University of Dundee

Gordon Simpson awarded Personal Chair in Molecular Genetics

04 Nov 2014

Gordon Simpson, a Principal Investigator in both the Division of Plant Sciences, University of Dundee, and at the James Hutton Institute, has been awarded a Personal Chair in Molecular Genetics by the university. Gordon’s research investigates the role of RNA processing in controlling development, particularly the time at which plants flower. His first degree is in Marine Biology and he received his PhD from the University of Dundee in 1990, going on to win a Royal Society European Exchange Research Fellowship to study at the Friedrich Miescher Institut, Basel, Switzerland, before returning to the UK to work at the John Innes Centre, Norwich. He returned to Dundee to work at the SCRI (now the James Hutton Institute) in 2003, taking up a joint appointment with the University of Dundee in 2004.

Gordon’s research is mainly based in the small cress plant Arabidopsis thaliana which is a model for more genetically complex plants. His work has relevance also to crops where the length of time it takes to flower can determine where a crop can be successfully grown. Recent discoveries about the control of where messenger RNAs end, and how they are methylated, have parallels also in human cells and may explain changes that occur in some diseases including cancer. 

Professor Claire Halpin Head of the Division of Plant Sciences said, “I am delighted at Gordon’s promotion to the Chair of Molecular Genetics, reflecting research of the highest quality and his excellent reputation both nationally and internationally.”

Commenting on the award Gordon said: 
“It’s particularly personal for me because Dundee University has played so many pivotal roles in my scientific career: I was awarded my PhD here, won my Royal Society Fellowship from here, and gained my first faculty position here as well. To now be made a Professor at Dundee University is a great privilege.

I am grateful to the dedicated scientists who moved to Dundee to join us, and for the collaborations with other groups here in the College of Life Sciences. There is a resurgence in plant science in Dundee, so together with our new discoveries, I am excited about the future.”