Current Lab Members
Professor of Chromatin Biology
“I grew up in London and moved to Edinburgh in 1992 to study Biochemistry at University. To be honest the reason I came to Edinburgh was to go climbing in the Highlands, but the problem with Edinburgh is that you never want to leave!
Most of my training was undertaken in Edinburgh; I did a PhD with Jim Allan in Biochemistry and Austin Smith at the Institute for Stem Cell Research and then did my postdoc training with Wendy Bickmore at the MRC Human Genetics Unit. After that I received a fellowship from the Wellcome Trust to start my own lab and now I have a senior fellowship from the MRC.
I love doing experiments but when I’m not in the lab I like walking/climbing, making things in my workshop and wood carving.”
“I am from Roscommon in the west of Ireland but left home at eighteen to go to University in Dublin (UCD). After four years there, where I obtained an honours degree in Pharmacology, I moved to Edinburgh and have been here ever since!
I did a PhD at the medical school with John Mason and have been a postdoc since then, firstly with Simon Langdon at the Edinburgh Cancer Research Centre and subsequently with Nick Gilbert. Initially with Nick I was funded by Breakthrough Breast Cancer and am currently funded under Nick’s MRC fellowship. I am now in the process of applying for independent funding.”
Ryu-Suke was born in Tokyo, Japan in 1984. For his undergraduate research during 2006, he joined Dr Obuse’s laboratory at the School of Science, Hokkaido University. He continued research in Dr Obuse’s laboratory for his Master thesis (2007-2008) and Doctoral thesis (2009-2010). After gaining a PhD from Hokkaido University in 2010, he performed 2 years of postdoctoral research with Dr. Obuse, during which the research objective was to understand the maintenance and regulation of heterochromatin. He performed functional analysis of HP1 (heterochromatin protein 1) and HP1 binding proteins.
He joined the Gilbert lab in 2013 and has started developing a new technique for mapping chromatin fibre structure using a novel DNA-DNA cross-linker.
In his spare time, Ryu-Suke enjoys playing the electric guitar and listening to rock music.
“I grew up in the UK in Cheshire and then Surrey. I studied at the University of Sheffield where I graduated with a BSc in Biomedical science in 2006. I then went on to work as a research technician in the laboratory of Dr Vincent Cunliffe on the role of Histone Deacteylases proteins in zebrafish neurogenesis at Sheffield University Centre for Developmental and Biomedical Genetics.
This was followed by a Master by research at the University of Edinburgh in the MRC Human Genetics units. I then continued my studies at the MRC Human genetics Unit and completed my Phd in 2013 in the laboratory of Professor Veronica van Heyningen supervised by Dr Dirk A Kleinjan. My project focused on studying transcriptional regulation and was focused on the important developmental regulator and human disease gene Pax6.
I now work as Post-doctoral research fellow in the laboratory of Professor Nick Gilbert at the MRC IGMM, and my main research interest are in cis-regulation of transcription, and how these elements relate to genome organisation and 3D chromatin architecture. In the Gilbert lab I am currently developing a novel molecular biology technique to study chromatin structure and regulation of complex gene loci, which is funded from the Moray Endowment Fund.
In my spare time I enjoys many aspects of the Scottish landscape and am a keen rock climber, hill walker, mountain biker and photographer.”
Clarissa K L Ng
Born in Hong Kong in 1981 and moved to sunny Sydney, Australia at the age of 11, Clarissa completed her B.Sc. with honours in Chemistry in 2002, followed by a M.Sc. by research in 2005 (novel antifungal agents, under the supervision of Prof. Katrina Jolliffe and Dr. Fred Widmer) at the School of Chemistry, The University of Sydney. She then moved to the Faculty of Pharmacy of USYD, where she obtained her PhD working on novel conformationally restricted GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid) analogues under the supervision of A/Prof. Jane Hanrahan and Prof. Mary Collins (Chebib).
Clarissa spent 9 exciting months in the far flung city of Copenhagen, Denmark in 2006/07 for part of her PhD research, working on imidazole acetic acid analogues of GABA under the supervision of A/Prof. Bente Frølund at the School of Pharmaceutical Sciences, University of Copenhagen. After graduating from her PhD in 2010, she carried out some independent voluntary research on the design and synthesis of novel bicyclic analogues loosely based on Zolpidem at the Faculty of Pharmacy, USYD. For a short time between 2011 and 2012, Clarissa joined the LifeScience section of the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO) as a synthetic/medicinal chemist.
