Dr Laura O'Neill

Institute of Clinical Sciences
Programme Director - BSc Biomedical Science
Senior Lecturer

Contact details

Institute of Clinical Sciences, Stem Cell Biology and Gene Regulation
University of Birmingham
B15 2TT



Currently lecture on the undergraduate Biomedical Science Degree (BMedSci) and Deputy module coordinator on a third year module (Stem cells, differentiation and disease) and provide small group teaching for both the medical and dental students.



Currently the group is investigating whether histone modifications are heritable during stem cell differentiation and how they are related to gene expression. DNA in eukaryotic cells is packaged by its association with histones, which are highly conserved and subjected to a plethora of post-translational modifications. Some of these modifications, for example acetylation and methylation (H3K4me3) have been correlated with active gene expression whereas other modifications (e.g. H3K9me2, H3K27me3) are enriched on silent genes. These modifications may indicate the presence of an epigenetic code. For such a code to exist it must be heritable from one cell generation to another. We are trying to understand further, which modifications are stably transmitted and which modifications reflect the transcriptional status of the gene in embryonic stem cells

Other activities


Supervision of PhD, MRes and Undergraduate 3rd year students and offer summer placements for 2nd year undergraduate students to gain expertise in a working research laboratory.


O'Neill LP, Vermilyea MD, Turner BM. (2006) Nat Genet. 38(7):835-41.  VerMilyea MD, O'Neill LP, Turner BM. 2009 Transcription-independent heritability of induced histone modifications in the mouse preimplantation embryo. PLoS One. 4(6):e6086.

O'Neill LP, Spotswood HT, Fernando M, Turner BM (2008) Differential loss of histone H3 isoforms mono-, di- and tri-methylated at lysine 4 during X-inactivation in female embryonic stem cells. J. Biol Chem. 389(4):365-70.

Nightingale KP, O'Neill LP, Turner BM (2006).Histone modifications: signalling receptors and potential elements of a heritable epigenetic code. Curr Opin Genet Dev. 16(2):125-36.

View all publications in research portal