of the blood and the immune system. Like all cells, blood stem cells accumulate random DNA mutations with time in every one of us. In some unfortunate individuals these changes affect genes that make the stem cells grow uncontrollably leading to the development of Acute Myeloid Leukaemia or AML, an aggressive cancer that kills more than 7 out of 10 sufferers. Our group investigates many aspects of AML from how it develops, whether we can identify people who are at risk of developing it, how gene mutations make AML cells grow uncontrollably, how we detect the mutation in each individual AML and most importantly how to identify the "weaknesses" od AML in order to develop new treatments against this lethal cancer.


Key Publications