Institute of Cell Biology Seminar Series


Seminars are held on Mondays at 12.00 noon

Everyone is welcome to attend.

Semester One:  September - December 2017






4 Sept 2017

James Chong

Microbiology, Department of Biology, University of York

Andrew Free

Michael Swann Building, S7.15 

11 Sept 2017

Matthias Merkenschlager

Faculty of Medicine, Institute of Clinical Sciences, Imperial College London

Sara Buonomo

Michael Swann Building, S7.20

18 Sept 2017

Owen Davies

Institute for Cell and Molecular Biosciences,     Newcastle University

JP Arulanandam


25 Sept 2017

Phil Gilmartin

Faculty of Science, University of East Anglia

Justin Goodrich

Daniel Rutherford Lecture Theatre G27

2 Oct 2017

Alan Lowe

Institute for Structural and Molecular Biology, University College London

Julie Welburn

Michael Swann, Main Lecture Theatre

9 Oct 2017

Marina Lusic

Department of Infectious Diseases, Virology, Universität Heidelberg, Germany

Eric Schirmer

Daniel Rutherford Lecture Theatre G27

16 Oct 2017




23 Oct 2017

Gary Karpen

Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology, University of California, Berkeley USA

Patrick Heun

Michael Swann, Main Lecture Theatre

30 Oct 2017

Gail Preston

Department of Plant Sciences, University of Oxford

Gary Loake

Michael Swann, Main Lecture Theatre

6 Nov 2017

Stephan Uphoff

Department of Biochemistry, University of Oxford

Robin Allshire

Michael Swann Building, S7.15

13 Nov 2017

Ian Henderson

Department of Plant Sciences, University of Cambridge

Liz Bayne

Michael Swann Building, S7.20

20 Nov 2017




27 Nov 2017

Mike Holdsworth

Plant & Crop Science Division, School of Biosciences, University of Nottingham

Steven Spoel

Michael Swann Building, S7.15

4 Dec 2017

Simon Boulton

Francis Crick Institute, London

Sveta Makovets

Daniel Rutherford Lecture Theatre G27

11 Dec 2017



Daniel Rutherford Lecture Theatre G27


Seminar details (including ad hoc seminars)

Date Event
7th Sep 2017
Waddington Building

Noriko Saitoh, The Cancer Institute of JFCR, Tokyo

A cluster of nuclear long non-coding RNAs defines an active chromatin domain in recurrent breast cancer cells

In the nucleus, genomic DNA is intricately folded into several layers. It has become evident that nuclear long non-coding RNAs (ncRNAs) are integrated in organization and function of chromatin and the nucleus.

Estrogen receptor alpha (ER)-positive breast cancer that undergoes endocrine therapy often acquires therapy-resistance, resulting in recurrence. To elucidate the underlying mechanism, we have performed transcriptome analyses using human ER-positive breast cancer cell line, MCF7 and its derivative LTED (long-term estrogen deprivation), which recapitulates the endocrine therapy-resistance. We found that ncRNAs, Eleanors (ESR1 locus enhancing and activating non-coding RNAs) were transcribed from a large chromatin region including the gene for ER (ESR1) and other co-regulated genes in LTED. This “Eleanor chromatin domain” coincided with topologically associating domain, and was transcriptionally active A-compartment in breast cancer. In the nucleus, Eleanors were associated with the ESR1 locus to activate it, and formed distinct RNA foci both in LTED cells and patient tissues. Inhibition of Eleanors resulted in repression of ESR1 mRNA and LTED cell proliferation.

I would like to discuss a novel type of ncRNA-mediated chromatin domain formation, which could be a good diagnostic and therapeutic target for recurrent breast cancer.

Host: Bill Earnshaw

22nd Aug 2017
Hudson Beare Building
Lecture Theatre 2

CANCELLED - Tom Misteli, National Cancer Institute, Bethesda, Maryland, USA

Deep Imaging of the Genome

The genome is one of the major physical entities in the eukaryotic cell and is spatially and temporally highly organized. High-throughput imaging approaches are emerging as powerful tools to elucidate the cell biological properties of genomes and to link genome architecture to function at a single-cell level. Deep Imaging methods are based on the development of high-capacity, high-precision automated microscopes which allow acquisition of large imaging datasets and the implementation of computational image analysis and data mining methods to quantitatively capture morphological phenotypes. Deep Imaging enables new experimental strategies for the study of the genome including visualization and analysis of rare events such as chromosome breaks and translocations, use of large-scale imaging-based screens to probe molecular mechanisms of genome organization and function in an unbiased fashion, and they allow mapping of the genome in 3D space. These approaches are powerful tools to probe the cell biology of genomes and provide novel insights into genome architecture and function.

