Research Biographies

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Genome Regulation
Chancellor's Fellow

Sasha Kagansky

Contact Details

E-mail address:
Telephone: +44 (0)131 651 1080
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: Synthetic Epigenetics and Chromatin Transitions



Alexander (Sasha) Kagansky is a Chancellor's Fellow at the MRC Human Genetics Unit, MRC Institute of Genetics and Molecular Medicine at The University of Edinburgh, and leads the research at the Synthetic Epigenetics Lab, Chromosomes and Gene Expression Section of the IGMM. In 2005 - 2012, Sasha worked at the Wellcome Trust Centre for Cell Biology, University of Edinburgh, as a postdoctoral research associate (Robin Allshire lab, until 2010) and then as senior research associate (Bill Earnshaw lab). Research in his lab is aimed at the understanding of the molecular basis of the epigenetic transitions, and at elucidating complex homeostasis of biochemical reactions behind these transitions, which will define the future of molecular medicine. In his studies he combines genetics, synthetic and chemical biology, biochemistry, metabolomics, and proteomics. He received his Ph.D. in Molecular Biology in 2004 after spending 3 years in National Institutes of Health in USA. In 1998 he got his MS in Biophysics from St. Petersburg State Polytechnical University in Russia. 

Apart from the research in the lab, Sasha Kagansky regularly organizes public engagement of science activities for different target groups - artists, primary school kids, and general public - in different parts of the world, which result in new collaborations between scientists and artists. 

He is also a member of Global Young Academy, Young Academy of Scotland and Mason Institute for Medicine, Life Sciences and the Law.


Academic Qualifications 

  • Master
    • 1998, Master in Science, St. Petersburg Polytechnical University, Russia
  • Doctorate
    • 2004, Doctor of Science, National Institutes of Health, USA

Research in a Nutshell

One of the most fundamental problems in modern biology is to determine mechanisms that underlie changes in genome regulation at the level of chromatin structure, as it defines gene expression and chromosome function and is linked to cancer, differentiation, ageing, and brain function. To address that, we must understand what changes occur upon the transformation between active and repressed chromatin states. Our goal is to understand the molecular mechanisms and role of such transitions in mammalian cells. To achieve this, we investigate metabolic changes that accompany chromatin modification in healthy and pathological cells and upon chemical intervention, using mass spectrometry and other methods. We are also trying to develop new standard assay for chromatin changes fingerprinting, which promises to revolutionize the healthcare.