Edinburgh Research Explorer

Prof Clare Blackburn

Personal Chair in Tissue Stem Cell Biology


Current Position

Professor of Tissue Stem Cell Biology
MRC Centre for Regenerative Medicine,
School of Biological Sciences
University of Edinburgh,
5, Little France Drive,
Edinburgh EH16 4UU


Doctor of Philosophy (PhD), Imperial College London

Bachelor of Science, University of Edinburgh


2011                  Personal Chair in Tissue Stem Cell Biology

01/09 - 2013     Director of the Graduate School of Biological Sciences
                          School of Biological Sciences
                          University of Edinburgh

03/08 – 01/09   Acting Head of Institute,
                          Institute for Stem Cell Research,
                          University of Edinburgh

2007                  Reader,
                          Institute for Stem Cell Research,
                          University of Edinburgh

07/06 -              Leukaemia Research Fund Senior Lecturer/RCUK Fellow,
                          Institute for Stem Cell Research,
                          University of Edinburgh

07/01 – 06/06   Leukaemia Research Fund 'Bennett' Senior Fellow,
                          Institute for Stem Cell Research,
                          University of Edinburgh

04/01 - 06/01   School of Biological Sciences Fellow,
                          Institute for Stem Cell Research (formerly Centre for Genome Research),
                          University of Edinburgh

03/97 – 04/01   Wellcome Trust Research Career Development Fellow,
                          Centre for Genome Research/Institute of Cell Animal and Population Biology,
                          University of Edinburgh

01/95 - 02/97   Wellcome Trust Advanced Training Fellow / Wellcome Trust Research Career   
                          Development Fellow,
                          Nuffield Department of Clinical Medicine,
                          University of Oxford

09/91 - 12/94   Wellcome Trust Advanced Training Fellow,
                          Thymus Biology Unit,
                          Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research, Melbourne, Australia

09/86 - 05/91    PhD student/ Research Assistant,
                           Imperial College of Science and Technology, London

12/84 - 03/86    Research Assistant, Institute of Neurology, London

Research output

Thymic involution and rising disease incidence with age

Palmer, S., Albergante, L., Blackburn, C. & Newman, T. J. 5 Feb 2018 In : Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

IL-17A-Induced PLET1 Expression Contributes to Tissue Repair and Colon Tumorigenesis

Zepp, J. A., Zhao, J., Liu, C., Bulek, K., Wu, L., Chen, X., Hao, Y., Wang, Z., Wang, X., Ouyang, W., Kalady, M. F., Carman, J., Yang, W-P., Zhu, J., Blackburn, C., Huang, Y. H., Hamilton, T. A., Su, B. & Li, X. 1 Dec 2017 In : Journal of Immunology. 199, 11, p. 3849-3857 10 p.

Special focus issue on regenerative medicine in society: interdisciplinary perspectives (part II) - Foreword

Barfoot, J., Rosemann, A. & Blackburn, C. C. 7 Nov 2017 In : Regenerative medicine. 12, 7, p. 733-736 4 p.

Special focus issue on regenerative medicine in society: interdisciplinary perspectives (part I) - Foreword

Rosemann, A., Barfoot, J. & Blackburn, C. 11 Oct 2017 In : Regenerative medicine. 12, 6, p. 577-580 4 p.

EuroStemCell: A European infrastructure for communication and engagement with stem cell research

Barfoot, J., Doherty, K. & Blackburn, C. C. 16 Aug 2017 In : Seminars in Cell and Developmental Biology.

Marketing of unproven stem cell-based interventions: A call to action

Sipp, D., Caulfield, T., Kaye, J., Barfoot, J., Blackburn, C., Chan, S., De Luca, M., Kent, A., McCabe, C., Munsie, M., Sleeboom-Faulkner, M., Sugarman, J., van Zimmeren, E., Zarzeczny, A. & Rasko, J. E. J. 5 Jul 2017 In : Science translational medicine. 9, 397

Initial seeding of the embryonic thymus by immune-restricted lympho-myeloid progenitors

Luis, T. C. , Luc, S. , Mizukami, T. , Boukarabila, H. , Thongjuea, S. , Woll, P. S. , Azzoni, E. , Giustacchini, A. , Lutteropp, M. , Bouriez-Jones, T. , Vaidya, H. , Mead, A. J. , Atkinson, D. , Böiers, C. , Carrelha, J. , Macaulay, I. C. , Patient, R. , Geissmann, F. , Nerlov, C. , Sandberg, R. & 4 others de Bruijn, M. F. T. R., Blackburn, C. C., Godin, I. & Jacobsen, S. E. W. 1 Dec 2016 In : Nature Immunology. 17, 12, p. 1424 - 1437 14 p.