Host: Eric Schirmer

22nd Aug 2017
Waddington Building

Noel Buckley, University of Oxford

Modelling neuronal development with stem cells: from single factors to systems

A major tenet of biology is that development is driven and regulated by networks of transcription factors. This is nowhere more true than during mammalian neurodevelopment where the neural stem cells of the neural plate must ultimately generate the myriad of cell types that constitute the adult nervous system. For several decades we have been driven by the hunt for singular master regulator genes or hubs that drive neurodevelopment and have paid scant attention to the networks in which the regulators operate. I will review both these approaches using our work on REST as an exemplar of a master transcription factor that regulates a myriad of biological processes and then introduce our recent attempts to develop dynamical networks using a state-space modelling approach incorporating time-delay to provide a systems perspective of neural induction.

Host: Adrian Bird

7th Aug 2017
Waddington Building

Song Tan, Pennsylvania State University

Structural studies of chromatin complexes

Song Tan is Professor of Biochemistry & Molecular Biology at Penn State University in the U.S..  He studied physics as an undergraduate at Cornell University (1985) before pursuing his PhD at the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology (1989).  He continued his training as postdoctoral fellow and project leader under Tim Richmond at the ETH-Zürich (Swiss Federal Institute of Technology) where he determined crystal structures of transcription factor/DNA complexes.  Dr. Tan joined the Penn State Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology in 1998.  Dr. Tan’s laboratory investigates how chromatin enzymes and factors interact with their nucleosome substrates through biochemical and structural approaches.  His laboratory determined the first chromatin factor-nucleosome crystal structure (RCC1-nucleosome) in 2010 and the first chromatin enzyme-nucleosome crystal structure (PRC1-nucleosome) in 2014.  He recently spent a year on sabbatical at the MRC LMB to learn cryoEM.

Host: Robin Allshire

24th May 2017
Daniel Rutherford
G.27, LT1

Vincent Gèli, CRCM, Marseilles, France

WT PhD Programme Seminar - The many faces of the Set1 complex

The family of histone H3 lysine 4 (H3K4) methylases is highly conserved from yeast to human. They share a canonical organization in which the catalytic subunit acts as a docking platform for multiple subunits that regulate the enzymatic activity. Set1 complex (Set1C or COMPASS) mediated H3K4 methylation is one of the most prominent histone modifications that mark active transcription. In budding yeast, Set1C and H3K4 methylation have not only been involved in transcription but in multiple processes such as chromosome segregation, DNA replication, and meiotic recombination. Recent reports led to the concept that Set1C subunits, in addition to regulating H3K4 methylation, may be directly involved in some of these biological functions by recruiting specific protein partners. However, the mechanisms by which the Set1C protein interaction network promotes these processes remain poorly understood. In this talk, we will discuss these many faces of the Set1 complex.

Host: Jean Beggs and Bella Maudlin

25th Jan 2017
Michael Swann Building

Michael Markie, Wellcome Open Research

Wellcome Open Research: a new publishing initiative from the Wellcome Trust

Wellcome Open Research is a new publishing platform that provides all Wellcome researchers with a place to rapidly publish any results they think are worth sharing.


Based on the F1000Research publishing model, Wellcome Open Research will make research outputs available faster and in ways that support reproducibility and transparency. It uses an open access model of immediate publication followed by transparent, invited peer review and inclusion of supporting data. It encourages the publication of all research outputs including data sets, negative results, protocols, case reports, incremental findings as well as more traditional narrative-based articles.


This 20 minute presentation by Michael Markie (Publisher, Wellcome Open Research) will discuss the aims and motivations for establishing this platform, how it works and the benefits it offers to researchers. The presentation will then be followed by the opportunity to ask questions and discuss the platform.

Host: Wellcome Trust Centre for Cell Biology