Dr Chris Tselepis

Chris Tselepis.School of Cancer Sciences Day 1 110311.
Dr Chris Tselepis is a Senior Lecturer at the University of Birmingham with an interest in gut cancer biology. Specifically his research focuses on exploring the role of dietary iron in intestinal disease and how this knowledge can be used to develop novel therapies.

Senior Lecturer, Institute of Cancer Genomic Sciences, College of Medical and Dental Sciences, University of Birmingham. 

Email: c.tselepis@bham.ac.uk

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Background and Research Focus

Chris is a Senior Lecturer in the Institute of Cancer and Genomic Sciences with a long-standing interest in gastrointestinal disease. Chris’s group in collaboration with Prof Tariq Iqbal (Consultant Gastroenterologists UHB) focuses specifically on the role of iron and the intestinal microbiome in intestinal disease.  His group has demonstrated that deregulation of proteins involved in iron metabolism are crucial to the development of several different cancers including oesophageal and colorectal cancer. These changes are associated with a modulation in a number of molecular pathways and most recently we have described the importance of various predisposing mutations in determining the impact of iron on tumourigenesis.  Current research involves utilizing iron chelators as a mechanism of inhibiting free reactive iron in the gut and thus a platform for therapeutic intervention. Iron also impacts on the intestinal microbiota and thus our research group is focusing on identifying how iron modulates the microbiome and how iron chelators might impact on this. Finally, in the context of inflammatory bowel disease we are also interested in determining the efficacy of faecal transplantation in the management of these patients and specifically defining the bacterial strains which are associated with a clinical improvement. Once defined the group will begin to encapsulate these strains into unique formulations which will alleviate the need for faecal transplants.



Cancer Cell Biology; gastrointestinal cancer; inflammatory bowel disease, iron chelation


Other activities

Chris has forged strong collaborations with both experts in the Schools of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering at the University of Birmingham and from Industry to further develop iron chelation technologies. This has led to the discovery of highly promising dietary iron chelators to treat cancer and culminated in several pending patents. Chris has published in excess of 60 research articles in the field of cancer and iron metabolism. He has received funding from the Cancer Research UK, BBSRC, WCRF, CORE and the UHB Charities. Alongside his research, Chris has made substantial contributions to teaching both undergraduate and post graduate students. Most pertinently he currently serves as Programme Director for the undergraduate Biomedical Science programme. He is also module lead on the ‘Digestive system’ module which is delivered as a core MBChB module to all 400 first year medical students. Finally, he contributes to a host of Cancer Research UK/University of Birmingham outreach activities.



Phillips E, Horniblow RD, Poole V, Bedford M, Ward DG, Kirkham AJ, Tomlinson J, Iqbal TH, Tselepis C. A potential role for hepcidin in obesity-driven colorectal tumourigenesis. Oncol Rep. 2018 Jan;39(1):392-400. doi: 10.3892/or.2017.6062. Epub 2017 Oct 31.


Horniblow RD, Henesy D, Iqbal TH, Tselepis C. Modulation of iron transport, metabolism and reactive oxygen status by quercetin-iron complexes in vitro. Mol Nutr Food Res. 2017 Mar;61(3). mnfr.201600692.


Lal N, Willcox CR, Beggs A, Taniere P, Shikotra A, Bradding P, Adams R, Fisher D, Middleton G, Tselepis C*, Willcox BE*. Endothelial protein C receptor is overexpressed in colorectal cancer as a result of amplification and hypomethylation of chromosome 20q. J Pathol Clin Res. 2017 Jul 14;3(3):155-170. * joint last authors


Horniblow RD, Bedford M, Hollingworth R, Evans S, Sutton E, Lal N, Beggs A, Iqbal TH, Tselepis C. BRAF mutations are associated with increased iron regulatory protein-2 expression in colorectal tumorigenesis. Cancer Sci. 2017 Jun;108(6):1135-1143.


Horniblow RD, Latunde-Dada GO, Harding SE, Schneider M, Almutairi FM, Sahni M, Bhatti A, Ludwig C, Norton IT, Iqbal TH, Tselepis C. The chelation of colonic luminal iron by a unique sodium alginate for the improvement of gastrointestinal health. Mol Nutr Food Res. 2016 Sep;60(9):2098-108.


Horniblow RD, Dowle M, Iqbal TH, Latunde-Dada GO, Palmer RE, Pikramenou Z, Tselepis C. Alginate-Iron Speciation and Its Effect on In Vitro Cellular Iron Metabolism. PLoS One. 2015 Sep 17;10(9):e0138240.


Nguyen HV, Sallustrau A, Balzarini J, Bedford MR, Eden JC, Georgousi N, Hodges NJ, Kedge J, Mehellou Y, Tselepis C, Tucker JH. Organometallic nucleoside analogues with ferrocenyl linker groups: synthesis and cancer cell line studies. J Med Chem. 2014 Jul 10;57(13):5817-22.


Bedford MR, Ford SJ, Horniblow RD, Iqbal TH, Tselepis C. Iron chelation in the treatment of cancer: a new role for deferasirox? J Clin Pharmacol. 2013 Sep;53(9):885-91.


Ford SJ, Obeidy P, Lovejoy DB, Bedford M, Nichols L, Chadwick C, Tucker O, Lui GY, Kalinowski DS, Jansson PJ, Iqbal TH, Alderson D, Richardson DR, Tselepis C. Deferasirox (ICL670A) effectively inhibits oesophageal cancer growth in vitro and in vivo. Br J Pharmacol. 2013 Mar;168(6):1316-28.