Dr Sarah Marzi
Edmond and Lily Safra Research Fellow
Place of work / study:
UK Dementia Research Institute at Imperial College London
Area of Research:
Epigenetic regulation in neurodegenerative disease
How is your work funded?
Edmond J. Safra Foundation, UK Dementia Research Institute, Alzheimer’s Association
Tell us a little about yourself:
I am a group leader at Imperial College’s Dementia Research Institute and I am interested in epigenetic regulation in neurodegenerative disease, focussing specifically on the molecular drivers of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease. My lab uses a combination of wet lab and computational genomics approaches to understand the regulatory consequences of environmental and genetic risk factors of neurodegenerative disease.
A mathematician and psychologist by training, I first entered the field of epigenetics during PhD at King’s College London with Jonathan Mill. My PhD investigated epigenetic signatures in human brain associated with ageing and neurodegeneration, as well as DNA modifications associated with early-life stress and victimisation. As part of this research, I identified widespread differences in histone acetylation in Alzheimer’s disease compared to neuropathology-free brain, linking these epigenetic marks with genetic risk burden and gene expression signatures. I then worked as a postdoc with Vardhman Rakyan at Queen Mary University of London, focussed on gene-environment interactions following developmental nutritional stress. At the end of 2019 I joined Imperial College London and the UK DRI to start my own lab.
Tell us a fun fact about yourself:
I love music and I sing in multiple choirs. I recently recorded a CRISPR-Cas9 themed version of ‘Mister Sandman’ for the annual UK DRI meeting, which you can check out here: https://t.co/WvzktwjDps?amp=1.
Why did you choose to work in dementia?
Throughout my maths degree I realised that I wanted to apply my quantitative skills to a field in which I can make a difference to human health. I had always been interested in the brain, including psychiatric and neurological diseases – hence the psychology degree. Using my data science skills to understand the mechanisms underlying neurodegenerative diseases seemed a perfect fit.