Professor of Genetics
Brief Bio

Professor Singh received his PhD from the University of Cambridge in 1987.  His doctoral work concerned the olfactory recognition of genetic individuality, where he showed that the major histocompatibility complex (MHC) gave rise to odours that provide a life-long label of identity.  This has profound consequences for mating preference and kin recognition.  While in Cambridge, Prim Singh also discovered that the chromo-domain protein motif, shared by two Drosophila proteins, was conserved in animals and plants.  Chromo-domain proteins are now known to be key epigenetic regulators of gene activity.  Professor Singh’s work has done much to clarify the role mammalian HP1 chromo-domain proteins in genome organisation and gene expression.  He continued his work in Cambridge, pursuing mathematical modelling Drosophila development with particular reference to the mechanism by which the spatially-restricted patterns of the homeotic genes are set up during embryogenesis.  He then moved to Edinburgh to study nuclear reprogramming and human embryonic stem cells in the wake of the discovery of animal cloning - “Dolly-the-sheep”.  This work was continued in Germany, first at a Leibniz Institute near Hamburg and then, latterly, at the Charite Medical School in Berlin.

Research Interests:

Professor Singh’s work continues to dissect the reprogramming process and his recent work has shown that “age” reprogramming, where the age of an old cell is “re-set” is separable from “developmental” reprogramming where the specialised functions of a cell are “wiped clean” and returned back to an embryonic, pluripotent, state.  His work on obesity and neurodegeneration is also focussed on age-related decline.  His aim is to develop technologies for rejuvenating cells without the need to pass through an embryonic stage, which is obligatory using current methods of rejuvenating cell function.

Selected publications:

1.    Newman, Andrew, Bessa, Paraskevi, Tarabykin, Victor and Singh, Prim, B.  Activity DEPendent Transposition (ADEPT).  EMBO Reports 18(3):346-348, 2017.
2.    Singh P.B.  Heterochromatin and molecular mechanisms of parent-of-origin effects in animals.  J. Bioscences 41(4):759-786, 2016.
3.    Aydin Y E, Dick-Paul Kloos, Emmanuel Gay, Willem Jonker, Lijuan Hu, Jörn Bullwinkel, Jeremy P. Brown, Maria Manukyan, Martin Giera, Prim B. Singh# and Reinald Fundele#.  A hypomorphic Cbx3 allele causes prenatal growth restriction and perinatal energy homeostasis defects. J. Biosciences. 40(2):325-338, 2015. #corresponding authors. 
4.    Maria Manukyan and Prim B. Singh. HP1β mobility as a measure of pluripotent and senescent chromatin “ground states” in human cells.  Nature Scientific Reports 4:4789, 2014.
5.    Billur, M. Bartunik, H. and Singh P.B. The essential function of HP1– a case of the tail wagging the dog? Trends in Biochemical Sciences, 35(2):115-23, 2010.
6.    Aucott, R. Y.Yang, J. Bullwinkel, Billur, M., W. Shi, J. P. Brown, U. Menzel, D. Kioussis, G. Wang, I. Reisert, R. K. Pandita, R. Fundele and P. B. Singh. HP1is required for development of the cerebral neocortex and neuromuscular junctions. J. Cell Biol. 183: 597-606, 2008.
7.    Ponsaerts, P., van der Sar, S., Van Tendeloo, V., Jorens, P., Berneman, Z.W. and Singh, P.B. Highly efficient genetic loading and improved cell viability of human embryonic stem cells after mRNA electroporation. Cloning and Stem Cells, 6:211-216, 2004.
8.    Kourmouli, N. P. Jeppesen, S. Mahadevhiah, P. Burgoyne, R. Wu, D. M. Gilbert, S. Bongiorni, G. Prantera, L. Fanti, S. Pimpinelli, W. Shi, R. Fundele and P.B. Singh. Heterochromatin and trimethylated lysine 20 of histone H4 in animals. J Cell Sci. 117:2491-501, 2004.
9.    Tamaru, H., Zhang, X., McMillen, D., Singh, P.B., Nakayama, Jun-ichi, Grewal, S., Allis, C. D., Cheng, X. and Selker, E.U. Trimethylation of Histone H3 Lysine-9 is a mark for Methylated DNA in Neurospora. Nature Genetics. 34:75-9, 2003.
10.    Cheutin,T., McNairn, A. J., Jenuwein T., Gilbert, D.M., Singh, P.B. and Misteli, T. Maintenance of stable heterochromatin domains by dynamic HP1 binding. Science. 299:721-725, 2003.
11.    Cowell, I. G., R. Aucott, S. Mahadevaiah, P. Burgoyne, N. Huskisson, S. Bongiorni, G. Prantera, L. Fanti, S. Pimpinelli, R. Wu, D. M. Gilbert, W. Shi, R. Fundele, H. Morrison, P. Jeppesen and P. B. Singh. Heterochromatin, HP1 and methylation at lysine 9 of histone H3 in animals. Chromosoma, 111(1):22-36, 2002.
12.    Jones, D.O., I.G. Cowell and Singh, P.B. Mammalian chromodomain proteins: their role in genome organisation and expression. Bioessays. 22(2):124-137, 2000.
13.    Wang, G., Ma, A., Cheok-man, C., Horsley, D., Brown, N.R., Cowell, I.G. and Singh, P.B. Conservation of Heterochromatin Protein 1 (HP1) function. Mol. Cell. Biol. 20:6970-6983, 2000.
14.    Festenstein, R., Sharhi-Namini, S., Fox, M., Roderick, K., Tolani, M., Norton, T., Saveliev, A., Kioussis, D. and Singh, P.B. Heterochromatin protein 1 modifies mammalian PEV in a dose- and chromosomal-context dependent manner. Nature Genetics. 23:457-461, 1999.
15.    Singh P.B. and Brown, D. Activity of the Ultrabithorax Parasegment-specific Regulatory Domains around Their Anterior Boundaries. J. Theoretical Biology, 186:397-413, 1997.
16.    Singh, P.B. The molecular mechanisms of cellular determination: their relation to chromatin structure and parental imprinting. J. Cell Sci. 107:2653-2668, 1994.
17.    Singh, P.B. et al., A sequence motif found in a Drosophila heterochromatin protein is conserved in animals and plants. Nucleic Acids Research. 19:789-793, 1991.
18.    Singh, P.B. et al., Class I transplantation antigens in solution in the body fluids and in the Urine: Individuality signals to the environment. J. Exp. Med. 168:195-211, 1988.
19.    Singh, P.B., Brown, R.E. and Roser, B. MHC antigens in the urine as olfactory recognition cues. Nature. 327:161-164, 1987.