She began her postdoc position in November 2012 with the Gilbert Group, working in close collaboration with the Bradley Group at the School of Chemistry, where she is currently based, on the design and synthesis of novel, photoactivatable DNA-DNA and DNA-protein crosslinkers for studying the chromatin fibre structure, and as novel photodynamic therapy agents.
In her spare time, Clarissa enjoys travelling, running, swimming, going to the gym, meeting with friends, playing the violin, going to concerts, reading, languages, cooking, baking… and too many others to be listed here.
Lora was born in Sofia, Bulgaria in 1987. In 2005, Lora moved across the continent to pursue a BSc in Human Genetics at the University of Nottingham. Following graduation, Lora joined Prof. Tim Vyse’s group in King’s College London, working as a research assistant on a project studying the role of copy number variation in the genetics of the autoimmune disease SLE.
In 2012, Lora joined a four- year PhD programme in the MRC Human Genetics Unit in Edinburgh. The initial stage of the programme included short projects with different groups in the unit, allowing Lora to explore new research themes. Following the rotational phase of the programme, Lora chose to join the Gilbert lab as a full-time PhD student and is currently working on a project linking chromatin structure to chromosomal fragile sites.
In her spare time, Lora enjoys hoola-hooping and reading post-apocalyptic literature.
“Originally I’m from the Wirral, a paradise peninsula just south of Liverpool. I completed my undergraduate Genetics degree at the University of Liverpool, during which my final year project primarily focused on the Fanconi anemia DNA damage repair pathway. I also spent a placement year working with GSK investigating novel biomarkers in virally-associated COPD.
I’m currently working towards my PhD with both the Gilbert and Adams labs at the IGMM where I am exploring an exciting fusion of meiotic recombination and chromatin structure.
When out of the lab I enjoy a healthy blend of travelling, gigs and ticking off an ever-extending list of new restaurants and bars.”
“I grew up in Brighton and studied Natural Sciences at Lancaster University. Originally I wanted to be a paeleontologist, but I found my true calling after I did a Masters in Genetic Manipulation and Molecular Cell Biology at the University of Sussex!
I joined Nick’s lab in March 2016 as part of the HGU four-year PhD programme and I’m focussing on investigating the chromatin structure of common fragile sites in the human genome.
When I’m not in the lab I love cooking and experimenting with new food, reading stacks of books and exploring Edinburgh.”
“I grew up in Stockton-on-Tees and moved to Newcastle in 2010 to study Biomedical Sciences. There I obtained an undergraduate Masters degree, my Masters’ project focussing on the genotoxicity of Topoisomerase II poisons in Professor Caroline Austin’s lab.
I joined the Gilbert lab as a PhD student in September 2014 and in my spare time I enjoy Scottish country dancing, walking and cooking.”
“I spent my childhood in Surrey and then Hertfordshire, before heading to newcastle in 2008 where I attained a Bsc in Applied Biology. My research project there focused on superoxide dismutase isoform expression during drought in Arabidopsis thaliana.
In 2012 I joined the IGMM four year Phd program, spending time in different labs on short projects, broadening my research experience. I joined Professor Nick Gilbert’s group in 2014, and I am currently working on the role of EzH2 and Brd proteins in cancer drug resistance.
Out of the lab, I enjoy staying active with cycling and dabble in ski racing. I also enjoy playing the violin and french horn and singing on occasion in a choir.”
Honorary Research Fellow
“I consider Dunkeld in Pethshire as my home town as we settled there in 1952 and I still have family in the area. I first came to Edinburgh in 1966 to attend University, obtained a BSc and PhD in Zoology and learnt about DNA. After two years at the University of California in San Diego I moved to the Department of Biophysics at Kings College in London where my interest in chromatin started. I returned to Edinburgh University in 1992 joining the Department of Biochemistry, where I obtained a Readership, before transferring to the Institute of Cell and Molecular Biology.
I was awarded an Honorary Fellowship when I retired in 2011 and this allows me to continue my interest in chromatin. I joined Nick Gilbert’s group at the MRC Human Genetics Unit in 2014.
I enjoy walking, I play golf and snooker and I have been drawing and painting since I decided to go to University instead of Art School.”
I grew up in sunny Riyadh, Saudi Arabia where I completed a BSc. in Clinical Laboratory Sciences at King Saud University. During my undergraduate study I did an internship at Prof. Vincent Dion’s lab where I investigated the role of the NuRD complex in trinucleotide repeat instability as a model to understand the connection between chromatin structure and DNA repair mechanisms. I have since been fascinated by chromatin and have joined the Gilbert lab to complete a MSc by research where I am working on developing novel cross-linkers to aid in the study of chromatin structure.
