Corrado Santocanale received his Ph.D. in Cellular and Molecular Biology from the University of Milan, Italy under the co-supervision of Paolo Plevani and Giovanna Lucchini. As a postdoctoral fellow at the Imperial Cancer Research Fund (now Cancer Research UK) in John Diffley’s laboratory, Corrado studied the mechanisms that control the initiation of DNA replication uncovering the “origin firing checkpoint”, a pathway that prevents the activation of late firing origins in response to the inhibition of replication elongation or DNA damage. In 1999 Corrado joined Pharmacia Upjohn (subsequently Pharmacia Corp. Pfizer and Nerviano Medical Sciences) to lead a preclinical drug discovery program aimed at discovering and developing CDC7 kinase inhibitors as anti-cancer therapeutics. In 2007 Corrado moved to Galway to start an academic lab in NUIG. The primary interest of the lab is studying the mechanisms of DNA replication in human cells and exploiting the results in this field for therapeutic purposes.

Dr. Michael Rainey

Michael obtained his B.Sc in biochemistry and M. Res. from the University of Manchester, UK. He then went on to complete a Ph.D. at the Beatson Institute for Cancer Research and the University of Glasgow where he investigated the role of DNA integrity checkpoint pathways in cell cycle regulation and cancer. In particular he was focused on studying the role of CHK2 in the response to DNA damage and replication stress using chicken DT40 cells as a model system. Michael’s interest in the DNA damage response pathways continued as a Post-doctoral Fellow in the Laboratory of Prof. Michael Kastan, St Jude’s Hospital, Memphis, USA characterizing novel small molecule inhibitors of ATM kinase. Michael joined the Santocanale lab in 2008 and has continued to work in this laboratory as a Post-Doctoral researcher funded by several research grant awards from Science Foundation Ireland and Breast Cancer Now. The main focus of Michael’s work currently is understanding how human breast cancer cells respond to CDC7 kinase inhibition and what the genetic determinants are that affect responses. Using CRISPR/Cas9 genome-wide screening approaches he aims to identify novel genetic interactions, that will advance our understanding of how CDC7 regulates DNA replication, and genetic vulnerabilities that can be exploited by therapeutic strategies.

Dr Anja Göder


Anja obtained her B.Sc and M.Sc in Biological Sciences at the University of Konstanz, Germany, her Bachelor and Master thesis both focused on the regulation of the DNA damage response in human primary and cancer cells. At the University Medical Center of the Johannes Gutenberg University, Mainz Anja obtained a PhD in Biology for her investigation into the modulation of the replication stress response by histone deacetylases. During this work Anja demonstrated that class I histone deacetylase activity maintains the integrity of cell cycle checkpoints upon replication stress by regulating the PR130-PP2A phosphatase complex. In 2019 Anja joined the Santocanale lab as a Post-doctoral researcher to investigate the kinase CDC7 and how its binding partners DBF4 and DRF1 contribute to its different cellular roles.

Daniel Shamavu


Daniel obtained his B.Sc in Immunology in Trinity College Dublin. His thesis focused on how the immunometabolism of macrophages can be regulated by metabolites derived from the TCA cycle. He joined Prof. Santocanale’s in October 2021 as a Research Master’s student. He is now a PhD candidate and his project focuses on uncovering how the cellular activity of CDC7 inhibitors is modulated by cyclin dependent kinases.

Stefanus Bernard


Stefanus Bernard is a PhD researcher funded by SFI Centre for Research Training in Genomics Data Science. He obtained his B.Sc. in Bioinformatics from the Indonesia International Institute for Life Sciences (i3L) at Jakarta, Indonesia. He originally developed interest in cancer genomics. However, during the COVID-19 pandemic and in his final year, he spent most of his time in the research of SARS-CoV-2. His thesis focused on the bioinformatics pipelines for the analysis of SARS-CoV-2. This led him to join GSI Lab to assist the COVID-19 genomic surveillance in Indonesia for nearly a year before moving to  Ireland to pursue his PhD. As team member in this lab he is pursuing his original passion in cancer genomics. His project focuses on the functional genomics analysis of potential drug candidates for cancer therapy using the combination of genome-wide CRISPR/Cas9 knock-out screens and a next-generation sequencing approaches.

