KJ Patel is a PI at the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology in Cambridge where his lab investigates how cells and organisms repair DNA interstrand crosslinks. These are highly toxic lesions since they are a complete block to transcription and replication, and for this reason the chemicals that cause crosslinks are commonly used in chemotherapy. DNA crosslinks must arise naturally because of the presence of a rare human inherited illness, Fanconi’s anaemia (FA). This lethal genetically heterogeneous disease is associated with developmental defects, bone marrow failure, and marked cancer predisposition. Most recently work from his lab has uncovered that metabolism unleashes reactive molecules that are genotoxic to stem cells, and that a combination of clearance of such toxins and DNA repair protect stem cells against this threat. KJ Patel trained initially as a hepatobiliary physician prior to starting his career in research (all done at the MRC in Cambridge). He is a member of EMBO, and a fellow of the UK Academy of Medical Sciences (FMedSci) and recently was the recipient of the award of merit from the Fanconi Anaemia Research Fund (USA) for transformative research on this illness.
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