Rob Klose wins prestigious Royal Society award
Rob Klose has been awarded the 2015 Francis Crick Lecture for his work on understanding how chromatin-based and epigenetic processes contribute to gene regulation.
Professor Rob Klose
The award is given annually to an outstanding early career stage scientist in any field in the biological sciences with preference to the general areas in which Francis Crick worked - genetics, molecular biology and neurobiology.
Rob, a Wellcome Trust Senior Research Fellow in the Department, will give the lecture at the Royal Society in December 2015 when he will be presented with a medal and gift.
He completed his PhD at the University of Edinburgh with Professor Adrian Bird studying DNA methylation. Following a period at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill working on histone lysine demethylases, he joined the Department in 2008 as a Wellcome Trust Research Career Development Fellow.
Rob's success in tackling the challenging field of epigenetics has been recognised previously - he was selected as a member of the EMBO Young Investigator programme in 2010 and was awarded the prestigious Lister Institute Research Prize in 2011.
A long-standing interest in understanding how this additional layer of gene regulatory capacity works has led to many important discoveries. His team discovered how polycomb proteins, which repress gene expression via epigenetic mechanisms and play a key role in developmental gene regulation, are targeted to specialised regions of the genome called CpG islands.
In his most recent paper, Rob and colleagues shed further light on the behaviour of polycomb protein complexes, revealing an unexpected mechanism for polycomb protein targeting (http://www.bioch.ox.ac.uk/about/archives2014/polycomb-discoveries-mark-new-way-of-thinking-in-the-field).
Understanding the functionality of these systems is particularly important, Rob says, now that it is becoming clear that chromatin and epigenetic modifiers are central targets in a vast array of human diseases including cancer.
He is humbled to be nominated and selected by the Royal Society for this award and comments that 'it is a testament to all the dedication and hard work that the members of my group have invested in progressing our understanding of this fascinating area of biology.'