Chromatin Biology and Epigenetics

Meet the Chromatin Group

Group Members

We're always on the lookout for new people to join us. If you're interested please get in touch.

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Douglas Vernimmen

Doug Vernimmen

Chancellor's Fellow

I've been appointed a Chancellor's Fellow at the University of Edinburgh and have joined The Roslin Institute as an independent scientist in October 2012.

This was a very exciting timing because The Roslin Institute has launched its magnificent new building in 2011. It is a unique structure in Edinburgh with open laboratories and shared equipment that enhances multidisciplinarity and facilitates a close collaboration between research and business. More specifically, The Roslin Institute offers a state of the art sequencing facility (ARK Genomics), which is used for our ChIP Seq projects. Our projects also benefit from the facilities and expertise of other scientists based at The Roslin Institute, such as bioinformatics, genetic engineering, imaging and mass spectrometry.

I am delighted to launch my laboratory with two international and very talented students: Ailbhe and Ivet. Both managed to get their independent studentships. Ailbhe is funded by theBritish Society for Haematology, where only 4 UK recipients are awarded per year. Ivet is funded by The Lady Tata Memorial Trust, where only 9 international recipients (Ivet being the only PhD student) have been awarded this year. I am hoping to recruit other students and postdocs with their own funding like Ailbhe and Ivet, which is a very important thing for young scientists starting their career.

I was born in Germany, did my degrees in Belgium and moved to England after my PhD. Although I have adopted Oxford as my new hometown during my lengthy postdoc, moving to Scotland in Edinburgh was the best location I was aiming for launching my career as an independent scientist. Its historical City Centre, the Castle, the Closes on the Royal Mile and Arthur's Seat is a unique combination in the world. Also a perfect location for photography, but also cycling, which seems to be the most popular sport for Roslin scientists!


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Ailbhe Brazel, PhD Student

Ailbhe Brazel

PhD Project: Long Range Control of Epigenetic Regulation

The recently completed Encyclopedia of DNA Elements (ENCODE) project aims to functionally annotate the human genome inmany different cell types. Heterogeneity within apparently distinct cell populations is unfortunately not addressed by the ENCODE project and could lead to false interpretation of data, for example co-occupancy of certain transcription factors and chromatin modifications in individual cells.

In my PhD I will investigate this issue of heterogeneous cell populations using the alpha globin locus in erythroid cells as a model. My PhD project, including my studentship is funded by the British Society for Haematology.

I completed my BA in Genetics at Trinity College Dublin (TCD) in 2012 and worked as a research assistant in the Ocular Genetics unit at the Smurfit Institute of Genetics, TCD before moving to Edinburgh to start my PhD at The Roslin Institute in September, 2013.

I am currently trying to get used to eating haggis (delicious), exploring the highlands (beautiful) and listening to bagpipes (painful).

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Dr Louie van de Lagemaat (2016-2017)

Dr Louie van de Lagemaat

“Analysis of ChIP-Seq and RNA-Seq in normal and malignant haematopoietic cells”

I am originally from the beautiful province of British Columbia in Canada, and I obtained both my degrees, Bachelor of Applied Science (Engineering Physics) and PhD (Genetics) from the University of British Columbia in Vancouver. I spent an earlier postdoc with Seth Grant at the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute and the University of Edinburgh analysing the Genes to Cognition datasets.

I then joined the group of Doug Vernimmen to understand the epigenetic regulation of gene expression. During this short postdoc, I am using chromatin immunoprecipitation (ChIP) sequencing data collected from haematological samples to study the roles of protein complexes regulating the methylation state of H3 histone proteins and their consequences for transcription. I also collaborate with Kamil Kranc at the MRC Centre for Regenerative Medicine in Little France, using RNA sequencing to study the influence of various genes on blood development and leukaemogenesis.



Dr Ali Anvari Azar (2017-2020)

The Kay Kendall Leukaemia Fund, established in 1984 under the will of the late James Sainsbury CBE

"Role of UTX as a Tumour Suppressor in Myeloid Leukaemia”

Funded by KKLF grant



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Honours Students:

Miren Urrutia Iturritza

Miren Urrutia Iturritza (2017)

"The Role of UTX in Acute Myeloid Leukaemia”







Summer Students:

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Justin Auerbach, Summer Student 2015

Summer Project: CRISPR/Cas9 mediated enhancer deletion in mouse ES cells

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Eirini Kallimasioti Pazi, Honours Student 2015

Honours Project: Epigenome editing at the human alpha globin locus and beyond

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Ami Patrick, Summer Student 2014

Summer Project: Analysis of epigenetic regulators expression in normal haematopoietic and leukaemic cells

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Sarah Mounedji, Summer Student 2014

Summer Project: Generation of knock-in cells with a fluorescent reporter gene