MRC Human Genetics Unit
Medical Research Council Human Genetics Unit

Andrew Jackson Research Group

Growth, Inflammation and the Brain


Professor Andrew Jackson

Section: Disease Mechanisms

Research in a Nutshell 

My research programme identifies new genes for inherited disorders affecting the human brain. We also study how these genes function using cells and model organisms. Aicardi-Goutières syndrome is a genetic condition in which faults in genes encoding enzymes called nucleases, mimic viral infection of the brain. These nucleases may normally clean up naturally produced ‘waste’ DNA and RNA, with failure of this process leading to the body mounting an immune reaction against itself. This immune response mechanism is relevant to common autoimmune diseases such as lupus and so we are studying these enzymes to understand their normal roles in cells and to establish what happens when these enzymes fail. 

Secondly, we are identifying genes that cause extreme growth failure of the brain and body. Individuals with primordial dwarfism are often described as the 'smallest people in the world'. These genes are components of the core cell machinery which controls cell duplication and mutations likely result in fewer cells being made, leading to a smaller person. Identifying these genes will help diagnosis and management of these rare conditions. It may also help us better understand how the body regulates growth, perhaps shedding light into why humans are bigger than mice and how our brains evolved to be so large.


Research Programme


A.Jackson group



Professor Andrew Jackson Group Leader
Patricia Heyn

Postdoctoral scientist

Clare Logan

Postdoctoral scientist

Karen Mackenzie

Postdoctoral scientist

Carol-Anne Martin

Postdoctoral scientist

Olga Murina

Postdoctoral scientist

David Parry Postdoctoral scientist
Kaalak Reddy

Postdoctoral scientist

Martin Reijns

Postdoctoral scientist

Adeline Fluteau Research Support
Andrea Robertson Area Supervisor and Research Support
Zygimate Tarnaukaite

PhD student

Thomas Williams

ECAT PhD student

Jennie Murray Clinical lecturer
David Hunt Intermediate Fellow
Rachel Challis Translational Postdoctoral scientist (Shared)



  • Dr Martin Taylor, MRC HGU
  • Dr Andrew Wood, MRC HGU
  • Professor Bob Hill, MRC HGU
  • Professor Wendy Bickmore, MRC HGU
  • Dr Garcia-Perez, MRC HGU
  • Professor  Chris Ponting, MRC HGU
  • Dr Alexander von Kriegsheim, IGMM
  • Professor Grant Stewart, University of Birmingham
  • Professor Dan Durocher, University of Toronto
  • Dr Jan Rehwinkel, WIMM, Oxford
  • Dr Ian Holt, NIMR
  • Dr Mike Bober, Delaware
  • Dr Carol Wise, Dallas
  • Professor Bernd Wollnik, Gottingen
  • Professor Valerie Cormier-Daire, Paris
  • Walking with Giants Foundation, UK
  • Potentials Foundation, USA

Partners and Funders

Scientific Themes

Microcephaly, Aicardi-Goutieres syndrome, Ribonuclease H2, genome stability, inflammation