Professor Chris Tselepis FRSB PFHEA

Professor Chris Tselepis

Institute of Clinical Sciences
Director Institute of Clinical Sciences
Interim Director of Education College of Medical and Dental Sciences
Professor of Biomedical Science

Contact details

Institute of Clinical Sciences
University of Birmingham
B15 2TT

Chris Tselepis is currently Director of Institute of Clinical Sciences, Interim Director of Education for the College of Medical and Dental Sciences, Professor of Biomedical Science and up to quite recently was Head of the School of Biomedical Sciences. Chris is heavily involved in teaching and education whilst also conducting pioneering research in the field of gastrointestinal cancer. Over the last 20 years his research has largely focussed on understanding key molecular drivers in various gastrointestinal cancers with a particular focus on oesophageal adenocarcinoma and colorectal cancer. Most recently he has been studying how diet and in particular iron might be implicated in disease and how one might develop therapies based around iron chelation. This has led his group to initiate a programme of study to develop novel formulations based around iron chelators and probiotics for the treatment of these devastating diseases. Despite being heavily involved in research and having a relatively high teaching load he has also led the Biomedical Science programme for the last 5 years and during this time the programme was accredited by the Royal Society of Biology; a professional body which recognises excellence in the Life Sciences and consequently is now considered as one of the best biomedical Science programmes in the UK.

See Chris' ORCID iD


  • 2021 PFHEA
  • 2020 SFHEA 
  • 2017 Fellow of the Royal Society of Biology (RSoB) FRSB
  • RSoB qualified accreditation assessor
  • 1996 PhD in Biochemistry
  • 1992 BSc (Hons) in Biochemistry


Chris Tselepis qualified with a BSc (Hons) in Biochemistry from the University of Wales in 1992. He then went on to study for a PhD in Biochemistry at the prestigious Wellcome Trust Centre for Cell-Matrix research at the University of Manchester. 

Upon successful completion in 1996 he pursued his interests in cell-cell adhesion and took up a post-doctoral position with Prof Garrod at the University of Manchester. At the end of this period Chris moved to the Department of Medicine at the University of Birmingham to study cell-cell adhesion in gastrointestinal cancers and was very soon promoted to a lecturer within the department. 

This work led to several seminal papers examining the role of extracellular signals in Barrett’s carcinogenesis and began to solidify his interests in identifying novel mechanisms of chemoprevention. In 2006 Chris was promoted to Senior Lecturer in the School for Cancer Sciences and pursued his interests in gastrointestinal cancer. In particular through close collaborations with Prof Tariq Iqbal (Consultant Gastroenterologist UHB) Chris’s group now focuses on the role of iron in carcinogenesis and has forged strong links both nationally and internationally. His work has led to the discovery of the usefulness of dietary iron chelators to treat cancer and has led to several patents. Chris is currently working with experts in the Schools of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering at the University of Birmingham and has had support from Industry to further develop these technologies. Since joining the University he has successfully supervised 20 MD/PhD students, in 2019 Chris was promoted to Reader and in 2021 Chris was promoted as Professor of Biomedical Science.

Alongside his research Chris has been heavily involved in teaching both undergraduate and post-graduate students. Most pertinently he is module lead on a variety of modules delivered to Biomedical Science and Medical students. He led the highly successful undergraduate Biomedical Science programme between 2014-2019, was Head of the School of Biomedical Sciences from 2019-2023 and has most recently been appointed Director of Institute of Clinical Sciences.

Finally throughout his career he has participated in a host of widening participation and outreach activities showcasing the work both of the University of Birmingham and Cancer Research UK.


Postgraduate supervision

Since joining Birmingham Chris has successfully supervised 20 MD/PhD students. Chris is further interested in supervising doctoral research students in the following areas:

  • The role of iron and usefulness of chelation therapy in the treatment of gastrointestinal cancer
  • The usefulness of dietary iron chelators as chemopreventive agents
  • Formulation development for the delivery of bioactives including probiotics to the colon

If you are interesting in studying any of these subject areas please contact Chris on the contact details above or for any general doctoral research enquiries, please email


Chris’s research group is interested in understanding how dietary iron excess can be detrimental to human health in particular in intestinal diseases including inflammatory bowel disease and colorectal cancer. By using a variety of models his group has shown that iron can amplify a number of oncogenic signalling pathways and that this may in part be through epigenetic events. In addition iron has previously been linked with dysbiosis and that on the whole bacteria associated with enhancement of health are diminished in number. Thus this evidence has led us to explore the use of iron chelators in particular focussing on naturally occurring iron chelators which could be used as chemopreventive agents in high risk individuals. Thus far the group has explored a number of polyphenolic compounds and alginate and have demonstrated strong iron chelating potential. However, for these agents to have maximal bioactivity they require developing into ‘wet’ based formulations which will allow for a larger quantity of bioactive to be delivered specifically to the colon. Such formulations will also allow the delivery of not only iron chelators but also probiotics to the colon for the enhancement of health.  This is particularly pertinent since Chris is collaborating closely with Professor Iqbal who is the chief investigator of the STOP-Colitis trial; a trial aimed at remedying inflammatory bowel disease through the use of a faecal transplant. The outputs of this study are ultimately to identify the specific strains of bacteria associated with engraftment and clinical improvement in their disease activity and it will be these strains that the group will look to also deliver in their novel wet based formulations.

