Szele, Professor Francis


Francis Szele

Associate Professor of Developmental Biology
Tutorial Fellow


Academic background

Francis graduated from the College of William and Mary (USA) with a major in Biology. He worked for two years in the laboratory of Dennis Murphy at the National Institute of Mental Health (Bethesda, Maryland) on serotonergic control of endocrine responses. He obtained his PhD working in the laboratory of Marie-Francoise Chesselet at the University of Pennsylvania, where he carried out one of the first studies showing increased neurogenesis after brain injury. He subsequently did a postdoctoral fellowship in Connie Cepko’s laboratory (Harvard Medical School) where he used a complex library of retroviral vectors to examine lineage relationships and migration patterns in the developing chick forebrain.

Francis established his laboratory in Chicago at Northwestern University returning to work on the subventricular zone. In collaboration with Phil Hockberger, Francis’ group developed 2-photon time-lapse imaging to study cell migration in the subventricular zone. He joined Oxford University in 2007 where he is now Associate Professor. He is a co-founding principal investigator of OxStem Neuro.


The main goals of his lab are to understand fundamental mechanisms governing stem cell behaviours and progenitor migration in the postnatal and adult neurogenesis. They also seek to understand how these mechanisms are altered in response to disease models and how to exogenously manipulate them to enhance repair. Finally they are studying the human subventricular zone in healthy controls and in neuropsychiatric diseases.

Selected publications

The A30P α-synuclein mutation decreases subventricular zone proliferation
Xue-Ming Zhang, Sabina Anwar, Yongsoo Kim, Jennifer Brown, Isabelle Comte, Huan Cai, Ning-Ning Cai, Richard Wade-Martins, Francis G Szele, Human Molecular Genetics, Volume 28, Issue 14, 15 July 2019, pp. 2283–2294.

Expression of Idh1R132H in the Murine Subventricular Zone Stem Cell Niche Recapitulates Features of Early Gliomagenesis
Bardella, Chiara et al., Cancer Cell, Volume 30, Issue 4, 2016, pp. 578 – 594.

Isabelle Comte, Yongsoo Kim, Christopher C. Young, Judith M. van der Harg, Philip Hockberger, Paul J. Bolam, Françoise Poirier, Francis G. Szele