FOXN1 in thymus organogenesis and development

Vaidya, H. J., Leon, A. B. & Blackburn, C. C. Aug 2016 In : European Journal of Immunology.

Identification of a Bipotent Epithelial Progenitor Population in the Adult Thymus

Ulyanchenko, S., O'Neill, K., Medley, T., Farley, A., Vaidya, H., Cook, A., Blair, N. & Blackburn, C. 17 Mar 2016 In : Cell Reports. 14, 12, p. 2819–2832

Foxn1 Is Dynamically Regulated in Thymic Epithelial Cells during Embryogenesis and at the Onset of Thymic Involution

O'Neill, K. E., Bredenkamp, N., Tischner, C., Vaidya, H. J., Stenhouse, F. H., Peddie, C. D., Nowell, C. S., Gaskell, T. & Blackburn, C. C. 16 Mar 2016 In : PLoS One. 11, 3, p. e0151666

Construction of a functional thymic microenvironment from pluripotent stem cells for the induction of central tolerance

Bredenkamp, N., Jin, X., Liu, D., O'Neill, K. E., Manley, N. R. & Blackburn, C. C. May 2015 In : Regenerative medicine. 10, 3, p. 317-29 13 p.

An organized and functional thymus generated from FOXN1-reprogrammed fibroblasts

Bredenkamp, N., Ulyanchenko, S., O'Neill, K. E., Manley, N. R., Vaidya, H. J. & Blackburn, C. C. Sep 2014 In : Nature Cell Biology. 16, 9, p. 902-8 15 p.

Regeneration of the aged thymus by a single transcription factor

Bredenkamp, N., Nowell, C. S. & Blackburn, C. C. Apr 2014 In : Development. 141, 8, p. 1627-37 11 p.

Generation of tissue organoids by compaction reaggregation

Sheridan, J. M. & Blackburn, C. C. 10 Jan 2014 Methods in Molecular Biology. Vol. 1092, p. 143-151 9 p. (Methods in Molecular Biology; vol. 1092)

Serum-free culture of mid-gestation mouse embryos: A tool for the study of endoderm-derived organs

Gordon, J., Moore, B. A., Blackburn, C. C. & Manley, N. R. 10 Jan 2014 Methods in Molecular Biology. Vol. 1092, p. 183-194 12 p. (Methods in Molecular Biology; vol. 1092)

Long-Term Persistence of Functional Thymic Epithelial Progenitor Cells In Vivo under Conditions of Low FOXN1 Expression

Jin, X., Nowell, C. S., Ulyanchenko, S., Stenhouse, F. H. & Blackburn, C. C. 2014 In : PLoS One. 9, 12, e114842

Inactivation of the RB family prevents thymus involution and promotes thymic function by direct control of Foxn1 expression

Garfin, P. M., Min, D., Bryson, J. L., Serwold, T., Edris, B., Blackburn, C. C., Richie, E. R., Weinberg, K. I., Manley, N. R., Sage, J. & Viatour, P. 3 Jun 2013 In : Journal of Experimental Medicine. 210, 6, p. 1087-97 11 p.

Dynamics of thymus organogenesis and colonization in early human development

Farley, A. M., Morris, L. X., Vroegindeweij, E., Depreter, M. L. G., Vaidya, H., Stenhouse, F. H., Tomlinson, S. R., Anderson, R. A., Cupedo, T., Cornelissen, J. J. & Blackburn, C. C. 1 May 2013 In : Development. 140, 9, p. 2015-2026 12 p.

Changes in primary lymphoid organs with aging

Chinn, I. K., Blackburn, C. C., Manley, N. R. & Sempowski, G. D. 1 Oct 2012 In : Seminars in immunology. 24, 5, p. 309-320 12 p.

