Robert Young

Academic Track Lecturer (Zhejiang)


2019 – Present: Academic Track Lecturer (Zhejiang)

2012 – 2019: Research Associate, MRC Human Genetics Unit, University of Edinburgh

2007 – 2011: DPhil, MRC Functional Genomics Unit, University of Oxford

Undergraduate teaching

I teach on various courses in the Integrated Biomedical Sciences and Biomedical Informatics programmes for undergraduate students at the Zhejiang University and Edinburgh University joint institute (ZJU-UoE Institute) in Haining, China. I am the course organiser for the first-year course 'Introduction to Biomedical Informatics'. 

Open to PhD supervision enquiries?


Research summary

Mapping noncoding regulation in populations

Investigating how variation in complex traits and disease is driven by variation in the genomic content of noncoding, regulatory loci.

It is now almost routinely possible to identify genetic mutations across the human genome which drive disease or regulate complex human traits. However, the majority of these mutations are found in noncoding regions beyond the borders of known genes which makes their interpretation challenging. These noncoding regions encode a range of regulatory functions to control when and where genes are expressed.

Promoters are one type of such noncoding loci, responsible for regulating gene transcription initiation and which are significantly enriched for these phenotypically-associated variants. I have shown that these elements have undergone pervasive birth and death during mammalian evolution. Surprisingly, it is those promoters which are evolutionarily volatile which are most likely to harbour functionally important, regulatory variants within the human population.

My research studies the regulatory landscape of the human genome to discover how its rewiring drives variation across individuals, populations and species.

View all 24 publications on Research Explorer