Serena Nik-Zainal

Serena is a Group Leader at the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute and explores patterns of mutations (or signatures) that arise in human cells to understand how DNA damage and DNA repair processes contribute towards aging and cancer. She is also an Honorary Consultant in Clinical Genetics at Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust. Serena hunts for mutation signatures in large cancer datasets using computational approaches. She explores these signatures biologically through cell-based model systems. Serena runs a clinical project, Insignia (, recruiting patients with DNA repair/replication defects, aging syndromes and neurodegeneration, and people who have been exposed to environmental/occupational mutagens, to gain biological insights into mutational phenomena in these patients.