A black squirrel

The Genetics research area has a broad range of research interests including DNA profiling, the study of melanism in squirrels, DNA methylation, antibiotic resistance genes, and changes in gene expression during cancer or chemotherapy.

Dr Nathalie Zahra conducts research into DNA profiling, fingerprint comparison, and human identification methods.

Dr Helen McRobie focuses her research interests on the pharmacological characterisation and pleiotropy of the MC1R gene. Her work on the genetic basis of melanism in grey, fox, red and palm squirrels was the basis of the Black Squirrel Project.

Dr Claire Pike focuses her research on the Epigenetic regulation of gene expression, and the investigation of breast cancer genetics.

Dr Mari Uchimoto conducts research concerning DNA methylation, RNA stability, mRNA and microRNA analysis.

The Genetics research area is part of the Biomedical Research Group and the Forensic & Investigative Sciences Research Group.

We offer our Biomedical Science PhD or Forensic & Investigative Sciences PhD, and a range of innovative research project opportunities for postgraduate researchers in Biomedical Science or Forensic Science.


Find out more about our members by exploring their staff profiles.

Key publications

Jung S., Cho S., Antunes J., Gomes, I. Uchimoto M.L., Oh Y. N., Giacomo L., Schneider P. M., Park M. S., van der Meer D., Williams G., McCord B., Ahn H., Choi D. H., Lee Y. H., Lee S. D. and Lee H.Y., 2016. A collaborative exercise on DNA methylation based body fluid typing. Electrophoresis. 37(21), pp.2759-2766.

Meshram D.D., Pike C.V.S. and Coussons P.J., 2017. Inhibition of Transglutaminase 2 activity increases cisplatin cytotoxicity in a model of human hepatocarcinoma chemotherapy. European Journal of Pharmacology, 815, pp.332-342.

McRobie, H.R., King L.M., Fanutti, C., Symmons, M.F. and Coussons, P.J., 2014. Agouti signalling protein is an inverse agonist to the wildtype and agonist to the melanic variant of the melanocortin-1 receptor in the grey squirrel (Sciurus carolinensis). FEBS Letters, 588(14), pp.2335-43.