I have grown up in Edinburgh, have lived here my whole life and was keen to stay in the city for my studies so was excited to be accepted into the University of Edinburgh for my undergraduate degree. I actually began my studies in a Geology degree but after thoroughly enjoying my outside biological courses I moved on to a Genetics degree.
I am working in Nick Gilbert’s lab for my Honours years undergraduate project looking at changes in chromatin structure upon gene activation. In my spare time I enjoy playing video games, attending gigs and socialising with friends.
Past Lab Members
Current position: Post-doctoral Fellow
Covi comes from Gijón, a nice but rainy city in the north coast of Spain. She studied Biology at the University of Oviedo and got the Master Degree at the Institute of Oncology of Asturias, where she completed her PhD under the supervision of Dr. Mario F. Fraga and Dr. Agustín F. Fernández. Her main focus was to identify epigenetic mechanisms involved in aberrant genomic DNA methylation during malignant transformation.
Covi joined Nick’s group as postdoctoral fellow in 2014. She was working to provide a better understanding of the relationship between DNA supercoiling and gene transcription using neocentromeres as experimental model.
When not in the lab, Covi loves doing crafts in general, but since she arrived to Edinburgh, knitting scarfs to stand the cold winters is on top of the list. She also enjoys meeting her friends and family, travelling, walking, and a little bit of reading and/or pilates to relax.
Current position: Post-doctoral fellow
Sam was born in 1987 in Morecambe, a town close to the hills of the Lake District. He completed his BSc in Biology at the University of Sheffield in 2008 before moving to Edinburgh for his postgraduate studies.
At the IGMM he completed an MSc by Research and then joined the Gilbert lab for his PhD in September 2009. His project aims to understand DNA supercoiling at human gene promoters.
In his spare time, Sam enjoys rock climbing, surfing, hiking and mountain biking.
María Arnedo Muñoz
Current position: Post-doctoral Fellow
María Arnedo Muñoz moved back to Spain at Christmas 2015, and is currently job hunting.
María was born in Grávalos (La Rioja, Spain) in 1982 but she grew up in Zaragoza (Spain). She started her university studies in Chemistry in 2000 and then switched to Biochemistry. She completed her BSc in Biochemistry at the University of Zaragoza in 2005.
She joined the Pharmacology and Physiology Department to undertake postgraduate studies in “Biomedicine” at the Medicine School. She joined Dr Pie’s group and the main goal of her research was to understand the underlying mechanism of the illness. She investigated two unrelated human genetic disease, the 3-hydorxy-3-methylglutaric aciduria and the Cornelia de Lange Syndrome. She obtained her PhD titled “Subcellular and tissue characterization of the novel isoenzyme HMG-CoA Lyase Like1” in 2011.
For her post-doctoral studies she joined to Prof Nick Gilbert group in 2013. The aim of her project is to relate differences in the DNA topology with a different gene expression pattern in several cell lines and phases of the cell cycle, and look for differences in the DNA supercoiling in Cornelia de Lange Syndrome patients.
In her spare time María loves reading, dancing and walking.
Current position: Associate Professor, Federal University of Uberlandia, Brazil
Alberto Moraes moved in 2008 to a post as Assistant Professor at the Federal University of Uberlandia, Institute of Biomedical Sciences in Brazil.
Alberto was born in Brazil, and is Bachelor in Biomedical Sciences (2001) by the Federal University of Sao Paulo, Masters (2004), and PhD (2008) in Cell and Structural Biology by the University of Campinas, both Brazilian Institutions.
In 2007, during his PhD, he spent four months in Nick Gilbert’s lab in Cancer Research Centre, where he conducted experiments with epigenetics and changes in chromatin organization induced by ageing in mouse hepatocytes. In 2008 he was hired as assistant professor at the Federal University of Uberlandia, Brazil, where he started its own research group.
Nowadays, as associate professor, Alberto has been working with the relationship between ageing and other pro-ageing conditions like diabetes, and chromatin structure, nuclear organization, and epigenetic markers. Ongoing projects include “Nutritional supplementation as an anti-ageing approach: influences on cognitive parameters and associated changes in chromatin structure and epigenetic markers in mouse brain”, “Influences of diabetes types I and II on chromatin organization and epigenetic control of human PBMCs”, “Histone glycosylation as an epigenetic marker in mouse cells, and its association with the ageing process”, and “Changes in chromatin organization and the onset of senescence markers in primary cultures of mouse astrocytes following increasing PDL”.