Institutional Research Information Service
UCL Logo
Please report any queries concerning the funding data grouped in the sections named "Externally Awarded" or "Internally Disbursed" (shown on the profile page) to your Research Finance Administrator. Your can find your Research Finance Administrator at https://www.ucl.ac.uk/finance/research/rs-contacts.php by entering your department
Please report any queries concerning the student data shown on the profile page to:

Email: portico-services@ucl.ac.uk

Help Desk: http://www.ucl.ac.uk/ras/portico/helpdesk
 More search options
Prof Richard Jenner
UCL Cancer Institute, Paul O'Gorman Building
72 Huntley Street
Prof Richard Jenner profile picture
  • Professor of Molecular Biology
  • Research Department of Cancer Bio
  • Cancer Institute
  • Faculty of Medical Sciences
I have headed the Regulatory Genomics research group at the UCL Cancer Institute since 2012. Prior to this, I completed my postdoctoral studies in Rick Young's lab at the Whitehead Institute and established my own group in the Division of Infection and Immunity at UCL in 2007. We are currently funded by project grants from the MRC, BBSRC, Blood Cancer UK and Worldwide Cancer Research and PhD studentships from CRUK, BBSRC and the Turkish Government. 

Research Summary

Each of our cells contains the same genome but exhibit wildly different morphologies and functions. We are interested in how nascent RNA, chromatin modifiers and transcription factors specify different cell types and how this goes wrong in disease. We primarily use embryonic stem cells as a model for embryonic development and T helper cells as a model for adult cell differentiation, and our research is underpinned by our expertise in genomics and molecular biology methods.

Research Projects

Regulatory functions of nascent RNA
Although primarily considered to be passive intermediaries, we have demonstrated that pre-mRNAs are a regulatory molecule. We have found that pre-mRNA contains G-quadruplex-forming elements that directly interact with the repressive chromatin regulator PRC2 and block its recruitment to active genes. We have also identified additional regulatory proteins whose interaction with chromatin is inhibited by nascent RNA. We hypothesise that through these interactions, nascent RNA provides direct feedback from transcriptional output to chromatin state. We are currently seeking to understand the role of these mechanisms in cell differentiation and maintenance of cell identity.

Epigenetic dysregulation in cancer
PRC2 function is often dysregulated in cancer. Around 50% of cases of low-grade endometrial stromal sarcoma exhibit fusion of the gene encoding the PRC2 subunit SUZ12 with the gene encoding the NuA4-associated protein JAZF1. We have discovered that SUZ12-JAZF1 lacks interaction with specific PRC2 accessory factors, alters PRC2 gene occupancy and histone modification, and disrupts cell differentiation. We are currently working to understand the role of enhancer RNAs in oncogene activation and whether G4 RNA can evict PRC2 from tumour-suppressor genes.

Control of T cell differentiation
The ability of T helper cells to differentiate into diverse effector lineages allows tailoring of the immune response to different pathogens. Modulation of effector T cell state may also enhance the immune response to cancer. We have determined how the lineage-determining transcription factor T-bet drives differentiation into the Th1 effector lineage and identified ways to block T-bet-mediated gene activation. We are applying the same strategies to identify the factors that control the differentiation of tumour-infiltrating T lymphocytes.
Teaching Summary

I lecture on transcription and chromatin regulation on the following courses:

  • CELL0016 Advanced Molecular Cell Biology
  • INIM0010 Cellular Pathology
  • INIM0017 HIV Frontiers from Research to Clinics
  • INIM0036 Fundamentals of Cellular and Molecular Biology from a Virus's Perspective
  • MSc Cancer

We also host lab projects as part of the BSc Cancer Biomedicine and MSc Cancer biomedicine courses.

01-OCT-2018 Professor UCL Cancer Institute UCL, United Kingdom
01-JUN-2013 – 30-SEP-2018 Reader in Molecular Biology UCL Cancer Institute University College London, United Kingdom
01-DEC-2006 – 31-MAY-2013 Senior Research Fellow UCL Cancer Institute University College London, United Kingdom
17-FEB-2003 – 30-NOV-2006 Postdoctoral Associate   Whitehead Institute, United States
Academic Background
2003   Doctor of Philosophy University College London
2001   Master of Arts University of Cambridge
1997   Bachelor of Arts University of Cambridge
Some IRIS profile information is sourced from HR data as explained in our FAQ. Please report any queries concerning HR data shown on this page to hr-services@ucl.ac.uk.
University College London - Gower Street - London - WC1E 6BT Tel:+44 (0)20 7679 2000

© UCL 1999–2011

Search by