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Wendy Bickmore is the Director of the MRC Human Genetics Unit, Institute of Genetics and Cancer at the University of Edinburgh.  After an undergraduate degree in Biochemistry at Oxford, she obtained her PhD at Edinburgh University.  During postdoctoral training, she became fascinated by the structure and organization of chromosomes in the nucleus and as an independent fellow of the Lister Institute of Preventive Medicine (1991-1996) she went on to show that different human chromosomes have preferred positions in the nucleus, related to their gene content. As an MRC group leader she then investigated how individual genes are organized and packaged in the nucleus and how they move in the cell cycle and during development. Current research in Wendy Bickmore’s laboratory focuses on how the spatial organization of the nucleus influences genome function in development and disease. Wendy is also co-director of the Edinburgh Super-Resolution Imaging Consortium (ESRIC: https://www.esric.org). Wendy is an EMBO member and a Fellow of the Royal Society, the Royal Society of Edinburgh and the Academy of Medical Sciences. She is an editor on many journals including PLoS Genetics and Cell.

My research in a nutshell

Despite its immense length, the linear sequence map of the human genome is an incomplete description of our genetic information. This is because information on genome function and gene regulation is also encoded in the way that the DNA sequence is folded up with proteins within chromosomes and within the nucleus. Our work tries to understand the three-dimensional folding of the genome, how this controls genome functions in normal development and how this may be perturbed in disease. We examine how the spatial organisation of the human and mouse genomes is changed, for example, during development and in certain genetic diseases. An important research question for the lab is how enhancers in the the non-coding genome activate their target genes which are often located far away in the linear genome.

We take a multidisciplinary approach, using cytological, genetic, genomic, and molecular methods to understand human and mouse genome organisation. A prominent feature of our work is the use of light microscopy to investigate genome spatial conformation and organisation.  We also use synthetic biology to artifically control the expression or silencing of genes, to test our hypotheses.


Education/Academic qualification

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD), University of Edinburgh

Award Date: 1 Jan 1986

Bachelor of Arts, University of Oxford

Award Date: 1 Jan 1983


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