Dr Zbyslaw Sondka | Senior Scientist

Sondka, Zbyslaw

Having first-hand experience on the methodologies used in both wet- and dry lab in cancer research he is interested in identifying and understanding novel and rare molecular patterns associated with cancers.

As a Senior Scientist in COSMIC team I work on development and coordination of multiple research projects, including the Cancer Gene Census. The goal of these projects is to identify how somatic mutations can change functions of cancer-driving genes, and how these dysfunctions may drive oncogenesis. By combining manually curated data from published studies with bioinformatic methods, these projects also aim to identify which biological and biochemical properties of somatic mutations, and which cellular functions of cancer-driving genes are most important for the development of neoplastic phenotype in every type of human cancer.

Previously, as a Research Associate at Newcastle University (2008-2015), I was investigating the role of topoisomerase II in generation of gene fusions leading to therapy-related leukaemias, which develop after cancer treatment with topoisomerase inhibitors. Having started this role as a wet lab researcher with expertise in molecular biology assays, I developed skills in analysis and processing of ChIPseq and expression data.

I'm interested in how mutations or their combinations drive the oncogenesis and in applying this knowledge to identify new therapeutic targets and diagnostic biomarkers


  • The COSMIC Cancer Gene Census: describing genetic dysfunction across all human cancers.

    Sondka Z, Bamford S, Cole CG, Ward SA, Dunham I and Forbes SA

    Nature reviews. Cancer 2018;18;11;696-705

  • COSMIC: somatic cancer genetics at high-resolution.

    Forbes SA, Beare D, Boutselakis H, Bamford S, Bindal N et al.

    Nucleic acids research 2017;45;D1;D777-D783

  • Open Targets: a platform for therapeutic target identification and validation.

    Koscielny G, An P, Carvalho-Silva D, Cham JA, Fumis L et al.

    Nucleic acids research 2017;45;D1;D985-D994

  • Genome-wide ChIP-seq analysis of human TOP2B occupancy in MCF7 breast cancer epithelial cells.

    Manville CM, Smith K, Sondka Z, Rance H, Cockell S et al.

    Biology open 2015;4;11;1436-47

  • The role of topoisomerase II beta on breakage and proximity of RUNX1 to partner alleles RUNX1T1 and EVI1.

    Smith KA, Cowell IG, Zhang Y, Sondka Z and Austin CA

    Genes, chromosomes & cancer 2014;53;2;117-28

  • MRE11 facilitates the removal of human topoisomerase II complexes from genomic DNA.

    Lee KC, Padget K, Curtis H, Cowell IG, Moiani D et al.

    Biology open 2012;1;9;863-73

  • Model for MLL translocations in therapy-related leukemia involving topoisomerase IIβ-mediated DNA strand breaks and gene proximity.

    Cowell IG, Sondka Z, Smith K, Lee KC, Manville CM et al.

    Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 2012;109;23;8989-94

  • NOD2/CARD15 polymorphism in patients with rectal cancer.

    Szeliga J, Sondka Z, Jackowski M, Jarkiewicz-Tretyn J, Tretyn A and Malenczyk M

    Medical science monitor : international medical journal of experimental and clinical research 2008;14;9;CR480-4

Sondka, Zbyslaw
Zbyslaw's Timeline

Senior Scientist in COSMIC team at Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute


Senior Database Curator in COSMIC team at Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute


Research Associate at Newcastle University - investigating the role of topoisomerase II in aetiology of therapy-related leukaemias


PhD at Nicolaus Copernicus University in Torun - studying NOD2 gene polymorphism in patients with rectal, larynx or breast cancer