The Department of Genetics consists of 24 research groups headed by University Teaching Officers and Senior Fellows. The groups cover a wide range of interests, summarised below, and with links to group webpages.
Genomics and Systems Biology
The post-genomic era has stimulated the use of high-throughput techniques for data generation. The Department is at the forefront of utilising such techniques, including - but not limited to - functional and computational genomics, bioinformatics, and genetic databases. We are involved in internationally recognised services to the research community, including FlyBase [Adryan], InterMine/FlyMine [Micklem], a Drosophila functional genomic facility [Russell] [Adryan], and a Bioinformatics teaching suite. There are also strong links with proteomics and structural biology groups in the Department of Biochemistry, and computational protein chemistry in the Department of Chemistry, to allow multi-scale studies of biological phenomena. Several groups develop tools for in vivo functional genomics, as illustrated by the genome-wide RNAi screen of C. elegans [Ahringer], high-throughput / high-content microscopy genome-wide knockout screens of S. pombe [Carazo Salas], and RNAi and protein trap screens in Drosophila [Russell] [St.Johnston] [O'Kane].
This represents a large area of international research strength. The Department has had a tradition of excellence in Drosophila genetics, which has underpinned the analysis of developmental processes in recent years. Members of the Department have featured prominently in these advances. In recent years Developmental Biology has been in a state of transition, and is becoming increasingly cellular in its focus and analytical methods. This is reflected in the research of several groups in the main Department [Martinez Arias] [O'Kane] [Furner] and in the Gurdon Institute [St.Johnston] [Ahringer]. The topics of interest range from the role of cell signalling and gene regulation in cell fate assignments and pattern formation in Drosophila [Adryan] [St.Johnston] [Martinez Arias] [O'Kane] to the analysis of chromatin modifications during development in plants [Furner], C. elegans [Ahringer] and in Drosophila [Russell].
The major topic of interest is the cell division cycle. Cancer Research UK provides the major support in this area, although substantial funding also comes from other sources. Thus there is a critical mass of internationally-recognised groups studying aspects of cell division and chromosome biology in the main Department [Glover] [Farr] [Segal] [Draviam] [Kimata] [Carazo Salas].
The Department hosts microbial research groups working on E. coli [Summers] , budding yeast [Segal] and fission yeast [Carazo Salas]. Research in the areas of the cell cycle, signalling, intracellular communication, and novel cell factories. Productive research collaborations have been established with both academic and industrial partners. The outcomes from this research includes a series of patents.
Evolution and Population Genetics
Modern evolutionary theory is based on the union of genetics with Darwin's theory of evolution, and traces its roots back to the seminal work of Ronald Fisher who was based in the Department of Genetics during the 1930s. In recent years research in this area has been transformed by new DNA sequencing technologies, which have resulted in unprecedented amounts of genomic data becoming available. Work at the interface between genomics and evolution in the department covers areas including the evolution of pathogens and their hosts, the role of natural selection in shaping genomes, and the evolutionary origins of humans and other apes. There are three labs working within this subject area currently - [Jiggins] [Welch] [Scally] and the Illingworth Group will be joining the Department very shortly.
A full alphabetical list of groups in the Department is available HERE