The earliest thymic T cell progenitors sustain B cell and myeloid lineage potential

Luc, S. , Luis, T. C. , Boukarabila, H. , Macaulay, I. C. , Buza-Vidas, N. , Bouriez-Jones, T. , Lutteropp, M. , Woll, P. S. , Loughran, S. J. , Mead, A. J. , Mizukami, T. , Matsuoka, S. , Ferry, H. , Duarte, S. , Atkinson, D. , Domanski, A. , Jacobsen, S. E. W. , Hultquist, A. , Anderson, K. , Brown, J. & 10 others Soneji, S., Patient, R., De Bruijn, M., Enver, T., Farley, A., Sanjuan-Pla, A., Nerlov, C., Blackburn, C., Carella, C. & Godin, I. 1 Apr 2012 In : Nature Immunology. 13, 4, p. 412-419 8 p.

Foxn1 Regulates Lineage Progression in Cortical and Medullary Thymic Epithelial Cells But Is Dispensable for Medullary Sublineage Divergence

Nowell, C. S., Bredenkamp, N., Tetelin, S., Jin, X., Tischner, C., Vaidya, H., Sheridan, J. M., Stenhouse, F. H., Heussen, R., Smith, A. J. H. & Blackburn, C. C. Nov 2011 In : PLoS Genetics. 7, 11, p. - 16 p., e1002348

Structure and function of the thymic microenvironment

Manley, N. R., Richie, E. R., Blackburn, C. C., Condie, B. G. & Sage, J. 1 Jun 2011 In : Frontiers in bioscience. 16, p. 2461-2477 17 p.

Stem Cell Revolutions

Hardie, A. & Blackburn, C. 2011

Thymus-Associated Parathyroid Hormone Has Two Cellular Origins with Distinct Endocrine and Immunological Functions

Liu, Z., Farley, A., Chen, L., Kirby, B. J., Kovacs, C. S., Blackburn, C. C. & Manley, N. R. Dec 2010 In : PLoS Genetics. 6, 12, p. - 12 p., e1001251

Microenvironmental reprogramming of thymic epithelial cells to skin multipotent stem cells

Bonfanti, P., Claudinot, S., Amici, A. W., Farley, A., Blackburn, C. C. & Barrandon, Y. 19 Aug 2010 In : Nature. 466, 7309, p. 978-982 7 p.

EphB-ephrin-B2 interactions are required for thymus migration during organogenesis

Foster, K. E., Gordon, J., Cardenas, K., Veiga-Fernandes, H., Makinen, T., Grigorieva, E., Wilkinson, D. G., Blackburn, C. C., Richie, E., Manley, N. R., Adams, R. H., Kioussis, D. & Coles, M. C. 27 Jul 2010 In : Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 107, 30, p. 13414-13419 6 p.

A Novel Method for the Generation of Reaggregated Organotypic Cultures That Permits Juxtaposition of Defined Cell Populations

Sheridan, J. M., Taoudi, S., Medvinsky, A. & Blackburn, C. C. May 2009 In : Genesis. 47, 5, p. 346-351 6 p.

Real-time imaging of Leishmania mexicana-infected early phagosomes: a study using primary macrophages generated from green fluorescent protein-Rab5 transgenic mice

Lippuner, C., Paape, D., Paterou, A., Brand, J., Richardson, M., Smith, A., Hoffmann, K., Brinkmann, V., Blackburn, C. & Aebischer, T. Feb 2009 In : The FASEB Journal. 23, 2, p. 483-491 9 p.

Extensive Hematopoietic Stem Cell Generation in the AGM Region via Maturation of VE-Cadherin+CD45+ Pre-Definitive HSCs

Taoudi, S., Gonneau, C., Moore, K., Sheridan, J. M., Blackburn, C. C., Taylor, E. & Medvinsky, A. Jul 2008 In : Cell Stem Cell. 3, 1, p. 99-108 10 p.

Contribution of neural crest-derived cells in the embryonic and adult thymus

Foster, K., Sheridan, J., Veiga-Fernandes, H., Roderick, K., Pachnis, V., Adams, R., Blackburn, C., Kioussis, D. & Coles, M. 1 Mar 2008 In : Journal of Immunology. 180, 5, p. 3183-3189 7 p.

Identification of Plet-1 as a specific marker of early thymic epithelial progenitor cells

Depreter, M. G. L., Blair, N. F., Gaskell, T. L., Nowell, C. S., Davern, K., Pagliocca, A., Stenhouse, F. H., Farley, A. M., Fraser, A., Vrana, J., Robertson, K., Morahan, G., Tomlinson, S. R. & Blackburn, C. C. Jan 2008 In : Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 105, 3, p. 961–966 6 p.

