Institute of Genetics and Cancer

News 2020

An archive of IGMM News from 2020

Accurate and cost-effective COVID-19 PCR test developed

A cross-Institute research team led by Martin Reijns have developed a multiplex assay with human quality control probe, performing as well as commercial tests but at a tenth of the cost: December 2020

Genes could be key to new Covid-19 treatments, study finds

Edinburgh researchers collaborating in the global GenOMICC consortium identify potential treatments for Covid-19 after the discovery of five genes associated with the most severe form of the disease: December 2020

The Universities of Edinburgh and Glasgow join forces to train young doctors in musculoskeletal disease

The Universities of Edinburgh and Glasgow are joining forces to train young doctors in research relevant to the causes and treatment of musculoskeletal disorders. The ambitious new project which will see the institutions combine their global excellence in biomedical research and teaching to advance understanding of musculoskeletal diseases.

European Research Council Consolidator Grant awarded to Joe Marsh

€655 million has been awarded between 327 of Europe’s top scientists, including support for the Beyond the Loss-of-function Paradigm project: December 2020

Two new genes involved in Aicardi-Goutières syndrome

IGMM News 2015 -  dna stock
A publication in Nature Genetics from Prof Yanick Crow’s laboratory has identified two new genes involved in the Mendelian inflammatory disorder Aicardi-Goutières syndrome.

MRC award to better understand leukoencephalopathy with calcification and cysts

Image of human brain
Prof Yanick Crow’s recent award from the Medical Research Council will be used to gain a better understanding of the molecular pathology of a rare disease of the brain called leukoencephalopathy with calcification and cysts (LCC). Nov 20.

FAST Trial reports no cardiovascular risk of a treatment for gout

Why study Clinical Trials by Online Learning?
A treatment for gout presents no increased risk of cardiovascular events for patients compared to an older alternative, a major new study published in the Lancet has found. Nov 20.

AI - empowered personalized cancer medicine

Edinburgh researchers in a pan-European consortium to develop user friendly Artificial Intelligence (AI) tools for cancer clinicians: November 2020

Molecular stratification of endometrioid ovarian carcinoma predicts clinical outcome

Image showing classification of endometrioid ovarian carcinoma proposed by Hollis et al.
A study led by Cancer Research UK Edinburgh Centre researchers provides improved molecular taxonomy of endometrioid ovarian carcinoma and identifies candidate targets for molecular therapeutics: October 2020

Sarah Taylor wins Max Perutz Science Writing Award

A portrait of Sarah Taylor alongside the Max Perutz Science Writing Award logo
Sarah, who is on a Doctoral Training Programme with the Cancer Research UK Edinburgh Centre at IGMM, told us how it feels to see her winning essay published in The Observer: October 2020.

Luke Boulter awarded Patrick Neill Medal

The Royal Society of Edinburgh Patrick Neill medal will be awarded to Luke Boulter recognising his work in liver cancer: October 2020

Outstanding contribution awards for MRC Human Genetics Unit postdocs

Congratulations to Chloe Stanton, Peter Tennant and Alessandro Brombin who received awards during National Postdoc Appreciation Week: September 2020

Mark Arends named next President of the Pathological Society

Professor Mark Arends, Principal Investigator and Professor of Pathology at the Cancer Research UK Edinburgh Centre, has recently been elected as the next President of the Pathological Society: October 2020

Hastie Career Advancement Awards for IGMM postdocs

​​​​​​​Postdoctoral researchers Patricia Heyn of the MRC Human Genetics Unit and Mari Carmen Ortega Liebana of the CRUK Edinburgh Centre recently received awards from the Hastie Career Advancement Fund: September 2020

Need to derive more representative and annotated molecular datasets from diverse populations

Gene expression heat map
Edinburgh researchers led a study that emphasises the need for more diverse and better annotated cancer transcriptomics datasets: August 2020

PRL3A links regeneration, differentation and melanoma

Researchers identify pathway that links melanocyte regeneration and cancer: August 2020

COPA protein linked to type I interferon induction

In a new publication in the Journal of Experimental Medicine, Professor Yanick Crow’s group investigated the link between COPA protein and type I interferon induction. August 20

Cross-Disciplinary Fellow joins IGMM as Lecturer in Biomedical AI

​​​​​​​Dr Ava Khamseh has recently been appointed Lecturer in Biomedical Artificial Intelligence with the MRC Human Genetics Unit, Cancer Research UK Edinburgh Centre and the School of Informatics: July 2020

Students win 2020 John Inglis prize

Ioannis Christodoulou and Yuting Lu win HGU student prizes following virtual seminar: July 2020

Scientists to develop antibody fingerprint serology test in fight against COVID-19

LifeArc and Medical Research Scotland have recently awarded funding to a multidisciplinary cross-College research team for a new project called TEST-COVID: July 2020

Proteomics add power to drug discovery

Combining protein and DNA information provides stronger support for specific proteins in development of disease: July 2020

Cancer study shows how chemicals cause complex cell mutations

Fresh insights into why some harmful substances are so efficient at causing cancer could aid the quest for better treatments: June 2020

Patients, scientists and advocates celebrate £3.2m funding for largest ever ME/CFS DNA study

Professor Chris Ponting co-leads the project on behalf of the MRC Human Genetics Unit. DecodeME, which launches today, is the world’s largest genetic study into myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME), also known as Chronic Fatigue Syndrome: June 2020

IGMM statement in support of Black Lives Matter

Institute of Genetics and Cancer
The IGMM Executive have issued this statement on behalf of the Institute: June 2020

Guidelines for treatment of breast cancer patients with delays in surgery due to COVID-19

Investigators from the Cancer Research UK Edinburgh Centre helped develop evidence-based guidelines for managing patients with primary ER+ HER2− breast cancer deferred from surgery due to the COVID-19 pandemic: June 2020

