My research group uses the budding yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae and the nematode worm, Caenhorrhabitis elegans as model organisms in which to study how transcription, non-coding RNAs, higher order structures in chromatin, and histone modifications influence the response to changes in nutrient availability, metabolic state and ageing. Caloric restriction is known to increase lifespan in a wide range of organisms, including yeast, and may ameliorate the effects of age-related diseases but the mechanism involved are poorly understood.

Yeast and worms offer powerful tools for dissecting the pathways that allow cells to switch from active growth into a long-lived quiescent state. We use bioinformatics, 3C analysis, RNA-FISH, ChIP-seq, RNA-seq, nascent transcript mapping and most standard wet techniques. In addition, we produce models of cellular events such as gene expression and metabolic cycles in collaboration with physicists and mathematicians.


  • Mellor, J., Woloszczuk, R. & Howe, F.S. The Interleaved Genome. Trends Genet 32, 57-71 (2016).
  • Murray, S.C., Haenni, S., Howe, F.S., Fischl, H., Chocian, K., Nair, A. & Mellor, J. Sense and antisense transcription are associated with distinct chromatin architectures across genes. Nucleic Acids Res 43, 7823-37 (2015).
  • Nguyen T, Fischl H, Howe FS, Woloszczuk R, Serra Barros A, Xu Z, Brown D, Murray SC, Haenni S, Halstead JM, O’Connor L, Shipkovenska G, Steinmetz LM, Mellor J.
  • Transcription mediated insulation and interference direct gene cluster expression switches.
  • Elife. 2014 Nov 19;3:e03635. doi: 10.7554/eLife.03635. PMID:25407679
  • Howe FS, Boubriak I, Sale MJ, Nair A, Clynes D, Grijzenhout A, Murray SC, Woloszczuk R, Mellor J.
  • Lysine acetylation controls local protein conformation by influencing proline isomerization.
  • Mol Cell. 2014 Sep 4;55(5):733-44. doi: 10.1016/j.molcel.2014.07.004. Epub 2014 Aug 7. PMID:25127513
  • Murray SC, Serra Barros A, Brown DA, Dudek P, Ayling J, Mellor J.
  • A pre-initiation complex at the 3′-end of genes drives antisense transcription independent of divergent sense transcription. 
  • Nucleic Acids Res. 2012 Mar;40(6):2432-44. doi: 10.1093/nar/gkr1121. Epub 2011 Nov 28. PMID:22123739