My main research interest is the understanding of how core histones and their variant and/or modified forms control gene regulation. Previous research has shown that the distribution of modified histones throughout the genome can control gene regulation by altering the chromatin structure at key points. The role of linker histone in this process (es) has remained obscure. My more recent research has moved into determining the role of the linker histone in epigenetic control. We have purified and utilised antibodies to each of the chicken H1 variants and used them in xChIP assays to map their different distributions across two loci in differentiating cell lines.
Currently in collaboration with Professor Guille’s lab the research has moved to the Xenopus model system in order to continue studying variant histones in an in vivo environment. Using a combination of xChIPs, ChIPseq, morpholino knockdown, in-situ hybridisation, ISH-PLA and RNAseq experiments the functional & developmentally differential control of specific histone variants H2AZ1,H2AZ2, H1.X & macroH2A are being investigated.
I graduated with a BSc (Hons) in Molecular Biology from Portsmouth Polytechnic before gaining my PhD in 1995 in the laboratory of Dr Sarah Newbury on work on “Factors affecting the control of maternal messenger RNA stability in early Drosphila development.
I began my first post-doctoral position in the laboratory of Professor Colyn Crane-Robinson using ChIP (chromatin immune-precipitation) assays to map the genomic locations of modified histones at housekeeping and tissue specific genes. The work continued to map the modified histones across two chicken loci (globin & lysozyme) in different developmental stages of the erythroid and myeloid cell lineages.
I took up a position of Senior Lecturer in the School of Biological Sciences in 2004.