Marcus Wilson

Help to classify real data online and accelerate cures for cancer! Get involved now!

Favourite Thing: Totally crazy experiments that your sure will not work. Most of the time they don’t, but sometimes you get lucky…



I went to schools in Essex before going to Oxford (2005-2009) to do my degree.


I have a Masters in Biochemistry

Work History:

When I was at school and university I worked in lots of kitchens (you usually get free food). Since 2009 I’ve been working full time on my PhD

Current Job:

I’m a PhD student (not technically a job but we still get paid)


Cancer Research UK

Me and my work

I look at ‘car crashes’ on DNA – between proteins and DNA damage – and how these are fixed.

The genetic information, found in DNA, contains a complete set of instructions that make you, you.  These instructions are read, and a ‘photocopy’ made, by a protein called RNA polymerase II. DNA is damaged every day, and RNA Polymerase II gets “stuck” when it reaches a damaged area of DNA.

Now, not only can RNA Polymerase II no longer do its essential job: but it is so big that it blocks repair kit proteins that normally fix the damaged DNA. This leaves cells with damaged DNA, potentially leading to cancer.

To prevent this happening, the cell somehow gets rid of RNA Polymerase II when its gets stuck. I’m looking at how this happens.

My Typical Day

I’m on my feet most of the time doing experiments in the lab.

What I'd do with the money

Arrange for school kids, like yourselves, could go to one of the fantastic British Science Festivals.

My Interview

How would you describe yourself in 3 words?

I like baking

Who is your favourite singer or band?

errr too many, I relaly like the new Mumford & Sons album.

What is the most fun thing you've done?

I recenty jumped out of a plane! Luckily I had a parachute on!

If you had 3 wishes for yourself what would they be? - be honest!

What did you want to be after you left school?

Either a Scientist or a Chef. I think if you are good at one you will be good at the other.

Were you ever in trouble in at school?

No, I was a model student [sarcasm].

What's the best thing you've done as a scientist?

One of the coolest was shooting tiny crystals with high power X-rays. they are super-cooled but blow up in less than a second.

Tell us a joke.

Why do cows wear bells? Because their horns don’t work!

Other stuff

Work photos:


My lab bench



My Desk (believe it or not I cleared up for this photo!)



What happened when everything fell out of my folder.



My pretty, fluorescent yeast.