University of Dundee

Centre for Gene Regulation and Expression

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Scottish funding for Dundee Covid-19 research project

Scientists and clinicians based at the Schools of Life Sciences and Medicine at the University have been awarded funding from the Chief Scientist Office that will help identify those most vulnerable to severe symptoms of coronavirus.

The team led by Professor Doreen Cantrell, a Professor of Cellular Immunology and Professor James Chalmers, a leading respiratory disease physician at Ninewells, has been awarded £294,000 to help identify patients experiencing symptoms of Covid-19 whose condition could significantly worsen.

Covid virus images shared for global science community

Scientists at the University of Dundee and the EMBL’s European Bioinformatics Institute (EMBL-EBI) have published online some of the largest and highest resolution images yet recorded of the SARS-CoV-2 virus, the cause of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The images were collected by a consortium of researchers from the Hubrecht Institute in Utrecht, Erasmus MC University Medical Center Rotterdam, and Maastricht University in the Netherlands.

DNA damage and faulty repair jointly cause mutations

Whole genome sequencing gives new insights into cancer genomics

Summary

  • By analysing genomic data from worms, scientists detailed how mutations are caused by a combination of DNA damage and inaccurate repair
  • This shows that a single DNA-damaging agent can generate a multitude of mutational signatures depending on the repair mechanisms involved in fixing the original damage 
  • The research could help pinpoint the causes of mutations found in the genomes of cancer patients and healthy individuals

Van Aalten group identify new class of disease

Researchers in the School have discovered a new neurodevelopmental disease caused by genetic mutations and helped explain why patients with these mutations suffer this condition.

Around 1% of the global population are affected by intellectual disability, a condition characterised by significant limitations in both intellectual function and in adaptive behaviour. It was known that a molecule called GlcNAc was found on proteins related to intellectual disability, but its exact role in this disease remained unclear.

£1.6 million award will bring machine learning into life sciences

A University of Dundee researcher has been awarded £1.6 million in funding from UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) to develop machine learning tools for the life sciences.

Machine learning has rapidly transformed many aspects of our daily lives in the last decade. It is also increasingly playing a vital role in analysing biomedical data. However, using these techniques to answer fundamental, mechanistic questions about biological processes remains challenging.

Findlay lab makes new insights into tissue development from stem cells

New research by Greg Findlay’s group in the MRC-PPU has identified a signalling system that controls embryonic stem cell development, which has implications for understanding how tissues form within the mammalian embryo. The paper, by Rosalia Fernandez-Alonso and Francisco Bustos, post-doctoral investigators in Greg’s lab, uncovers a new role for the EPH-Ephrin system in regulating stem cell differentiation.

Cryo EM Workshop held in School

This week forty researchers completed a two-day workshop in Cryo Electron Microscopy (EM) held in the School. Cryo EM makes it possible to see the biological molecules that underpin life in atomic detail. Participants from Dundee and St Andrews benefited from lectures and practical workshops given by experts from across the UK including:

MRC DTP iCASE PhD Project: Developing novel biophysical and cellular assays to study small-molecule mediated protein ubiquitination and degradation

Bifunctional degrader molecules also known as Proteolysis Targeting Chimeras (PROTACs) and the mechanistically related monovalent degraders (for example auxin, lenalidomide and indisulam) work by co-opting an E3 ubiquitin ligase to act upon a neo-substrate protein. Formation of a ternary complex species between the E3 ligase, the degrader molecule and the target protein leads to the latter being ubiquitinated and subsequently degraded by the proteasome.

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