Birmingham Centre for Genome Biology

The Birmingham Centre for Genome Biology (BCGB) brings together experts from across the University of Birmingham who are working in diverse settings and research fields but who share the goal of understanding at a deep molecular level several key aspects of how genomes function.
The BCGB has members spanning the Institute of Cancer and Genomic Sciences, The Institute of Metabolism and Systems Research, the Institute of Inflammation and AgingSchool of Biosciences and the School of Dentistry working under the broad research themes of Gene Regulation and Epigenetics in Development and Disease, RNA Biology, DNA Replication and Repair, Cancer Biology, Bacterial Genome Studies, Environmental Toxicology and Computational Biology.

Research themes

This page summaries the diverse and overlapping research activities of members of BCGB

2024 Symposium

Register now for our 2024 symposium - 'From genome stability and genetics to gene expression control'

BCGB publications

Here is a representative selection of recent major publications from BCGB group leaders that covers all the areas of BCGB.

Also in 'Birmingham Centre for Genome Biology'

Latest News FOR BCGB:

Joined BCGB, Chemistry & Nucleic Acids Forum - interdisciplinary workshop on imaging (protein, nucleic acid and tissues) on 23rd of January 9:30am-1:30pm in CPD forum.

Open to any BCGB members interested in imaging. See the News and Events page for more details.

Landmark paper by Professor Aga Gambus achieves cover spot in November's issue of Molecular Cell.

Professor Ferenc Mueller has taken over as director of BCGB from the founding director Prof Constanze Bonifer.

Eva Petermann and Aga Gambus were promoted to Professor in the 2023 round.

At the beginning of 2023 the BCGB gained 3 new members: members: Dr Jiarui Zhou from the School of Biosciences, Professor Jason Parsons from the Institute of Cancer and Genomic Sciences, and Professor Joao Pedro de Magalhaes from the Institute of Inflammation and Ageing.

Following the 2023 BCGB Symposium, the BCGB gained an additional 6 members: Professor Teresa Carlomagno, Professor Hansong Ma and Dr Hung-Ji Tsai from the School of Biosciences, Professor Adam Croft from the Institute of Inflammation and Aging, Dr Gianmarco Contino from the Institute of Cancer and Genomic Sciences , and Dr Dario Balacco from The School of Dentistry. See the News and Events page for more details.

The first full scale BCGB Genome Biology Symposium since 2019 that was held in June 2023. The 2023 symposium also celebrated the last symposium to occur before the retirement of the BCGB founding members Professor Constanze Bonifer and Professor Peter Cockerill at the end of 2023. A summary of the symposium is on the News and Events page.  

New grant awards for BCGB:

Members of BCGB continue to be highly successful in attracting major grant funding. Listed here are a few of the recent successes:

Aga Gambus, Jo Parish and Clare Davies were each awarded research grants that together total more than £1.6 million.

BCGB Seminar series:

See the seminars section for a full listing of past visiting seminar speakers. 

Major publications FOR BCGB:

Recent publications include these selected highlights:

Professor Aga Gambus published a landmark paper in Molecular Cell showing how DONSON functions by changing the conformation of the DNA replication initiation complex from an inactive to an active form, and activating the helicase activity needed for replication (see also the Spotlight feature on the BCGB Research page for more details).

Dr Ildem Akerman made a major breakthrough in a paper in Cell Reports showing that Polycomb-repressed promoters are hotspots for DNA replication initiation.

Professor Constanze Bonifer published a pioneering method in Nature Communications that makes it possible to perform global identification of the transcriptional enhancers that control cell differentiation across consecutive stages from embryonic stem cells to mature blood cells.

Dr Matthias Soller had a publication in Nature Communications based on studies of drosophila showing that methylation of RNA plays a role in neuronal memory.

Professor Ferenc Mueller led the DANIO-CODE consortium in a Nature Genetics publication representing a comprehensive genetic atlas defining 140,000 regions of DNA involved in regulating gene expression in zebrafish.

Dr Martin Higgs published ground-breaking work in Molecular Cell by showing that the DNA repair protein BODL1 is able to recruit SETD1A which methylates histone H3K4 at DNA double strand breaks.

Professor Grant Stewart published the basis of a newly identified genetic disease in The Journal of Clinical Investigation. This study demonstrated that the helicase RECQL1 is required for the repair of DNA damage mediated by topoisomerases.

See the news and events section for more details about these studies, and the publications section for a more comprehensive representative selection of recent major recent publications from BCGB members.