Stavridis, Marios


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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.


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

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  • 15 Similar Profiles
Embryonic Stem Cells Medicine & Life Sciences
Stem cells Chemical Compounds
Genes Medicine & Life Sciences
Intellectual Disability Medicine & Life Sciences
Stem Cells Medicine & Life Sciences
Missense Mutation Medicine & Life Sciences
Fibroblast Growth Factors Medicine & Life Sciences
Methylation Chemical Compounds

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Projects 2013 2016

Research Output 2003 2019

1 Citation (Scopus)

A missense mutation in the catalytic domain of O-GlcNAc transferase links perturbations in protein O-GlcNAcylation to X-linked intellectual disability

Pravata, V. M., Gundogdu, M., Bartual, S. G., Ferenbach, A. T., Stavridis, M., Õunap, K., Pajusalu, S., Žordania, R., Wojcik, M. H. & van Aalten, D. M. F., 7 Nov 2019, In : FEBS Letters.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Missense Mutation
Intellectual Disability
Catalytic Domain
X ray crystallography
Stem cells
1 Citation (Scopus)
73 Downloads (Pure)

Catalytic deficiency of O-GlcNAc transferase leads to X-linked intellectual disability

Pravata, V., Muha, V., Gundogdu, M., Ferenbach, A., Kakade, P., Vandadi, V., Wilmes, A. C., Borodkin, V., Joss, S., Stavridis, M. & van Aalten, D., 23 Jul 2019, In : Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 116, 30, p. 14961-14970 10 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Open Access
Intellectual Disability
Host Factor 1 Protein
Missense Mutation
Catalytic Domain
11 Citations (Scopus)
139 Downloads (Pure)

mRNA Cap methylation in pluripotency and differentiation

Grasso, L., Suska, O., Davidson, L., Gonatopoulos-Pournatzis, T., Williamson, R., Wasmus, L., Wiedlich, S., Peggie, M., Stavridis, M. P. & Cowling, V. H., 2 Aug 2016, In : Cell Reports. 16, 5, p. 1352-1365 14 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Open Access
Random access storage
Messenger RNA
Gene expression
8 Citations (Scopus)
134 Downloads (Pure)

Neural differentiation of mouse embryonic stem cells in serum-free monolayer culture

Wongpaiboonwattana, W. & Stavridis, M. P., 14 May 2015, In : JoVE: Journal of Visualized Experiments. 99, e52823.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Open Access
Embryonic Stem Cells
Stem cells
Cell culture
23 Citations (Scopus)
358 Downloads (Pure)

Elevated O-GlcNAc levels activate epigenetically repressed genes and delay mouse ES cell differentiation without affecting naive to primed cell transition

Speakman, C. M., Domke, T. C. E., Wongpaiboonwattana, W., Sanders, K., Mudaliar, M., van Aalten, D. M. F., Barton, G. J. & Stavridis, M. P., Oct 2014, In : Stem Cells. 32, 10, p. 2605-2615

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Open Access
Embryonic Stem Cells
Embryoid Bodies
Cell Differentiation

Activities 2007 2013

External PhD examiner

Marios Stavridis (Examiner)
30 Jan 2013

Activity: Examination typesExamination

External Masters Examiner

Marios Stavridis (Examiner)
7 Oct 2013

Activity: Examination typesExamination

Journal of Biomarkers (Journal)

Marios Stavridis (Editor)

Activity: Publication peer-review and editorial work typesEditorial activity

Dundee Science Festival 2011

Marios Stavridis (Organiser)
10 Nov 2011

Activity: Participating in or organising an event typesFestival/Exhibition

7th International Conference on Proteoglycans

Marios Stavridis (Invited speaker)
Oct 2011

Activity: Participating in or organising an event typesParticipation in conference


A novel role for Sprouty2 in co-ordinating airway and vascular growth of the fetal lung.

Author: Walker, D. J., 2013

Supervisor: Land, S. (Supervisor) & Stavridis, M. (Supervisor)

Student thesis: Master's ThesisMaster of Science


Construction and use of a Sox1 reporter line to study embryonic stem cell differentiation

Author: Stavridis, M., 2002

Supervisor: Smith, A. (External person) (Supervisor)

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy

O-linked N-acetylglucosamine in differentiation and gene expression of mouse and human pluripotent stem cells

Author: Domke, T. C. E., 2016

Supervisor: Stavridis, M. (Supervisor)

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


Study of O-GlcNAc modification during capacitation of human sperm

Author: Stamatiadis, P., 2013

Supervisor: Stavridis, M. (Supervisor)

Student thesis: Master's ThesisMaster of Science


The regulation of mouse embryonic stem cell differentiation by Nrf2

Author: Wongpaiboonwattana, W., 2017

Supervisor: Stavridis, M. (Supervisor) & Dinkova-Kostova, A. (Supervisor)

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy