UCL Cancer Institute

Regulatory Genomics

Group Leader: Dr Richard Jenner

Each of our cells contains the same genome, the same set of instructions, but exhibit wildly different morphologies and functions. We are interested transcription factors, chromatin modifiers and non-coding RNAs regulate access to the genome to specify and maintain different cell types. Our research uses embryonic stem cells as a model for embryonic development and T helper cells as a model for adult cell differentiation and is underpinned by our expertise in genomics, bioinformatics and molecular biology methods.


Group Members

  • Dr Manuel Beltran-Nebot (Postdoc)
  • Dr Chris Yates (Postdoc)
  • Dr Lenka Skalska (Postdoc)
  • Dr Arnulf Hertweck (Postdoc)
  • Ms Kristine Olienika (PhD student, joint with Claudia Mauri)


Research Projects

1. The role of RNA in chromatin regulation

We and others have revealed links between non-coding RNAs and the polycomb group of chromatin modifying proteins. We are seeking to establish the molecular mechanisms and biological significance of polycomb-RNA interactions.

2. Transcriptional control of T helper cell specification

The transcription factors T-bet and GATA3 specify Th1 and Th2 lineages, respectively. We are using this system as a model for understanding how the interplay between antagonistic pairs of transcription factors leads to cell fate decisions.

3. Epigenetic disregulation in Cancer

Cancers exhibit abnormal patterns of chromatin modifications that may contribute to tumourigenesis by fixing cells in a normally transitory differentiation state. We are studying how mutations in polycomb proteins lead to changes to epiegentic state associated with cell transformation.

4. Viral control of host gene expression

Viruses seek to control cellular gene expression to establish a cellular environment conducive to replication and avoid the host anti-viral response. We are identifying the cellular genes directly targeted by viral transcription factors during infection.


Richard Jenner

Richard Jenner, MA PhD
Reader in Molecular Biology
UCL Cancer Institute
University College London
Paul O’Gorman Building
72 Huntley Street
London WC1E 6BT.

Tel +44 20 7679 6815



Selected publications

Find a full list  here.

Evans C.M. and Jenner R.G. (2013). Transcription factor interplay in T helper cell differentiation. Brief Funct Genomics. doi: 10.1093/bfgp/elt025.  Pubmed.

Kanhere A., Hertweck A., Bhatia U., Gokmen R., Perucha, E., Jackson I., Lord G.M., and Jenner R.G. (2012). T-bet and GATA3 orchestrate Th1 and Th2 cell differentiation through lineage-specific targeting of distal regulatory elements. Nature Communications. 3:1268.  Pubmed.

Kanhere A.,and Jenner R.G. (2012). Mechanisms governing the localisation of non-coding RNAs in chromatin regulation. Silence 3:2.  Pubmed.

Kanhere A., Viiri K., Araújo C.C., Rasaiyaah J., Bouwman R.D., Whyte W.A., Pereira C.F., Brookes E., Walker K., Bell G.W., Pombo A., Fisher A.G., Young R.A. and Jenner R.G. (2010). Short RNAs are transcribed from repressed Polycomb target genes and interact with Polycomb Repressive Complex-2. Mol Cell. 38:675-688.  Pubmed.

Jenner R.G., Townsend M.J., Sun K., Jackson I., Bouwman R.D., Young R.A., Glimcher L.H. and Lord G.M. (2009). The transcription factors T-bet and GATA-3 control alternative pathways of T-cell differentiation through a shared set of target genes. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA. 106:17876-17881.  Pubmed.