Home DNA test data wanted to boost coronavirus fight

A research team including scientists from the MRC Human Genetics have launched a new COVID-19 study using data from home genetic-testing kits: June 2020

COVID-19 classifiers identified through Ultra-high-throughput clinical proteomics

Research involving CGEM groups led by Prof David Porteous and Dr Riccardo Marioni, describing an ultra-high-throughput platform for COVID-19 biomarker discovery published in Cell Systems. June 2020

Identification of a novel binding site on a SARS-CoV-2 spike glycoprotein

Researchers from the Edinburgh Cancer Research Centre and the International Centre for Cancer Vaccine Science identified a novel small molecule binding-site on spike protein of SARS-CoV-2, the virus behind the Covid-19: May 2020

Study to advance the use of national clinical audit and patient registry data to improve health care

Investigators from the Edinburgh Cancer Research Centre have been selected by the Health Foundation to be part of the latest round of its Insight Research Programme: May 2020

Zebrafish model of U8 snoRNA deficiency provides new insights into the pathology of leukoencephalopathy with calcification and cysts (Labrune syndrome)

IGMM zebrafish facility
A new publication in the American Journal of Human Genetics describes a Zebrafish model of the neurological disorder called leukoencephalopathy with calcification and cysts, or Labrune syndrome. May 2020

IGMM to support NHS by testing Covid-19 samples

Scientists, laboratory space and equipment from the University of Edinburgh are being used at IGMM to support NHS Lothian’s testing efforts to combat the Covid-19 pandemic: April 2020

CovidLife survey launched

Survey launched to gauge Covid-19’s impact on our everyday lives. April 2020.

Fresh insight into events behind impaired fertility and genetic disorders

Researchers at the MRC Human Genetics Unit show that the gene Tex19.1 controls events which contribute to the prevention of abnormal chromosome numbers in the egg cells of mice: April 2020

EEF1A2 mutations in a human neurodevelopmental disorder

eEF1A2 protein with D252H mutation
In a publication in the journal Human Molecular Genetics, Prof Cathy Abbott and her team describes a mouse model of a human neurodevelopmental disorder that can recapitulates a mutation seen in humans. March 2020

Mutations in NNROS gene cause an early onset, lethal microgliopathy

magnetic resonance image of the brain
A study published in Acta Neuropathologica identifies mutations in NRROS as a novel microgliopathy. Feb 2020.

Shining a Light on Labrune syndrome

Simon presents to IGMM staff
On 25 February, scientists, staff and students from across the Institute and wider University were fortunate enough to hear first-hand from a family affected by Labrune syndrome, a very rare genetic condition: February 2020

New partnerships to accelerate cancer research  

Scientists from the Cancer Research UK Edinburgh Centre will participate in two newly funded Cancer Research UK Accelerator Award programmes: February 2020

The role of MYC in pancreatic adenocarcinoma

Professor Mark Arends contributed to a study on the role of MYC in instructing and maintaining pancreatic adenocarcinoma phenotype: February 2020

Sugar-coating the inflammatory response?

Glycosylation of immunoglobulin G is regulated by a large network of genes with effects on inflammatory disease risk: February 2020

New company takes aim at treatments for multiple sclerosis

Novel treatments that may reverse the effects of multiple sclerosis (MS) will be investigated by a new drug-discovery company spun out from the University of Edinburgh: February 2020

DNA unwinding regulates genes

Research reveals how DNA twisting organises gene architecture and function: February 2020

Wellcome ISSF award for XDF Programme Fellow Dr Ava Khamseh

Dr Ava Khamseh has been awarded support through the Institutional Strategic Support Fund to advance her research on clonal expansion trajectories and mutational competition in early cancer: January 2020

Cross-Disciplinary Fellow contributes to Nature paper on multi-omics profiling of gastrulation

The process of gastrulation
The research Dr Chantriolnt-Andreas Kapourani was involved in has implications for the role of the epigenome in defining cell-lineage commitment : January 2020

University of Edinburgh team identify possible trigger of devastating spinal cord inflammation

Two ladies in the Anne Rowling Clinic
A report published in this month’s Lancet Neurology shows how a novel ultrasensitive assay can help define an important new side effect of interferon-α therapy. January 2020.

Dissection of the genetic basis of childhood lupus

A large genetic panel analysis published in Lancet Rheumatology provides important new insights into the molecular architecture of childhood-onset lupus. January 2020

Prestigious RSE medal awarded to Dr Joe Marsh

The Royal Society of Edinburgh awards medals each year to pioneering scientists and researchers in Scotland: January 2020

Studying intracellular drug distribution using stimulated Raman scattering microscopy

Scientists from the Cancer Research UK Edinburgh Centre applied stimulated Raman scattering microscopy to image an anticancer drug with high sensitivity and specificity in live cells at biologically relevant concentrations: January 2020

Genetic study seeks people with Northern Isles ancestry

People with at least two grandparents who were born in Orkney or Shetland are being asked to join a genetic study aimed at improving medical treatments: January 2020

Characterisation of IFIH1 gain-of-function

The largest published study to date defines the phenotypic and molecular landscape associated with IFIH1 gain-of-function. January 2020.

Synergistic anticancer inhibitor combination discovered by a novel phenotypic screen

Scientists from the Cancer Research UK Edinburgh Centre used a novel chemical-genetic high-content phenotypic screen to discover synergistic anticancer effects of FAK and HDAC inhibitor combination: January 2020

Genetic clues to retinal detachment

A large study has identified 6 regions of the human genome influencing risk of sight-threatening condition: December 2019

Open approach to animal research earns accolade

The University’s work on communicating how animals are used in research has won a national award: December 2019