Edinburgh Research Explorer

Alexander Kagansky

(Former employee or visitor)

Education/Academic qualification

Doctor of Science, National Institutes of Health, USA
Master in Science, St. Petersburg Polytechnical University, Russia

My research in a nutshell

One of the most fundamental problems in modern biology is to determine mechanisms that underlie changes in genome regulation at the level of chromatin structure, as it defines gene expression and chromosome function and is linked to cancer, differentiation, ageing, and brain function. To address that, we must understand what changes occur upon the transformation between active and repressed chromatin states. Our goal is to understand the molecular mechanisms and role of such transitions in mammalian cells. To achieve this, we induce targeted chromatin changes using locus-specific targeting of chromatin modifiers. We also develop new chemical approaches to changing the chromatin structure.



Alexander (Sasha) Kagansky is a Chancellor’s Fellow at the MRC Human Genetics Unit, MRC Institute of Genetics and Molecular Medicine at The University of Edinburgh, and leads the research at the Synthetic Epigenetics Lab, Chromosomes and Gene Expression Section of the IGMM.


In 2005 – 2012, Sasha worked at the Wellcome Trust Centre for Cell Biology, University of Edinburgh, as a postdoctoral research associate (Robin Allshire lab, until 2010) and then as senior research associate (Bill Earnshaw lab). Research in his lab is aimed at the understanding of the molecular basis of the epigenetic transitions of the mammalian genomes, and at finding ways to control these transitions, which will be crucial for the future of molecular medicine. In his studies he combines genetics, synthetic biology, biochemistry and proteomics. He received his Ph.D. in Molecular Biology in 2004 after spending 3 years in National Institutes of Health in USA. In 1998 he got his MS in Biophysics from from St.Petersburg State Polytechnical University in Russia.


Apart from the research in the lab, Sasha Kagansky regularly organizes public engagement of science activities for different target groups - artists, primary school kids, and general public - in different parts of the world, which result in new collaborations between scientists and artists.


He is also a member of Young Academy of Scotland and Mason Institute for Medicine, Life Sciences and the Law.

Highlighted research outputs

  1. Restricted epigenetic inheritance of H3K9 methylation

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  2. Splicing Factors Facilitate RNAi-Directed Silencing in Fission Yeast

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

View all (15) »

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