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Dr Dagan Jenkins
Dr Dagan Jenkins profile picture
  • Associate Professor
  • Genetics & Genomic Medicine Dept
  • UCL GOS Institute of Child Health
  • Faculty of Pop Health Sciences

2022 - present         HeadCilia Disorders Section   

2021- present.         Postgraduate Tutor, UCL Institute of Child Health

2019 - present         Associate Professor in Skeletal Genetics, UCL Institute of Child Health

2013 - 2019.              Lecturer in Molecular Medicine, UCL Institute of Child Health

2013 - 2016               MRC New Investigator Award

2010 - 2013               Post-doc, UCL Institute of Child Health 

                                Supervisor: Prof Phil Beales

2005 - 2010               Post-doc, Weatherall Institute of Molecular Medicine, University of Oxford

                                Supervisor: Prof Andrew Wilkie FRS

2002 - 2005               PhD in Molecular Medicine, UCL: "The Genetics of Human Renal Tract Malformations"

                                Supervisor: Prof Adrian Woolf. Examiner: Prof Patrick Maxwell

1999 - 2002               BSc in Genetics, University College London

Research Themes
Research Summary

The main focus of our lab is to investigate the pathogenesis and treatment of skeletal ciliopathies. Ciliopathies, which affect ~1 in 1000 people and are caused by abnormal formation or function of cilia (microtubular protrusions present on the surface of most cells within the body), include a number of important human diseases such as renal cystic disease, obesity and retinal degeneration. A subset of ciliopathies, such as Jeune, Carpenter and Sensenbrenner syndromes, also feature particular skeletal involvement. Unlike classical ciliopathies, these so-called ‘skeletal ciliopathies’ are typically caused by mutations in genes encoding ciliary trafficking proteins, including core components of intraflagellar transport (IFT) and vesicle transport machinery. 

One of the main interests of our lab is therefore to investigate the mechanisms that regulate ciliary trafficking. We are currently using tandem-affinity purification (TAP) and stable isotope labeling by amino acids in cell culture (SILAC) to identify novel ciliary trafficking proteins, and high-throughput microscopy-based small molecule screens to identify compounds that target ciliary trafficking, and which may be relevant for therapy.

Another active area of research focuses on neural crest cells (NCCs). There is growing evidence that cilia are present on the surface of NCCs and their derivatives, and skeletal ciliopathies may be caused by abnormal NCC development. The hypothesis that we are currently testing is that factors that influence NCC identity or migration may be targeted for treatment of ciliopathies and other NCC-derived defects (including specific tumours). Chemical and genetic screening is undertaken to identify novel genes and Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved drugs that influence NCC development in zebrafish embryos, and these factors are tested for their ability to treat skeletal ciliopathies (e.g. craniosynostosis) in model organisms and to inhibit growth of NCC-derived tumour cell lines.

Teaching Summary

Departmental Education Liaison Lead for the Genetics and Genomic Medicine Programme; Postgraduate Tutor, UCL Institute of Child Health.

Research student supervision at PhD level, together with supervision of laboratory and library projects for MSc and BSc students at UCL and beyond. 

I lecture annually on the functional investigation of human disease genes:

i) MRes in Biomedicine 'Foundations in Biomedical Sciences' module, UCL. 

Academic Background
2006   Doctor of Philosophy University College London
2002   Bachelor of Science University College London
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