Institute of Dentistry

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Professor Ian Mackenzie


Professor of Stem Cell Science

Telephone: +44 20 7882 7159
Room Number: Blizard Building


Professor Ian Mackenzie studied initially at Queen Mary and then trained in Dentistry at the London Hospital Medical and Dental School. He then did various house surgeon and registrar jobs in oral surgery at The London Hospital Oral Surgery and studied for his Fellowship at the Royal College of Surgeons, England. He subsequently did a PhD in Oral Pathology. He then moved to the USA for over twenty years, directing research institutes at the Universities of Iowa and Texas. He then moved to the University of Michigan where he was a member of the Comprehensive Cancer Center. Before returning to London, he was Vice Dean for Research at the University of Wales School of Medicine and Dentistry in Cardiff. During studies for his PhD he developed interests in the cellular mechanisms involved in the maintenance of skin and oral mucosa and these remain the basis of his continuing interests in stem cells, tissue renewal, and cancer.


Research Interests:

Ian Mackenzie's research interests relate mainly to mechanisms that control normal and pathological epithelial differentiation and spatial organization with particular interests in periodontal structure, the identification, renewal, and characterisation of somatic stem cells, and the behaviour stem cell in malignant tissues.

Currently his group investigates various aspects of the normal and pathological behaviour of epithelial stem cells in relation to cell renewal, tissue engineering and cancer. Work examines the potential value of re-differentiation of somatic stem cells in tissue engineering and the roles of oxygen in stem cell survival, but the current major interest of the group is the hierarchical pattern of stem cell proliferation demonstrable in oral malignancies. Work examines how stem cell properties affect the initiation and growth of malignant lesions and the nature of the molecular mechanisms controlling asymmetric stem cell divisions and phenotypic stability. Recent work has focused on the role of epithelial-mesenchymal-transition (EMT) in endowing malignant stem cells with motility, an attribute particularly important for initiating tumour metastasis and generating therapeutic resistance. These motile cells are observed escaping from stationary colonies of cells in vitro and are easily identifiable by their elongated morphologies and antibody staining patterns. It has been shown that EMT of cancer stem cells is markedly enhanced by hypoxia and by various cytokines, findings that relate roles of stroma to modulation of stem cell behaviour and tumour recurrence. The group is funded by MRC/NC3Rs, Barts and The London Charitable Foundation, the Saving Faces Research Foundation, and the Fanconi Anemia Research Fund.

Selected Publications:

PhD Supervision

Opportunities are available for laboratory or clinical studies of cancer stem cells.

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