Alex Rhys

Alex Rhys

Molecular Oncology
PhD Student

Before coming to BCI I did an integrated Masters degree in Biochemistry at the University of Bath. I undertook two industrial placements during my time there, the first at the University of Surrey, looking at the role of NADPH oxidase in atherosclerosis.

The second was here at BCI using oncolytic adenovirus. I then took a sabbatical year our as Education Officer at the University of Bath Students’ Union before starting my PhD.

My research focuses on a particular piece of machinery found within cells called the centrosome, which is important for co-ordinating microtubules, necessary for cell motility, shape and division.

Interestingly a lot of cancer cells contain extra centrosomes, which in a normal cell would end up in them dying. Cancer cells are able to adapt however, so my research is trying to better understand that adaptation mechanism, and how we can use that as a therapeutic target to help kill those cells.

Life at the Institute

Working at BCI is a fantastic environment, with over 200 researchers all working to help beat cancer. Having all these researchers under one roof means we can more easily share our knowledge and collaborate on the research we do, bringing different expertise and insights.


I recently attended and presented at a week long conference in Spetses, which is one of the Greek islands, so that was an amazing experience. Sitting down having beach discussions with some of the world’s leading scientists was definitely surreal.

As well as that when I worked here as part of my undergraduate degree a group of us from BCI undertook the Wales 3000 challenge to raise money. It was certainly hard, but a huge achievement.

Low Points

I spent months trying to CRISPR a protein, after repeatedly getting great knock down but no knockout we finally found out our antibody was also recognising another protein, so turns out I had knockout all along. I’m trying to think of how many more months I would have wasted if we hadn’t found out, rather than dwell on all the ones that I did lose.

I wish I'd known...

How much of a rollercoaster science can be – sometimes your experiments work and you’re on top of the world, other times they just don’t and you spend your time trying to work out what’s going wrong. That can be draining, and you just need to keep your head up and know it’ll get better.

Future Plans

I plan to become a post-doctoral researcher.

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