Other activities

  • External examiner for a variety of Biomedical Related programmes at University College London, University of Bath and University of Leicester.
  • Accreditation Assessor for the Royal Society of Biology
  • Engaged in a variety of outreach and widening participation events most recently delivering Biomedical Science Masterclasses to local school children including events at the University of Birmingham School.
  • In partnership with Dr Douglas Ward and Dr Tariq Iqbal pioneered and manage a hepcidin assay which is currently commercialised and run as an international service for the assessment of hepcidin both within the research and clinical context.


Recent publications


Horniblow, RD, Pathak, P, Eshrati, M, Latunde-Dada, GO & Tselepis, C 2023, 'Intestinal iron bio-accessibility changes by Lignin and the subsequent impact on cell metabolism and intestinal microbiome communities', Food & Function, vol. 14, no. 8, 3673, pp. 3673-3685.

Horniblow, RD, Pathak, P, Balacco, DL, Acharjee, A, Lles, E, Gkoutos, G, Beggs, AD & Tselepis, C 2022, 'Iron-mediated epigenetic activation of NRF2 targets', Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry, vol. 101, 108929.

Andrijes, R, Hejmadi, RK, Pugh, M, Rajesh, S, Novitskaya, V, Ibrahim, M, Overduin, M, Tselepis, C, Middleton, GW, Győrffy, B, Beggs, AD & Berditchevski, F 2021, 'Tetraspanin 6 is a regulator of carcinogenesis in colorectal cancer', Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, vol. 118, no. 39, e2011411118.

Quraishi, MN, Acharjee, A, Beggs, AD, Horniblow, R, Tselepis, C, Gkoutos, G, Ghosh, S, Rossiter, A, Loman, N, van Schaik, W, Withers, D, Walters, JRF, Hirschfield, GM & Iqbal, TH 2020, 'A pilot integrative analysis of colonic gene expression, gut microbiota, and immune infiltration in primary sclerosing cholangitis-inflammatory bowel disease: association of disease with bile acid pathways', Journal of Crohn's & Colitis, vol. 14, no. 7, pp. 935-947.

the IVICA Trial Group 2019, 'The impact of pre-operative intravenous iron on quality of life after colorectal cancer surgery: outcomes from the intravenous iron in colorectal cancer-associated anaemia (IVICA) trial', Anaesthesia, vol. 74, no. 6, pp. 714-725.

Horniblow, R, Mistry, P, Quraishi, MN, Beggs, A, van De Weile, T, Iqbal, T & Tselepis, C 2019, 'The safety and tolerability of a potential alginate-based iron chelator: results of a healthy participant study', Nutrients, vol. 11, no. 3, 674.,

Phillips, E, Horniblow, RD, Poole, V, Bedford, M, Ward, DG, Kirkham, AJ, Tomlinson, J, Iqbal, TH & Tselepis, C 2018, 'A potential role for hepcidin in obesity-driven colorectal tumourigenesis', Oncology reports, vol. 39, no. 1, pp. 392-400.

Horniblow, RD, Bedford, M, Hollingworth, R, Evans, S, Sutton, E, Lal, N, Beggs, A, Iqbal, TH & Tselepis, C 2017, 'B-RAF mutations are associated with increased iron regulatory protein-2 expression in colorectal tumourigenesis', Cancer Science.

Lal, N, Willcox, C, Beggs, A, Taniere, P, Middleton, G, Tselepis, C & Willcox, B 2017, 'Endothelial protein C receptor is overexpressed in colorectal cancer as a result of amplification and hypomethylation of chromosome 20q', Journal of Pathology: Clinical Research, vol. 3, no. 3, pp. 155–170.

Khiroya, H, Moore, J, Ahmad, N, Kay, J, Woolnough, K, Langman, G, Ismail, I, Naidu, B, Tselepis, C & Turner, A 2017, 'IRP2 As A Potential Modulator Of Cell Proliferation, Apoptosis And Prognosis In Non Small Cell Lung Cancer', European Respiratory Journal, vol. 49, 1600711.

Horniblow, RD, Henesy, D, Iqbal, TH & Tselepis, C 2016, 'Modulation of iron transport, metabolism and reactive oxygen status by quercetin-iron complexes in vitro', Molecular Nutrition & Food Research.

Jian, N, Dowle, M, Horniblow, RD, Tselepis, C & Palmer, RE 2016, 'Morphology of the ferritin iron core by aberration corrected scanning transmission electron microscopy', Nanotechnology, vol. 27, no. 46, 46LT02.

Horniblow, RD, Latunde-Dada, GO, Harding, SE, Schneider, M, Sahni, M, Bhatti, A, Ludwig, C, Norton, IT, Iqbal, TH & Tselepis, C 2016, 'The chelation of colonic luminal iron by a unique sodium alginate for the improvement of gastrointestinal health', Molecular Nutrition & Food Research.

Horniblow, RD, Dowle, M, Iqbal, TH, Latunde-dada, GO, Palmer, RE, Pikramenou, Z & Tselepis, C 2015, 'Alginate-iron speciation and its effect on in vitro cellular iron metabolism', PLoS ONE, vol. 10, no. 9, e0138240.

Review article

Rees, NP, Shaheen, W, Quince, C, Tselepis, C, Horniblow, RD, Sharma, N, Beggs, AD, Iqbal, TH & Quraishi, MN 2022, 'Systematic review of donor and recipient predictive biomarkers of response to faecal microbiota transplantation in patients with ulcerative colitis', EBioMedicine, vol. 81, 104088.

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