Dr. Richard R Meehan
Our Research in a Nutshell Each individual is born with the same unique set of genes in almost every cell in their body, which act as an instruction manual for setting up embryo development and ultimately determining how the derived distinct cell types in an adult function. Genes influence factors such as hair colour, gender, interactions with the surrounding environment and disease susceptibility. They also determine body plan, tissue types and responses to chemical exposure. As every cell in the body has essentially the same set of genes or ‘instructions’, how do cells exhibit and maintain specificity so that genes explicitly function in either brain or muscle cells? Part of the answer may be linked with a process called epigenetics. In broad terms, epigenetics is concerned with alterations in phenotype due to changes in cellular properties that are inherited, but do not represent an alteration in DNA sequence. From a developmental standpoint, it is associated with how a fertilized totipotent zygote progresses, via a series of developmental transformations and inductive processes, into a multicellular embryo and eventually an adult. Within this description is the notion that cellular plasticity is lost (to differing extents) as development proceeds into adult life. In our group we study epigenetic processes and their relevance to gene regulation in development and disease.
Lab MembershipsBritish Xenopus Group (Other)
Meehan Lab (Principal Investigator/Director)
Human Genetics Unit
Western General Hospital
EH4 2XU, United Kingdom