Former Members

Aisling Quinlan, PhD

In the lab 2015-2022.

Currently working in APC Ltd,

Dublin Ireland

Chiara Cazzaniga, PhD

In the lab 2018-2022.

Currently Postdoctoral researcher at University of Dundee, UK

Rachel O’Dea, PhD

In the lab 2014-2020.

The best organiser of social events

Currently postdoc in the lab of Malte Gerschat at the Max Planck Institute, Dortmund, DE

Jacqueline Corso , Erasmus

In the lab March-August 2022 

Masterm student in Medical Biotechnology

University of Urbino, IT

Kevin Wu, PhD

In lab 2011-2016.

Currently: Postdoc, MRC Protein Phosphorylation and Ubiquitylation Unit, University of Dundee, Scotland

Aisling O’Connor, PhD

In the lab 2012-2017,

Currently Postdoc at Children’s Medical Research Institute, Westmead, NSW, Australia

Alessandro Natoni, Postdoc

In the lab from 2009-2012, then our best neighbour till 2019

Currently Senior Researcher at Università Sapienza, Rome, IT

Edel McGarry, PhD

In the lab 2012-2016

Currently Medical Science Liaison for UCB Pharma Ireland Immunology Franchise, IE

David Gaboriau, Postdoc

in the lab 2012-2015

Currently staff scientist at FILM – Facility for Imaging by Light Microscopy, Imperial college London, UK

Gemma O’Brian, Research Assistant

In the lab 2008-2012

Currently Scientist at Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, Limerick, IE

Ashton Scully, MSc

In the lab Jan-Sept 2015

Currently QC analyst in Pfizer, Dublin, IE


Huong Quachthithu, PhD

In the lab 2013-2017

Currently Molecular Biologist at Waterford Institute of Technology, Waterford, IE

Jake McAuliffe, MSc

In the lab Jan-Sept 2017

Currently PhD candidate at NUI Galway, IE

Melania Eva Zanchetta, Postdoc

In the lab March-December 2020

Currently postdoc at aInternational School for Advanced Studies (SISSA), Trieste, IT   

Oliviano Martella, Research Assistant

In the lab 2018-2020

Currently in Menphis, US

Guan-Nan Wang, Postdoc

In the lab 2012-2015

Currently Senior Scientist at Procter & Gamble, Beijing, China

Raffaella D’Auria, MSc

In the lab 2008-2010 – our first postgraduate student!

Currently scientific and technical staff at University of Salerno, IT

Sara Przetocka, Erasmus

In the lab summer 2012

Currently  Postdoc at the Salk Institute, San Diego, US

Abimbola Owonifari, MSc

In the lab Jan-Aug 2020 (mostly when labs were closed)

Currently Healthcare Assistant at RCSI, Dublin, IE

Anna Kliszczak, PhD

In the lab 2008-2012 when I developed the DmChP.

Currently Viral Immunology Research Assistant at University of Oxford, UK.

Peter Walsh, MSc

In the lab Jan-Sept 2018

Currently PhD Candidate at the CRUK Beatson Institute, Glasgow, Scotland

Ilenia Cappadona, Erasmus

In the lab Jan-March 2020, and then I had to escape the pandemic… 

Currently PhD candidate at University of Messina, IT


Veronica Muratore, Erasmus

In the lab March-July 2017

Currently PhD candidate at Functional Genomics Unit
CIC bioGUNE, Bilbao, Spain

Niamh Ni Chuile, MSc

In the lab January-July 2022.

Cancer Research Masters student

Currently Scientific Editor at Frontiers

Olivia Schneider 

In the lab September – December 2022 

Visiting student from Notre Dame University, USA 

Currently finishing my undergraduate studies at Notre Dame