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Yusuf Hamied Department of Chemistry

 
Portrait of sb10031

Nucleic acids are fundamental to life. Our research is focused on the chemical biology of nucleic acids, and employs the principles of chemistry and the molecular sciences to address questions of importance in biology and medicine. Projects are inherently interdisciplinary and will provide scope for a diversity of intellectual and experimental approaches that include: organic synthesis, biophysics, molecular and cellular biology and genomics. Our scientific goals are problem-driven, which constantly raises the need to invent new methodology.

 

A major interest is to elucidate and manipulate mechanisms that control the expression of genes (either transcription, or translation). We are particularly interested in the role of non-canonical nucleic acid structures that control gene expression (e.g. G-quadruplexes, micro RNA and RNA structures in the 5' untranslated regions of mRNAs). Our goal is to design and synthesise small organic molecules that target such structures and alter the expression of certain genes of interest. Such small molecule gene regulators are valuable tools to study mechanisms in biology and will also open up new approaches for therapeutics and molecular medicine, particularly for diseases characterized by aberrant expression of certain genes (e.g. various cancers).

Our fundamental science will inevitably create opportunities for translation and commercialisation. One such example was our invention (with Professor David Klenerman) of new DNA sequencing technology ("Solexa sequencing") that was commercialised as a Cambridge University spinout company (now part of Illumina Inc.) and is used routinely for applications in genomics, including human genome sequencing. 

Hear Shankar Balasubramanian discuss some of the group's research.

Watch Professor Balasubramanian discuss his research

Take a tour of the Balasubramanian Lab

Publications

Unusual Activity of a Chlamydomonas TET/JBP Family Enzyme.
L Aravind, S Balasubramanian, A Rao
– Biochemistry
(2019)
58,
3627
The structure and function of DNA G-Quadruplexes
S Balasubramanian, S Adhikari, J Spiegel
– Trends in Chemistry
(2019)
2,
123
Genetic interactions of G-quadruplexes in humans.
KG Zyner, DS Mulhearn, S Adhikari, S Martínez Cuesta, M Di Antonio, N Erard, GJ Hannon, D Tannahill, S Balasubramanian
– eLife
(2019)
8,
e46793
METTL1 Promotes let-7 MicroRNA Processing via m7G Methylation.
L Pandolfini, I Barbieri, AJ Bannister, A Hendrick, B Andrews, N Webster, P Murat, P Mach, R Brandi, SC Robson, V Migliori, A Alendar, M d'Onofrio, S Balasubramanian, T Kouzarides
– Mol Cell
(2019)
74,
1278
Correction to: RNA G-quadruplexes at upstream open reading frames cause DHX36- and DHX9-dependent translation of human mRNAs
P Murat, G Marsico, B Herdy, AT Ghanbarian, G Portella, S Balasubramanian
– Genome Biology
(2019)
20,
124
Sequencing abasic sites in DNA at single-nucleotide resolution
ZJ Liu, S Martínez Cuesta, P van Delft, S Balasubramanian
– Nature Chemistry
(2019)
11,
629
Publisher Correction: DNA sequencing at 40: past, present and future (Nature, (2017), 550, 7676, (345-353), 10.1038/nature24286)
J Shendure, S Balasubramanian, GM Church, W Gilbert, J Rogers, JA Schloss, RH Waterston
– Nature
(2019)
568,
e11
Detection, Structure and Function of Modified DNA Bases.
A Hofer, ZJ Liu, S Balasubramanian
– Journal of the American Chemical Society
(2019)
141,
6420
Whole genome experimental maps of DNA G-quadruplexes in multiple species.
G Marsico, VS Chambers, AB Sahakyan, P McCauley, JM Boutell, MD Antonio, S Balasubramanian
– Nucleic acids research
(2019)
47,
gkz179-
A Photo-responsive Small-Molecule Approach for the Opto-epigenetic Modulation of DNA Methylation.
S Mao, H Nguyen, S Stewart, M Kukwikila, S Jones, D Offenbartl-Stiegert, S Beck, S Howorka, S Balasubramanian
– Angewandte Chemie (International ed. in English)
(2019)
58,
6620
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Research Group

Research Interest Group

Telephone number

01223 336347

Email address

sb10031@cam.ac.uk