Celebrating Lister Prize Fellow Marco Di Antonio

Another joyful awards event took place this June when 2022 Lister Prize Fellow Dr Marco Antonio welcomed guests to a seminar and presentation ceremony at the Chemistry Department of Imperial College London.

Lister Institute Chair Prof John Iredale and Lister Institute Director Dr Sally Burtles joined Marco, his research team, and assembled friends and colleagues to present the Prize and hear a talk about Marco’s latest research.

Marco, who has also recently received a 2023 International Chemical Biology Society (ICBS) Young Chemical Biologist Award, runs a satellite laboratory at the Francis Crick Institute. His research focuses on how DNA is chemically and structurally modified during the ageing process, and how this relates to disease progression and age-related health conditions.

Marco plans to use the funding provided by the Lister Prize to investigate the possibilities of targeting DNA and RNA structures with small molecules. This could open the door to new kinds of therapy for illnesses like cancer.“I am deeply honoured to receive this prestigious prize and my deepest gratitude goes to my team members, all of whom tirelessly work towards our research goals,” Marco said.

Head of Imperial College’s Chemistry Department, Prof Oscar Ces, kicked off the event with a welcome speech and introduction. Marco then took the stage and gave his presentation, explaining what is known so far about structural DNA and RNA changes in chronic diseases such as ALS (amyotropic lateral sclerosis), otherwise known as motor neurone disease, and ovarian cancer. It seems that these changes could be the cause of disease progression, and Marco and his team are working to characterise them using tools from chemical biology as well as genomics.

“This flexible funding will allow us to really go for blue sky research, enabling my team to challenge some dogmas around nucleic acids biology,” Marco said of the Prize.

Find out more about Marco’s work here: https://www.imperial.ac.uk/diantonio-research-group/