EVA regulates thymic stromal organisation and early thymocyte development

DeMonte, L., Porcellini, S., Tafi, E., Sheridan, J., Gordon, J., Depreter, M., Blair, N., Panigada, M., Sanvito, F., Merati, B., Albientz, A., Barthlott, T., Ozmen, L., Blackburn, C. C. & Guttinger, M. 4 May 2007 In : Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications. 356, 2, p. 334-340 7 p.

Thymus organogenesis and development of the thymic stroma

Nowell, C. S., Farley, A. M. & Blackburn, C. C. 2007 In : Methods in Molecular Biology. 380, p. 125-62 38 p.

A Stem Cell Story

Hardie, A. & Blackburn, C. 2006

Bmp4 and Noggin expression during early thymus and parathyroid organogenesis

Patel, S. R., Gordon, J., Mahbub, F., Blackburn, C. C. & Manley, N. R. 2006 In : Gene Expression Patterns. 6, 8, p. 794-9 6 p.

Identification of a tandem duplicated array in the Rhox alpha locus on mouse chromosome X

Morris, L., Gordon, J. & Blackburn, C. C. 2006 In : Mammalian Genome. 17, 2, p. 178-87 10 p.

Heterologous expression of the filarial nematode alt gene products reveals their potential to inhibit immune function

Gomez-Escobar, N., Bennett, C., Prieto-Lafuente, L., Blackburn, C. C., Maizels, R. M. & Aebischer, T. 23 Mar 2005 In : BMC Biology. 3, 8

A critical role for lipophosphoglycan in proinflammatory responses of dendritic cells to Leishmania mexicana

Aebischer, T., Bennett, C. L., Blackburn, C. C., Pelizzola, M., Vizzardelli, C., Pavelka, N., Urbano, M., Capozzoli, M., Luchini, A., Granucci, F., Ricciardi-Castagnoli, P. & Ilg, T. 1 Feb 2005 In : European Journal of Immunology. 35, 2, p. 476-486 11 p.

In vivo and in vitro assays of thymic organogenesis

Gordon, J., Wilson, V. A., Moore-Scott, B. A., Manley, N. R. & Blackburn, C. C. 2005 In : Methods in molecular medicine. 105, p. 303-10 8 p.

Functional evidence for a single endodermal origin for the thymic epithelium

Gordon, J., Wilson, V. A., Blair, N. F., Sheridan, J., Farley, A., Wilson, L., Manley, N. R. & Blackburn, C. C. 2004 In : Nature Immunology. 5, 5, p. 546-53 8 p.

Identification and characterization of thymic epithelial progenitor cells

Bennett, A. R., Farley, A., Blair, N. F., Gordon, J., Sharp, L. & Blackburn, C. C. Jun 2002 In : Immunity. 16, 6, p. 803-14 12 p.

Press clippings

Article highlights production of working thymus in animal cells by Prof Clare Blackburn's team

Clare Blackburn


1 item of media coverage

Cancer linked to ageing immune system

Clare Blackburn


9 items of media coverage

Cancer risk linked to ageing immune system. Clare Blackburn finds

Clare Blackburn


1 item of media coverage

Edinburgh drug quest to help elderly fight disease

Clare Blackburn


3 items of media coverage

Edinburgh researchers win £5 million to investigate stem cell treatments for the immune system

Clare Blackburn


8 items of media coverage

Edinburgh scientists led by Prof Clare Blackburn regenerate an organ in a mouse

Clare Blackburn


1 item of media coverage

Edinburgh team led by Clare Blackburn successfully regenerated an organ in a mouse

Clare Blackburn


45 items of media coverage

Stem cells development could impact on organ regeneration

Clare Blackburn


4 items of media coverage

Team led by Prof Clare Blackburn first to grow organ in animal from cells created in lab

Clare Blackburn


61 items of media coverage


'Manufacturable tissue-engineered thymic organoid arrays as a discovery platform for thymus and T cell research and translation

Blackburn, C.


£20,000, BBSRC

Derivation and utilisation of thymic epithelial progenitor cell lines

Blackburn, C. & Porteous, D.


