Eukaryotic transcriptional control is a complex process involving multiple cis-acting DNA control elements and trans-acting protein components. Chromatin unravelling is an essential component of this. The whole process is dynamic and is regulated by external signals mediated by signal transduction cascades and protein kinases. The importance of maintaining correctly controlled transcription is emphasised by the observation that many tumours arise due to the mutation of genes encoding components of the transcription machinery, chromatin regulating complexes or the pathways which modify their activity. We are studying how transcription factors function at the molecular level and how they link to cellular signalling pathways to generate dynamic transcriptional events in the context of a changing chromatin environment.
Specific areas of interest:
Mechanisms of signal-mediated gene regulation
Transcriptional control modules in oesophageal cancer
Signal-mediated transcriptional drivers of stem cell differentiation
Andy obtained a first class degree in Biochemistry from Sheffield University, UK, and continued his studies there to complete a PhD studying prokaryotic transcriptional control mechanisms. He subsequently continued his work on prokaryotic transcription factors in his first Postdoc position, and then moved to the Max Planck Institute in Freiburg, Germany to study eukaryotic transcriptional control mechanisms. He secured his first independent group leader position at the University of Newcastle upon tyne in 1992 and moved to the University of Manchester, UK, in 1990 where he secured a Professorship in 2002. He has continued to work on eukarylotic transcriptional control mechansims and how these are controlled by cell signalling pathways. More recently his studies have extended to studying the interplay between chromatin and transcription, and how this changes as cells differentiate or are converted into disease states such as cancer.