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Institute of Genetics and Cancer

Institute of Genetics and Cancer

A blog for our community to write about their interests and to share their stories.

Category: Our Scientists

Dr Kelly Blacklock

Rare diseases are defined by the European Union as a disease or condition that effects fewer than 1 in 2000 people within the general population. Despite their individual rarity the sheer number of rare diseases results in a much higher figure as 1 in 17 people in the UK will suffer from a rare disease […]

RNAse H2 structure, predicted with AlphaFold-Multimer

Above: RNAse H2 structure, predicted with AlphaFold-Multimer. The visualization of interfaces raises questions on mechanisms of action, which can then be experimentally tested in the wet lab.   Artificial Intelligence, or AI, is slowly starting to make its way into every aspect of life. In the increasingly data-driven field of Biology, tools like AlphaFold are […]

By Caroline Hayward and Shona Kerr   Professor Caroline Hayward has decided to retire, after 45 years of service between the University and the MRC Human Genetics Unit. In January 2024 the Senatus Academicus conferred on her the title of Professor Emeritus. We wanted to learn about her career, so project manager Shona Kerr interviewed […]

Fig 1A. Exploiting optic vesicle organoids to probe the molecular origins of eye-field specification. (A) Representative organoids from days 1-5, and day 8. Scale bars: 100 µm

By Andrew Papanastasiou and Liusaidh Owen   Andrew Papanastasiou and Liusaidh Owen take us on a deep dive into their study at the MRC Human Genetics Unit.   The eye field, its development and challenges in understanding   The establishment or `specification’ of the eye field marks the first known stage of vertebrate eye development. […]

Do you have different groups you want to compare, but don’t know how? Or are you wondering what sample sizes are needed to get reliable results? There is a man at the IGC who can help with power and your analyses: Hannes Becher is the statistician at the IGC’s Bioinformatics Analysis Core Team. Hannes joined […]

Team member of the Bioinformatics Analysis Core   Science is unpredictable, but you have to ask clear and sensible biological questions before doing the analysis, rather than producing big data for the sake of it. – Suggested by Dr. Philippe Gautier (Gogo) to young researchers in the MRC Human Genetics Unit, and those who plan […]

Separating green from red, and dead from live, she works miracles with our low in number, debris-filled, clumpy cell samples. She brings light and energy to a darker and windowless basement space and is a friendly face when failed experiments get us down. We all know that our flow cytometry facility wouldn’t run the same […]

From shy researcher to Fringe artist I am not a natural stand-up comedian by any stretch of the imagination, but I do have a passion for public engagement, so the opportunity to talk in front of a real Fringe audience about my research was very tempting. Without thinking too much about the reality, I boldly […]

Dr Duncan Sproul is a CRUK Career Development Fellow at the MRC Human Genetics Unit and Institute of Genetics and Cancer at the University of Edinburgh. His work focusses on understanding the molecular mechanisms behind deregulated DNA methylation in disease. I met with him to chat about his career, his thoughts on how epigenetics will advance […]

Dr. Donncha Dunican

It was the mid-1990s, a young student started his undergraduate study at the National University of Ireland Galway with a settled idea that he is going to become a biochemist after graduation. He majored in Chemistry and Mathematics in the second year. He was very down the line to receive his Honours Degree in Biochemistry […]


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