£721,702, UK-based charities

Derivation of thymic epithelial progenitor cells from ES cells

Blackburn, C.


£305,195, MRC


Blackburn, C. & Parry, S.


£356,208, EU government bodies


Blackburn, C.


£160,385, EU government bodies

EuroStemCell: European Consortium for Communicating Stem Cell Research

Blackburn, C.


£461,539, EU government bodies

Eurosystem: European Consortium for Systematic Stem Cell Biology

Blackburn, C., Chambers, I. & Tomlinson, S.


£1,668,325, EU government bodies

Foxn1 and regulation of thymic homeostasis and rebound

Blackburn, C.


£249,409, UK-based charities

Generation of reagents for the purification and characterisation of human thymic epithelial progenitor

Blackburn, C., Blair, N. & Depreter, M.


£140,631, UK-based charities

Generation of regents for the purification and characterisation of Human Thymioc Epithelail Progenitor cells.

Blackburn, C.


£284,952, UK-based charities

INTENS: INtestinal Tissue ENgineering Solution

Blackburn, C.


£67,022, EU government bodies

In Vitro Propagation of Mouse and Human fetal thymic epitelial pogenitor cells

Blackburn, C.


£191,379, UK-based charities

Japan Partnering Award: Gene regulatory networks in stem cells and primordial germ cells

Chambers, I., Blackburn, C., Kunath, T., Lowell, S., Medvinsky, A., O'Carroll, D., Rosser, S., Soufi, A. & Wilson, V.


£47,065, BBSRC

Leishmania SP: as a potential vaccine carriers

Blackburn, C.


£43,830, UK-based charities

Leishmania sp: As potential vaccine carriers

Blackburn, C.


£6,000, UK-based charities

Mechanisms Controlling thymic, homeostasis , involution and rebound

Blackburn, C.


£30,776, Non-EU other

Molecular & cellular analysis of thymic progenitor cells.

Blackburn, C.


£597,823, UK-based charities

Molecular analysis of thymus organogenesis and thymic epithelial cell differentiation

Blackburn, C.


£18,000, UK-based charities


Blackburn, C.


£25,385, EU government bodies

OptiStem: Optimization of Stem Cell therapy for clinical trials of degenerative skin and muscle diseases

Blackburn, C.


£897,117, EU government bodies

Prize studentship for Ms Lucy Morris. The cellular and molecular basis of disease

Blackburn, C.


£152,518, UK-based charities

Purchase of a FACS Cell Sorter and a LSR11 Flow Cytometer

Brickman, J., Chambers, I., Nerlov, C., Blackburn, C. & Medvinsky, A.


£834,038, UK-based charities

Purchase of gamma irradiators

Medvinsky, A., Anderton, S., Gray, D., Allen, J. E. & Blackburn, C.


£334,203, UK-based charities

RCUK Fellowships

Ingram, G., Yau, J., Blackburn, C., Boyle, P., Brophy, P., Goryachev, A., Johnson, W., Knott, S., Morcom, A., Morton, N., Mutapi, F., Porteous, D., Savill, J. & Millar, K.


£250,000, STFC
£125,000, ESRC
£1,250,000, EPSRC


Blackburn, C.


£118,284, UK-based charities

Steroid receptors and transcriptional control of Thymic rebound

Blackburn, C.


£616,413, BBSRC

Summer Student

Blackburn, C.


£1,500, UK-based charities


Chapman, K., Blackburn, C. & Holmes, M.


£151,605, UK-based charities

THYMISTEM: Development of Stem Cell Based Therapy for Thymic Regeneration

Blackburn, C.


£1,451,310, EU government bodies

THYMISTEM: Development of Stem Cell Based Therapy for Thymic Regeneration (MGMT)

Blackburn, C.


£345,168, EU government bodies

THYMISTEM: Development of Stem Cell Based Therapy for Thymic Regeneration (OTHER)

Blackburn, C.


£124,444, EU government bodies

Transgenic Leishmania as probes for antigen processing pathways

Blackburn, C.


£5,250, UK-based charities

Transgenic Leishmania as probes of antigen processing pathways

Blackburn, C.


£92,508, UK-based charities

Vacation scholarship for Roxana Nadershahi

Blackburn, C.


£1,320, UK-based charities

Wellcome Trust Career Development Fellowship

Blackburn, C.


£314,365, UK-based charities