Portrait of Professor Martin Michaelis

Professor Martin Michaelis

Professor of Molecular Medicine
Biosciences Athena Swan Co-ordinator


Martin Michaelis received his Pharmacy Degree (Approbation, 1998) and his PhD (2001) from the Goethe-University, Frankfurt am Main, Germany. He then worked as postdoc and later deputy group leader in the research group of Professor Jindrich Cinatl at the Institute of Medical Virology (Goethe-University, Frankfurt am Main, Germany) and the Dr Petra Joh-Forschungshaus, a private research institute run by the Frankfurter Stiftung für krebskranke Kinder in Frankfurt am Main. In 2011, Martin joined the University of Kent. He runs a joint wet/ dry laboratory research group together with Dr Mark Wass.

ORCID ID: 0000-0002-5710-5888

Research interests

The research of Professor Michaelis is focused on the identification and investigation of drugs and their mechanisms of action. The primary interest lies on acquired drug resistance in cancer. In collaboration with Professor Jindrich Cinatl (Goethe-University, Frankfurt am Main), he manages and develops the Resistant Cancer Cell Line (RCCL) Collection a unique collection of >1,300 cancer cell lines with acquired resistance to anti-cancer drugs.
In addition, Professor Michaelis is interested in virulence mechanisms and therapeutic targets in viruses and in meta-research that investigates research practices in the life sciences.


  • Virology - BI620  
  • Frontiers in Oncology - BI639
  • Cancer Biology - BI642 
  • The Molecular and Cellular Basis of Cancer - BI837 
  • Cancer Therapeutics - BI840 
  • Viral Pathogens - BI856 
  • Cancer Research in Focus - BI857 


MSc-R project available for 2019/20

Investigation of drug-adapted cancer cell lines joint supervision with Dr Mark Wass
We host the Resistant Cancer Cell Line (RCCL) collection, the worldwide largest collection of drug-adapted cancer cell lines and models of acquired drug resistance in cancer at Kent. In this project, drug-adapted cancer cell lines will be characterised and investigated to gain novel insights into the processes underlying resistance formation and to identify novel therapy candidates (including biomarkers).
Additional research costs: £1200  

Investigating determinants of virus pathogenicity  joint supervision with Dr Mark Wass
Our research has recently compared different species of Ebolaviruses to identify parts of their proteins that determine if they are pathogenic. This project will apply these computational approaches to different types of viruses (e.g. Zika virus, west Nile, human papillomavirus) to identify determinants of virus pathogenicity and gain insight into what make some viruses highly virulent while others are harmless. Additional research costs: £1200

Using cancer genomics to identify biomarkers of cancer resistance
joint supervision with Dr Mark Wass
At Kent we host the Resistant Cancer Cell Line (RCCL) collection, the largest collection of cancer cell lines worldwide that have been adapted to anti-cancer drugs. These cells represent a model of drug resistance in tumours. This project will analyse exome sequencing data of a set of cell lines to identify mechanisms of resistance and biomarkers.
Additional research costs £1200

Design of cancer cell-specific drug carrier systems (joint supervision Dr Christopher Serpell, School of Physical Sciences) The Serpell lab has produced perfectly sequence-defined polymers which self-assemble to give nanostructures with a remarkable variety of size and shape according to sequence and conditions (N. Appukutti, C. J. Serpell, Sequence Isomerism in Uniform Polyphosphoesters Programmes Self-Assembly and Folding, ChemRxiv, preprint posted 04.02.19,
DOI: https://doi.org/10.26434/chemrxiv.7666316.v1. In this project, the effects of the polymer nanostructure on cell uptake and therapeutic efficacy will be studied in different cancer cells. This will provide pioneering insights into the prospects of sequence-defined polymers as carrier systems for anti-cancer drugs.
Additional research costs: £1200

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