Speakers at ICG-13

Robin Allshire BA, PhD, FRSE, FRS is Professor of Chromosome Biology, University of Edinburgh.  He graduated from Trinity College Dublin, Ireland in 1981 (BA Genetics). A Royal Commission for the Exhibition of 1851 scholarship enabled his PhD research on Bovine Papilloma Virus mini-chromosomes at the MRC Mammalian Genome Unit, Edinburgh (1985) with Dr. Chris Bostock and Ed Southern. He carried out his post-doctoral research at the MRC Human Genetics Unit (MRCHGU), Edinburgh with Prof. N.D. Hastie demonstrating that human telomeres are composed of simple repeats and that their length decreases with age and is altered in cancers. He initiated his independent research career at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratories, New York (1989) before taking a tenured position at MRCHGU (1990-20012).  He undertook three-months research sabbatical with Prof. Mitsuhiro Yanagida at Kyoto University (1992).  In 2002, he moved his laboratory to the Wellcome Trust Centre for Cell Biology, University of Edinburgh where he runs a dynamic research group as a Wellcome Trust Principal Research Fellow (20002-2022). He was elected a member of the European Molecular Biology Organisation (EMBO) in 1998, a fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh (FRSE) since 2005 and a fellow of the Royal Society (FRS), London in 2011. He was awarded the Genetics Society (UK) Medal in 2013.


As an independent researcher, Robin Allshire’s laboratory first demonstrated that fission yeast centromeres contain heterochromatin and went on to demonstrate that this heterochromatin plays a pivotal role in ensuring sister-centromere cohesion, promoting CENP-A chromatin and thus, kinetochore assembly, and accurate chromosome segregation. More recently his laboratory demonstrated that H3K9 methylation can act as a bona fide epigenetic mark allowing the transmission of information though both mitotic and meiotic divisions. His current research includes determining if such epigenetic processes can generate phenotypic heterogeneity in genetically identical cell populations. A main interest of his group is dissecting the mechanisms that specify the location of centromeres. He is also investigating epigenetic regulation through distinct histone post-translational modifications in trypansomes, an ancient eukaryote pathogen with very divergent histones.
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