MRC Human Genetics Unit
Medical Research Council Human Genetics Unit

Ian Jackson Research Group

Molecular Genetics and Development of Melanocytes, Genetic Models for Human Disease

Joint Section Head: Disease Mechanisms

Professor Ian Jackson - Joint Section Head: Disease Mechanisms
Professor Ian Jackson - Joint Section Head: Disease Mechanisms

Research in a Nutshell 

We study mice with genetic mutations in order to understand how genes control normal human development and disease. Mice have almost the same set of genes as humans, and malfunction or mutation of these genes usually has very similar consequences.

We study how genetic mutations lead to eye disease, in a number of ways. Firstly we examine mice in which random mutations have been created, in order to identify mutation that result in eye disease, particularly diseases that progress with ageing. Secondly, we look at mice in which particular genes have been knocked out as part of a project that is systematically mutating every gene one by one, with especial interest in novel genes. Finally in collaboration with human geneticists we make mouse models of eye diseases whose causative gene has been discovered.

We also study how genes control melanocytes, which are the cells in the body producing pigment in skin and hair. These cells have a very interesting embryonic history, and genes affect how these cells develop, proliferate and become located at the correct places in the skin and hair follicle. Normal hair colour variation in humans presents a particularly interesting genetic system which we are studying using a combination of genetic, genomic and functional analyses.


Melanocyte Research

Genetic Model Research

Ian Jackson group 6.2018



Professor Ian Jackson Group Leader
Sally Cross Senior Investigator Scientist
Amy Findlay Postdoctoral Scientist
Margaret Keighren Research Technician
Lisa McKie Research Technician
Erola Pairo-Castineira Postdoctoral Scientist
Ivet Gazova Postdoctoral Scientist
Angus Reid Postdoctoral Scientist



  • Pleasantine Mill, MRC Human Genetics Unit
  • Toby Hurd, MRC Human Genetics Unit
  • David FitzPatrick, MRC Human Genetics Unit
  • Veronique Vitart, MRC Human Genetics Unit
  • Albert Tenesa, Roslin Institute, University of Edinburgh 
  • Denis Headon, Roslin Institute, University of Edinburgh
  • Paul Potter, MRC Mammalian Genetics Unit, Harwell 
  • Richard Mort, University of Lancaster

Partners and Funders

  • MRC

Scientific Themes

mouse models, mouse genetics, melanocyte biology, eye diseases

Technology Expertise

transgenic mice, CRISPR editing