Professor Tim AitmanWelcome to Professor Tim Aitman,

MB ChB, FRCP, DPhil, FMedSci:

March 2014


We are delighted to welcome Professor Tim Aitman to the MRC Institute of Genetics and Molecular Medicine within the University of Edinburgh’s School of Molecular, Genetic and Population Health Sciences and the newly established Chair of Molecular Pathology and Genetics from 1st April 2014.

Professor Aitman’s primary base will be at the Centre for Genomic and Experimental Medicine in the MRC Institute of Genetics and Molecular Medicine at the University of Edinburgh’s Western General Hospital Campus and his wide-ranging spectrum of research interests will see him spending significant time at the MRC Scottish Centre for Regenerative Medicine and Centre for Cardiovascular Research, Queens Medical Research Institute, Little France.




"Chromosome Carnival" and “Colors of Math” film screening

"Chromosome Carnival" and “Colors of Math” film screening: March 2014


A forthcoming event organised by researchers within the School of Mathematics and the School of Molecular, Genetic and Population Health Sciences at the University of Edinburgh will use art to help explain and increase the understanding of science.


28 March 2014

6pm - 9pm

Lecture Theatre 4,

Appleton Tower,

11 Crichton Street,

Edinburgh EH8 9LE

Film screening followed by a wine reception and Q&A session with the creators.


The first film to be screened, “Colors of Math”, was created by Ekaterina Eremenko, a film director from Berlin. The documentary stars top mathematicians who speak about Mathematics through the context of the human senses and highlights the beauty of Mathematics.

The second film to be shown on the evening, “Chromosome Carnival”, was created by Paul Maguire and Alexander Kagansky (MRC Human Genetics Unit at the IGMM). It explains a process of cell nuclear division known as mitosis, often called “the dance of chromosomes”.


All welcome, no booking required.


Enquiries: Alexander.Kagansky@igmm.ed.ac.uk


Event Poster: PDF



Congratulations to Dr Paul Brennan:

March 2014


Dr Paul Brennan, an Edinburgh Cancer Research Centre scientist, Wellcome Trust funded Edinburgh Clinical Academic Training (ECAT) lecturer in the ECRC/Institute of Genetics and Molecular Medicine, and lecturer at the Department of Clinical Neurosciences, has recently been awarded the Lancet Prize 2014 for his research in the Young Investigator competition from the Academy of Medical Sciences.

Paul's entry into the competition was based on his research that identified a new form of glioma stem cells with high migratory potential. This discovery provides important new insights into the biology of glioma and may lead to advances in therapeutic approaches for this aggresive form of cancer.

More details about this award winning research can be found in the medical journal The Lancet. Click here to access the information. To learn more about Paul and his research at ECRC click here.





IGMM news and events


Recent News and Events

New maps for navigating the genome unveiled by scientists





New Science Insights work experience programme: April 2014


Science Insights is an exciting new work experience programme from The MRC Institute of Genetics and Molecular Medicine (IGMM) and The Roslin Institute and Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies at the University of Edinburgh.

16 high school students will spend a week following a varied programme of activities on three different University of Edinburgh campuses, designed to give a real insight into research and work in biological sciences.


Activities will include:

• Shadowing researchers in the lab

• Tours of a range of scientific facilities

• Presentations and discussions on a range of topics, including ethics in research, the use of animals in research and various careers paths

• Opportunities to meet current University of Edinburgh students

• Skills session to help with future university and job applications


More information and application details: www.scienceinsights.ed.ac.uk


New maps for navigating the genome unveiled by scientists





New maps for navigating the genome unveiled by scientists: March 2014


Scientists have built the clearest picture yet of how our genetic material is regulated in order to make the human body work. They have mapped how a network of switches, built into our DNA, controls where and when our genes are turned on and off.

University of Edinburgh scientists played a leading role in the international project – called FANTOM5 – which has been examining how our genome holds the code for creating the fantastic diversity of cell types that make up a human. The three year project, steered by the RIKEN Center for Life Science Technologies in Japan, has involved more than 250 scientists in more than 20 countries and regions.

The study is a step change in our understanding of the human genome, which contains the genetic instructions needed to build and maintain all the many different cell types in the body. All of our cells contain the same instructions, but genes are turned on and off at different times in different cells. This process is controlled by switches – called promoters and enhancers – found within the genome. It is the flicking of these switches that makes a muscle cell different to a liver or skin cell.

The team studied the largest ever set of cell types and tissues from human and mouse in order to identify the location of these switches within the genome. They also mapped where and when the switches are active in different cell types and how they interact with each other.

The FANTOM5 project included major contributions from The Roslin Institute, which is funded by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council, and the Medical Research Council Institute of Genetics and Molecular Medicine at the University of Edinburgh.

Dr Martin Taylor, from the MRC Institute of Genetics and Molecular Medicine at the University of Edinburgh, said: “The research gives us an insight as to why humans are different from other animals, even though we share many genes in common. Comparing the mouse and human atlases reveals extensive rewiring of gene switches that has occurred over time, helping us to understand more about how we have evolved.”

The consortium has published a series of papers describing its findings, including a pair of landmark papers in the journal Nature.

The researchers are now establishing the technology developed in Japan at Edinburgh Genomics, to enable rapid access for researchers based in the UK.

Related Links

The MRC Institute of Genetics and Molecular Medicine at the University of Edinburgh

The Roslin Institute