Dr. Joanna Somers

Career Development Fellow

Headshot of Dr Joanna Somers

MRC Toxicology Unit
Hodgkin Building
Lancaster Road

Tel: +44 (0)116 252 5614
Email: jkg36@mrc-tox.cam.ac.uk

Qualifications and Personal History

2010-2014   Joined Professor Anne Willis’ laboratory as a MRC Career Development Fellow.

2008-2010   Postdoctoral research scientist at the Beatson Institute for Cancer Research, Glasgow, UK. The project involved characterising novel p53 target genes in the laboratory of Professor Kevin Ryan.

2005-2008   PhD. Thesis: Investigating the relationship between nucleosome structure and   dynamics. Supervisor Professor Tom Owen-Hughes, Wellcome Trust Centre of Gene Regulation and Expression, University of Dundee, UK.

2003-2005   MSc First Class Honours. Thesis: Screening for differentially expressed genes in bovine nuclear transfer blastocysts. Supervisors: Dr Peter Pfeffer and Dr Lance McLeay, University of Waikato, New Zealand.

Research Interests

Our cells are constantly exposed to environmental stresses that can cause DNA damage. Without proper repair mutations would accumulate that lead to erroneous function and potentially the development of cancer. To counter this cells have evolved various DNA response and repair pathways.

Our laboratory has shown that after exposure of Hela cells to UVB damage a number of transcripts escape the global repression of protein synthesis. Of particular note is the translational upregulation of the nucleotide excision repair pathway genes (Powley et al., 2009). My project aims to identify the control elements and trans-acting factors that perform these specific translational reprogramming events.

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