Priority Area Leads: Professor Bryan Turner, Cancer Sciences, email@example.com; Professor Paul Moss, Cancer Sciences, firstname.lastname@example.org; Professor Eamonn Maher, Clinical and Experimental Medicine, email@example.com; Professor Constanze Bonifer, Cancer Sciences, firstname.lastname@example.org
Defining the genetic and epigenetic factors that drive cell differentiation, explaining how they interact and how they are implicated in human disease, is a major research interest across the University of Birmingham. Such research underpins the emerging specialty of stratified (personalised) medicine, in which therapy is based on a patient’s individual characteristics. This approach has been made possible by recent dramatic advances in high-throughput technologies. Birmingham Fellows are expected to contribute to this programme by generating novel and ground-breaking fundamental research that can be translated into patient benefit.
Birmingham is one of the world’s leading centres for epigenetic research (http://sciencewatch.com/inter/ins/09/09marEpigentop20/). We have a growing interest in how both genetic and environmental factors, including diet, lifestyle and therapeutic drugs, alter genome function and, potentially, precipitate or predispose to disease. The College of Medical and Dental Sciences houses research groups exploring how chromatin and transcriptional programming regulate gene expression through development and differentiation and how these processes are subverted in cancer and other diseases (Constanze Bonifer, Peter Cockerill, Jon Frampton, Bryan Turner). In addition to work with human material, we use a variety of model systems, including mouse (Bonifer, Frampton, Turner), zebra fish (Ferenc Mueller) and Drosophila (Paul Badenhorst). The work on epigenetics complements our long-standing strength in human medical genetics and the discovery and characterisation of genes that predispose to cancer and other diseases (Eamonn Maher). The processes by which the genome is disrupted during cancer progression is being explored by the Genome Stability Unit, School of Cancer Sciences, led by Malcolm Taylor.
With substantial funding from national and international agencies, several clinical and basic research groups are now exploring the application of genetic and epigenetic data to stratified medicine. Birmingham's Clinical Trials Unit led by Pamela Kearns is a world leading centre for clinical trials, giving us the expertise to collect, coordinate and analyse large and diverse clinical datasets.
We are now recruiting Birmingham Fellows whose fundamental research in genetics and epigenetics will complement our growing stratified medicine programmes. We seek creative individuals with novel research programmes likely to generate ground-breaking developments. These might be in areas of current strength or in areas that will allow the development of new but complementary themes. Interests in basic genome biology and bioinformatics would also be appropriate to the call.