Northern Institute for Cancer Research

Staff Profile

Dr Lisa Prendergast

Senior Research Associate



I joined the Newcastle Drug Discovery Unit as a Senior Research Associate in January 2018.


I received my PhD under the supervision of Prof. N. F. Lowndes in the Department of Biochemistry at the National University of Ireland, Galway. My PhD focused on mechanisms of cellular responses to DNA damage.  My postdoctoral work in the laboratory of Prof. Kevin. F. Sullivan centred on understanding the functional mitotic role of key centromere components. We identified a novel two part replication mechanism for centromeric chromatin that segregates the epigenetic maintenance of locus identity (centromere function) and provision of mitotic functionality (kinetochore function) through the post replicative centromere assembly of centromeric chromatin components.  I secured a Marie Curie IEF FP7 Fellowship to allow me to pursue further research on centromeric chromatin dynamics with Dr. Genevieve Almouzni at the Institut Curie in Paris, France.  My work demonstrated that a histone chaperone can play role in the dynamics of a non-histone centromeric protein complex to promote mitotic chromatin formation.  I joined the lab of Prof. Jon Higgins at Newcastle University in 2016 to work on understanding the crosstalk between transcriptional memory and cell cycle dynamics.



Research Interests:

My research interests cross epigenetics, cell cycle regulation, cancer biology and transcriptional regulation.



Chromatin biology, CRISPR gene editing, Microscopy (STED, quantitative live and fixed imaging), molecular and cell biology assays.


Project supervision of students across undergraduate, M.Sci, M.Res and PhD.


  • Higgins JMG, Prendergast L. Mitotic Mysteries: The Case of HP1. Developmental Cell 2016, 36(5), 477-478.
  • Prendergast L, Muller S, Liu Y, Huang H, Dingli F, Loew D, Vassias I, Patel DJ, Sullivan KF, Almouzni G. The CENP-T/-W complex is a binding partner of the histone chaperone FACT. Genes and Development 2016, 30(11), 1313-1326.
  • Dornblut C, Quinn N, Monajambashi S, Prendergast L, van Vuuren C, Münch S, Deng W, Leonhardt H, Cardoso MC, Hoischen C, Diekmann S, Sullivan KF. A CENP-S/X complex assembles at the centromere in S and G2 phases of the human cell cycle. Open Biology 2014, 4, 130229.
  • Prendergast L, van Vuuren C, Kaczmarczyk A, Doering V, Hellwig D, Quinn N, Hoischen C, Diekmann S, Sullivan KF. Premitotic assembly of human CENPs -T and -W switches centromeric chromatin to a mitotic state. PLoS Biology 2011, Jun;9(6):e1001082.
  • Prendergast L, Sullivan KF. A GTPase switch maintains CENP-A at centromeric chromatin. Nature Cell Biology 2010, Dec;12(12):1128-30.