Centre for Reproductive Health

Gray group

How mRNAs are regulated at the level of translation and the consequences of their mis-regulation

Professor Nicola Gray

Principal investigator

Contact details



The Centre for Reproductive Health
Institute for Regeneration and Repair (IRR)
4-5 Little France Drive
Edinburgh BioQuarter

Post Code
EH16 4UU

Research Interests

Genes must be regulated to ensure that they are expressed at the right time and place and in the correct amounts. Failure in this process can lead to disease. Genes can be regulated at multiple steps including at the level of mRNA translation, the final step in producing proteins. Work in recent years has revealed that the mis-regulation of mRNA translation is important in the aetiology of a wide range of human diseases including reproductive, neurological and metabolic disorders. Our work examines how mRNAs are regulated at the level of translation and the consequences of their mis-regulation. Current projects in the laboratory investigate translational control events that contribute to reproductive health with a focus towards understanding normal and dysfunctional gametogenesis and early development.  This is complemented by our work on host-viral interactions, since studying the mechanisms employed by viruses to subvert the host cell machinery has revealed many of the ways in which cells normally regulate protein production.

Current research projects

Current Grants

  • 2012-2015  BBSRC Project Grant: Elucidating the molecular and biological functions of mammalian-specific PABP5, a unique non-canonical PABP.
  • 2012-2017  MRC  Program Grant: Poly(A)-binding proteins highlight the importance of regulated mRNA translation and stability in determining a functional materno-fetal interface.
  • 2011-2014   BBSRC Project Grant: mRNA-specific translational control: A novel mechanism.
  • 2007-2013  Wellcome Trust Project Grant: Translational regulation in germ cells, the DAZL family of RNA-binding proteins

Staff/group members

  • Matthew Brook (email)
  • Richard Smith
  • Etienne Dubiez
  • Boglarka (Bee) Nagy
  • Yiu To (Otto) Yeung


  • Hristina Gyurova

  • Triin Ounapuu

Principal collaborators

Edinburgh: Richard Anderson, Ian Adams, David Brownstein, , Alan Wright.

External: Guillermina Girardi(London), Jane Norman (Bristol), Nick Morrice (Glasgow), Sheila Graham (Glasgow), Micheal Sheets (Wisconsin), Emre Seli (Yale), Kent Duncan (Hamburg), Eli Holtzman (Israel)

External Roles

Meetings Organiser

  • 2010 Post-transcriptional control: mRNA translation, localisation and turnover. Edinburgh, UK.
  • 2009 Gene expression in neuronal disease. Cardiff, UK.
  • 2008 Biochemical Society Triple Focus meeting: Post-transcriptional control. Manchester, UK.
  • 2006 Translation UK. Newcastle, UK.
  • 2001 Organiser of the Scottish RNA club.

Panel membership

  • 2010 Biochemical Society, Member of the Travel Awards Panel.
  • 2009 Biochemical Society, Member of Council.
  • 2009 Biochemical Society, Member of the Meetings Board.
  • 2009 Biochemical Society, Genes Theme panel, Chair.
  • 2009 Site visit panel, Science Foundation Ireland, Dublin.
  • 2009 Tenure panel, CNRS, Rennes.
  • 2008-2009 Biochemical Society, Genes Theme panel, Deputy Chair.
  • 2006-2008    Biochemical Society, Genes Theme panel, Member. 2005    Panel member ‘Women in Science’. Biosciences, Glasgow.

Editorial and Advisory Boards

  • 2009 Biochemical Society Transactions (Editorial Board).
  • 2009 Guest Editor of Biochemical Society Transactions.
  • 2008 Biology of the Cell (Associate Editor).
  • 2008 Guest Editor of Biochemical Society Transactions.
  • 2006-2008 Biology of the Cell (Editorial Advisory Panel).
  • 2006-    Biochemical Journal (Editorial Advisory Panel).
  • 2005-2010 Member of the MRC College of Experts.
  • 2003-    Faculty of 1000, Biology. Faculty Member for Developmental Biology/Developmental Molecular Mechanisms.


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