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Dr Elspeth (Beth) Payne MBChB PhD

Principal Investigator

I studied medicine at the University of Glasgow, intercalating at University College London in Psychology. I went on to complete my clinical post-graduate training in internal medicine in Oxford and Glasgow, followed by Specialist Haematology Training in London. I undertook my PhD at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston with Professor Tom Look on a T32 training fellowship from Harvard School of Public Health and the Greg Harper Clinical Research Training Fellowship from the LLR-UK (now Blood Cancer UK), studying ribosomal protein mediated disorders using zebrafish. I returned to UCL with a Wellcome Trust Intermediate Clinical Fellowship and Beit-Prize to continue some of this work and currently hold a CRUK Advanced Clinician Scientist Fellowship. I remain clinically active and am clinical lead at University College London Hospital for patients with Bone Marrow Failure and MDS. I also Chair the National Cancer Research Institute study group for MDS and co-lead a clinical study on quality of life in MDS patients. 


Outside of the lab I love to spend time doing power yoga and relaxing with my two young children.


Dr Alexandra Lubin PhD


I studied Natural Sciences at Jesus College at the University of Cambridge, specialising in Chemistry and graduating with my masters in 2014. From there I moved to Imperial College London where I completed my PhD in Chemical Biology ‘Epigenetic therapeutics in malaria – a chemical biological approach towards the validation of histone lysine methyltransferase inhibition in P. falciparum.’

I joined the Payne Lab as a post-doc in 2018. My main project is looking at understanding CEBPA-mutated AML, using zebrafish as a model organism.

Outside the lab I enjoy cooking, wine tasting and going on holiday!


Dr Helen Brown PhD



I am a postdoctoral researcher studying Diamond Blackfan Anaemia using zebrafish models. I studied Molecular and Cellular Biochemistry at the University of Oxford before doing my PhD in stem cell signalling in Greg Findlay's lab at the MRC PPU, University of Dundee.


In addition to my research, I am the UCL Pint of Science coordinator, helping share all the exciting science research done at UCL with the general public. Outside of science, I enjoy singing and baking.


Dr Catherine Zhu MBChB

MRC Clinical Research Fellow

Dr Catherine Zhu is investigating inflammatory changes in the bone marrow niche and clonal haematopoiesis of indeterminate potential (CHIP) to understand how these changes in ageing individuals can drive the evolution of cancer.


Dr Ellen Nuttall-Musson MBChB

MRC Clinical Research Fellow

Dr Ellen Nuttall-Musson started researching clonal haematopoiesis of indeterminate potential (CHIP) in the ELSA cohort during her NIHR Academic Clinical Fellowship in the laboratory in 2021, and returned to the Payne laboratory as an MRC Clinical Research Training Fellow


Katie-Jo Miller BBiomedsci (Hons)

Research Technician

I studied Biomedical Science at the University of Surrey and graduated with first class honours in 2021. After that I joined the Asim lab (University of Surrey) assisting research in prostate cancer, before joining the Payne lab in October 2022. Here, I am working on making a model of Myelodysplastic Syndrome in Zebrafish.

In my spare time I enjoy baking, arts and crafts and visiting museums. 

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Madison Hill BSc, BBiomedsci (Hons)

Research Technician

I have taken over the running of the Haematology Biobank and plan to assist on Payne lab projects. I studied Biochemistry at the University of Canterbury (NZ) then spent a year post-grad at the University of Otago (NZ) where I obtained a first class honours in Biomedical Sciences, specialising in the Molecular Basis of Health and Disease. Here I wrote my thesis titled "The Interaction of Amyloid-beta and Neutrophils in Alzheimers Disease". 


After graduating, I worked as a medical laboratory technician at New Zealand Clinical Research and then New Zealand Blood Service. In 2023 I travelled around Europe before joining the Payne Lab in 2024.

In my spare time I love baking, art, fitness and travelling.

Past lab members


Phoebe Dace

Research Technician


Project: Creating a transgenic zebrafish to model clonal heterogeneity and evolution of MDS.

Now studying for a PhD in Genome Function in the Findlay Lab, Francis Crick Institute

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Emma Burman

MPhil Student


Project: cancer and ageing: studying leukaemia & blood stem cell exhaustion in short-lived African killifish.

Now working as Viral Vector Research Scientist at Astrea Bioseparations Ltd

Past PhD students


Dr Catherine Hockings

MRC Clinical Research Fellow

Thesis title: Secondary driver mutations in CEBPA-mutated acute myeloid leukaemia.

Catherine received her PhD in February 2020.


Dr Oscar Peña

PhD student

Thesis title: Modelling haematopoietic malignancies using zebrafish.

Oscar received his PhD in February 2019. 

MSc Students and Destinations




















MSc Human Genetics (Imperial): Estela Moreno Aparicio 

MRes Biomedical Science (Imperial): Vivi Zeng 

MSci Pharmacology (UCL): Kayleigh Smith 

MSc Human Genetics (Imperial): Georgios Ntais

MSc Human Genetics (Imperial): Niki Giallouri - Merit

MRes Biosciences Genetics (UCL): Lucy Copper – (PhD Student University of Birmingham)

MSc Human Genetics (Imperial): Yahe Mohamud 

MSc Cancer (UCL): Harsha Bhatnagar - Distinction (PhD student, University of Zurich) 

MSc Human Genetics (Imperial): Nour Halibi - Merit  

MSc Human Genetics (Imperial): Christos Nicolau  

MSc Human Genetics (Imperial): Noreen Khokhar - Distinction (BBSRC LIDO PhD Student,  London) 

MSc Genetics of Human Disease (UCL): Victoria Deaner - Distinction  

MSc Human Genetics (Imperial): Hanna Lemmik - Distinction (Wellcome Trust PhD Student,  London) 

MSc Human Genetics (Imperial): Laura J Bruce - Distinction (Masters in Public Health and Epidemiology, Rutgers, New York)   

MSc Human Genetics (Imperial): Katrina Stone - Distinction (Clinical Academic, UCL) 

MSc Pharmacogenetics and Stratified Medicine (UCL): Sarah HoangDistinction  

MSc Cancer (UCL): Chianna Umamahesan (PhD - Kings College London) 

MSc Cancer (UCL): Andrea Michael - Merit (PhD - KIT, Germany ) 

MSc Drug Development (UCL): Youngrock Jung - Distinction (PhD - Imperial, London) 

MSc Human Genetics (Imperial): Ioannis Moustakas - Merit (Medical School, Athens) 

Undergraduate Students




Leya Dayal iBSc Oncology (UCL)

Roshan Jeyakumar – iBSc Oncology (UCL)

Sam Wain – iBSc Oncology (UCL)

Fiona Chegwidden – iBSc Oncology (UCL)

Tiffany Soon – BSc Biological Sciences (UCL) 2:1 

Ann-Marie Tong – BSc Biochemistry (UCL) - 1st class (Medical School-Hong Kong) 

Other Alumni






Abel Ruiz – Erasmus Placement (Barcelona)

Jasmine Rowell – Research Technician (BBSRC LIDO PhD Student, London)

Greg Contento – Research Technician (MRC PhD Student, UCL)

Greg Pietka – Post-Doc (Research Scientist, Royal Marsden Hospital) 

Maria Virgilio – Research Technician (PhD Student)

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