Marketa Tomkova
Cancer genomics, Tumor biology


Undergraduate and graduate studies: Charles University, Prague (Computer Science)

Doctorate: University of Oxford

Postdoctoral studies: University of California, Davis

After training in computer science at Charles University in Prague, I became interested in interdisciplinary research where I could apply my computational background to important questions in biology and medicine. During my DPhil at the University of Oxford, I developed an interest in mutagenesis, epigenomics and cancer research. We showed that 5-hydroxymethylcytosine is protective against mutations (in contrast with the pro-mutagenicity of the major DNA modification 5-methylcytosine), that DNA replication leaves a detectable footprint in most mutational signatures and that the widely accepted explanation of mutational signature 1, one of the two most widespread mutational patterns, is contradicted by observations in sequencing data of cancer patients, implicating involvement of an independent replication-linked mechanism.

For my postdoctoral studies at the University of California, Davis, I explored mutations in the non-coding genome and how they contribute to cancer and other diseases. We also used epigenome editing to dissect the fascinating mechanisms of how different epigenetic marks in the non-coding genome regulate gene expression.

I have worked on many international collaborative projects with clinicians, experimental scientists and computer scientists. For example, I was among a group of collaborators including researchers from Google Brain and Charles University in Prague who developed the first human-level deep-learning AI for language translation.

In the summer of 2023, I started my own research group as a Leadership Fellow at the Oxford branch of the Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research to study the mechanisms by which mutations and epigenetic alterations, together and independently, cause cancer.


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Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research, Oxford
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