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Genome Regulation

Principal Investigator, Personal Chair of Chromatin Biology

Nick Gilbert

Contact Details

E-mail address:

Telephone: +44 (0)131 651 8551
Fax: +44 (0)131 651 8800
Address: MRC Human Genetics Unit MRC IGMM, University of Edinburgh Western General Hospital, Crewe Road, Edinburgh EH4 2XU
Research Programme:

Chromatin Structure and Genome Stability

Lab Page





During my PhD I used classical biochemistry and biophysical approaches to investigate chromatin the fundamental structural organisation of chromatin fibres. Subsequently during my postdoctoral training with Professor Wendy Bickmore (MRC Human Genetics Unit) I applied these approaches to study higher order chromatin structure and nuclear organisation in mammalian cells and developed a sucrose gradient based sedimentation technique in conjunction with genomic microarrays to map chromatin fibre structure, genome wide. I started my own lab at the Edinburgh Cancer Research Centre with a fellowship from the Wellcome Trust in 2006 where I developed a technique to map the chromatin fibre structure of the active and inactive X chromosomes using SNP arrays and relate this to large scale levels of chromatin organization. This work led me to develop a new molecule for mapping DNA structure. To achieve this I worked in the chemistry department for six months and learnt the basics in organic chemistry synthesis giving me a good understanding for the development of future tools for investigating chromatin structure. In 2012 I moved my lab to the MRC Human Genetics Unit where I have an MRC Senior fellowship. My lab is now focused on investigating DNA topology and chromatin fibre structure across the human genome and how it can influence gene transcription and lead to chromosomal instability.


Academic Qualifications

  • Bachelor
    • 1995, Bachelor of Science, 1st, University of Edinburgh
  • Doctorate
    • 2000, Doctor of Medicine, University of Edinburgh


Research in a Nutshell

In mammalian cells DNA is wrapped around proteins to form chromatin. This protects DNA from damage and regulates gene transcription. Our lab is studying the protein and epigenetic factors that modify DNA and chromatin structure influencing gene expression and genome stability.


A key goal of our research is to understand how changes in chromatin structure affect gene expression and genome stability in disease. These studies will help us to understand this process and develop future drugs to treat diseases like cancer.


Nick Gilbert Packaging the genome: Research in a nutshell video