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

Sixth BCGB Symposium

The 6th BCGB Symposium on Genome Biology was a huge success. With about 160 attendees, the talks included Keynote lectures from Ellen Rothenberg (Caltech) and Dan Tenen (Harvard).

MRes in Functional Genome Biology

A new MRes in Functional Genome Biology is being launched in September 2023 that will be run jointly by BCGB and the Institute of Cancer and Genomic Sciences.

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:

Eva Petermann and Aga Gambus have just been promoted to Professor.


The BCGB has 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. See the News and Events page for more details.

The BCGB continues to have substantial successes in publishing significant research outputs and in gaining major grant funding. Some of this success is summarised on the News and Events page.

Two major events being held this year are the launch of a new MRes in Genome Biology in Sept 2023, and the first full scale Genome Biology Symposium since 2019 that was held in June. The symposium will also coincide with the retirement of the BCGB founding director Professor Constanze Bonifer. A summary of the symposium is on the News and Events page. 


A new MRes in Functional Genome Biology is being launched in September 2023 that will be run jointly by BCGB and the Institute of Cancer and Genomic Sciences. This research masters degree is offering cutting-edge taught and research training in all aspects of genome biology.

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:

In 2022 Professor Jo Morris secured more than £4.9 million from the Wellcome Trust, the MRC and Horizon Europe to better understand DNA replication and repair.

Dr Eva Petermann and Professor Parish were also awarded £1.2 million by the MRC in 2022 to better understand the role of oncogene activation and genomic instability in cancer initiation. 

In 2022 Professor Andrew Beggs was awarded a £1.5 million MRC Senior Clinical Fellowship to continue his research using organoid models to study mechanisms of treatment resistance in colorectal cancer.

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:

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.