Stavridis, Marios



Research activity per year

Personal profile


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 embryonic stem cell lines. In collaboration with the assisted conception unit in Ninewells Hospital we aim to study the same processes in human embryos donated for research. We envisage that a better understanding of early embryo development will lead to better conditions for IVF treatment and higher success rates. Additionally, elucidation of the precise mechanisms of pluripotent cell differentiation is a prerequisite for any potential use of such cells (ES or iPS) for therapeutic purposes.


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)



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.

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being


  • Q Science (General)
  • Stem cell research
  • Biochemistry
  • signal transduction
  • cancer research
  • neural development


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