Dr Joseph Wragg PhD

Dr Joseph Wragg

Institute of Cancer and Genomic Sciences
Postdoctoral Research Fellow

Contact details

Institute of Biomedical Research West Extension
Institute of Cancer and Genomic Sciences
University of Birmingham
B15 2TT

Joseph Wragg is a postdoctoral research fellow in the field of developmental and cancer epigenetics, with a particular interest in embryo development and vascular biology. Joseph’s research is focussed on interrogating dynamic epigenetic changes occurring on enhancer and promoter gene regulatory elements, during embryonic and tumour development, using Cap Analysis of gene expression (CAGE), chromatin immunoprecipitation (ChIP) and Assay for Transposase-Accessible Chromatin (ATAC) as well as 4D imaging approaches.


  • Associate Fellow of the Higher Education Academy 2018
  • PhD in Cancer Research, University of Birmingham 2016
  • BSc (Hons) in Biology, University of York 2011


Joseph originally read Biology at the University of York, before studying for a doctorate in Cancer Research at the University of Birmingham with Professor Roy Bicknell (awarded 2016). In this post Joseph developed a fascination in tumour associated vascular as a critical component of tumour development and potentiation and as a target for therapy. Joseph identified several tumour vascular specific markers, which are currently in clinical development.

Joseph is currently a postdoctoral fellow with Professor Ferenc Mueller. In this role he developed a great interest in the role of promoter and enhancer elements in the regulation of gene behaviour, in particular during embryonic development associated epigenetic reprogramming. This process shares many similarities with the wholesale epigenetic alterations associated with tumorigenesis and one of Joseph’s current research interests is on assessing the epigenome of developing tumour organoids as well as tumour stromal elements. 


Joseph is a small group tutor on First and Second Year BSc Biomedical Sciences  modules, the “Introduction to Human Genetics” MSc course and the “Developmental Genomics” PhD masterclass.

Postgraduate supervision

In his role as a doctoral and post-doctoral researcher Joseph has supervised lab-based projects for BSci  and MD students.


Research areas and interests: 

  • Developmental and Cancer epigenetics and transcriptomics
  • 4D imaging of tumour and embryonic developmental events
  • Tumour angiogenesis
  • Endothelial biology and vascular targeting of anti-cancer therapies

Research groups:


Kershaw RM, Roberts D, Wragg JW, Shaaban AM, Humphreys E, Halsall J, Price L, Bicknell R, Gaston K, Jayaraman PS. Proline-Rich Homeodomain protein (PRH/HHEX) is a suppressor of breast tumour growth. Oncogenesis. 2017; 6:e346. 

Wragg JW, Heath V, Bicknell R. Sunitinib Treatment Enhances Metastasis of Innately Drug-Resistant Breast Tumors. Cancer Research. 2017; 77(4). 

Wragg JW, Mueller F. Transcriptional regulation during zygotic genome activation in Zebrafish and other anamniote embryos. Genetics, Genomics and Phenomics of Fish.  Philadelphia, US:  Elsevier; 2016. 

Wragg JW, Finnity JP, Anderson JA, Ferguson HJM, Bhatt RI, Murray PG, Heath VL, Bicknell R. MCAM and LAMA4 are highly enriched in tumor blood vessels of renal cell carcinoma and predict patient outcome. Cancer Research. 2016. 

Ferguson HJM*, Wragg JW*, Ward S, Ismail T, Adams D, Heath VL, Bicknell R. Vaccination against the novel endothelial marker GRIN2D inhibits angiogenesis and tumour growth in colorectal cancer.  Oncotarget. 2016; (epub ahead of print). *(Joint first author). 

Wragg JW, Bicknell R. Next generation sequencing in cancer vascular research. European Pharmaceutical Review. 2015;4:10-13. 

Wragg JW, Durant S, McGettrick HM, Sample KM, Egginton S, Bicknell R. Shear stress regulated gene expression and angiogenesis in vascular endothelium. Microcirculation. 2014;21:290–300. 

Ferguson HJM, Wragg JW, Ismail T, Bicknell R. Vaccination against tumour blood vessels in colorectal cancer. Eur J Surg Oncol. 2014;40:133–6. 

Wragg JW, Bicknell R. Vascular targeting approaches to treat  cancer. Cancer Targeted Drug Delivery. New York, NY: Springer New York; 2013: 59–95.

View all publications in research portal