Dr Gianmarco Contino MD PhD

Dr Gianmarco Contino

Institute of Cancer and Genomic Sciences
Associate Professor of Cancer Genomic Medicine
Honorary Upper Gastrointestinal Surgery Consultant
Head of the Cancer Structural Variation and Aneuploidy Research Lab (c-StAR)

Contact details

Institute of Cancer and Genomic Sciences
College of Medical and Dental Sciences
University of Birmingham
B15 2TT

Gianmarco is a clinician scientist actively working in the field translational oncology of gastrointestinal cancers and cancer genomic medicine. He has established his research group at the University of Birmingham after training in molecular and surgical oncology at worldwide leading institutions. With his research team, he is tackling structural variation of cancer genomes to exploit the vulnerabilities of aneuploidy and develop novel diagnostic and therapeutic strategies for upper gastrointestinal cancers. He is also pioneering the use of structural variation in germline genomes to identify predisposition to cancers. His clinical practice focuses on the diagnosis and treatment of early cancer, advanced endoscopy and genomic-driven precision oncology. 

Gianmarco is passionate about all kind of science -in particular, genomics, oncology and physics – and cultivates an interest for philosophy, experimental theatre, jazz and classical music. Gianmarco also works in the field of medical epistemology with a focus on machine learning driven medicine and precision oncology. He is co-leading an AI working group initiative at the Von Hügel Institute, Cambridge University, UK.

See more on the Contino lab website.

COSMIC podcast series - streaming March 2023 -  Sanger Institute COSMIC podcast 


  • 2014   PhD - International program in Molecular and Translational Medicine (Hons), University of  Milan Bicocca
  • 2011   Residency/Board CCT - Residency programme in General Surgery (Surg. Oncology) (Hons), University of Milan, Italy
  • 2005   Medicine - Degree in Medicine and Surgery (Hons), University of Rome Tor Vergata, Italy

Postdocs and Clinical Fellowship

  • Clinical Lecturer and Honorary Clinical Fellow at University of Cambridge and Cambridge University Hospitals – Professor Rebecca Fitzgerald
  • UGI senior Fellow and Honorary Lecturer, Imperial College, London
  • Robotic Surgery Unit, University of Illinois at Chicago – Professor Pier Cristoforo Giulianotti
  • Mass General Hospital Cancer Center/Harvard Medical School, Boston – Professor Nabeel Bardeesy


Gianmarco Contino, MD PhD, is an Associate Professor of Cancer Genomic Medicine and an Honorary Upper Gastrointestinal Surgery Consultant at the University of Birmingham. He leads the Cancer Structural Variation and Aneuploidy Research Laboratory at the Institute of Cancer and Genomic Sciences of the University of Birmingham. Previously he was a Clinical lecturer at the University of Cambridge and Addenbrooke’s Hospital. He trained as a surgical oncologist and translational scientist in internationally renowned institutions including the European Institute of Oncology (Milan), Harvard Medical School and Mass General Hospital (Boston), University of Illinois at Chicago and Imperial College (London). He is also a member of the of the Von Hügel Institute of Cambridge University and a contract Professor at the Campus Biomedico University of Rome. He is member of several scientific and research societies and he is currently serving as the communication chair and gastrointestinal cancer subgroup chair of the EORTC Pathobiology Group. 

Gianmarco is a dedicated mentor of the next generation of scientists and oncologists and an advocate of equal access to science promoting the training of students from disadvantaged backgrounds. He is the director of the Clinical Oncology MSc and module lead of the Cancer Pathology and treatment module of the BMedSc Clinical Sciences programme at the University of Birmingham. 

He published extensively on molecular biology and cancer genomics of Pancreatic and Oesophageal Adenocarcinoma. His research has been supported by Cancer Research UK, American Italian Cancer Foundation, the Associazione Italiana per la Ricerca sul Cancro, Fondazione Umberto Veronesi, the National Institute for Health Research and the Imperial College NHS foundation. 


Gianmarco has an extensive teaching experience and leadership. He had teaching appointments at Havard Medical School,  Cambridge University Clinical School, University of Milan, University of Rome Campus Biomedico. 

Currently he is the Director of the MSc programme in Clinical Oncology and  Lead of the Cancer Pathology and Treatment module of the BMedSc Clinical Sciences programme.

He is also Postgraduate Clinical Lead for the Institute of Cancer and Genomic Sciences.

Postgraduate supervision

Gianmarco welcomes applications for PhD and  Postdocs. He has supervised multiple successful clinical and non-clinical PhD and MD projects. He supervises in the area of cancer genomics, somatic and germline structural variations, aneuploidy, gastrointestinal cancers, biomarker development, machine learning. Please contact Gianmarco if you are interested.


Research interests

Our mission is to understand how cancer cells adapt to and exploit aneuploidy.

We combine cutting edge functional genomics, bioinformatics and machine learning to develop diagnostic and therapeutic strategies to deliver the next generation of precision oncology based on large-scale alterations of cancer genomes. 

Current projects 

Please visit our website: www.continolab.org  

Establish models of aneuploidy in gastrointestinal cancers and in particular of Barrett’s oesophagus and oesophageal adenocarcinoma

Our lab is investigating the evolutionary routes that cancer genome follows during their accumulation of large-scale chromosomal rearrangements. We aim to understand what the molecular mechanisms of initiation and dependency of aneuploidy in cancer cells are. We combine developing cutting edge functional genomics and bioinformatic approaches to model aneuploidy in vitro and in large cohorts of cancer genomes.

Copy Number and Structural Variation based cancer genome-wide association studies

We are developing methods to unveil the heritability of Cancer Genome due to Copy Number and Structural Variation in germline genomes. We are developing a pan cancer pipeline leveraging on our collaboration with Genomics England and UK Biobank.

Novel Aneuploidy-Based Biomarkers

We are developing novel sequencing methods to identify and track aneuploidy for prevention and treatment of oesophageal cancer from Cytosponge, biopsies and blood. 

Increase diversity in Cancer Genomes Repositories

We are investigating germline risk variants and somatic genomic features of cancer associated with different ethinic background. We are collaborating with institutions world-wide and with UK genomic services to improve our understanding of diverse genomes.

Other activities

Gianmarco is actively involved in national and international bodies. He is communication Chair for the Pathobiology Group (PBG) of the European Organization for Research and Treatment of Cancer (EORTC) and Chair of the Gastrointestinal subgroup of the EORTC PBG as well as a member of the EORTC Gastrointestinal Group. He is an advocate for patient engagement and participates to and organises events with local and international patient associations.

Gianmarco has a broader interest on epistemological and societal implications of the use of machine learning in medicine and genomics and he is a research associate of the Von Hugel Institute of the University of Cambridge. 

He is also a Professor of Genetics (population and cancer genetics) at the University Campus Biomedico in Rome (course of Medicine and Surgery). 

Gianmarco has consolidated experience in consultancy for national and international start-ups in the field of personalised oncology and cancer.


A list of Gianmarco's publications can be found here.

View all publications in research portal