Peter Rugg-Gunn awarded tenure by the Institute
Today we are pleased to announce that Dr Peter Rugg-Gunn has been offered a tenured position, making him a permanent Group Leader at the Institute.
Professor Michael Wakelam, Director of the Babraham Institute said: “My warmest congratulations to Peter. His work has made valuable contributions to the goals of the Institute and I am sure his team will continue to be an asset to the organisation. He is a talented researcher and I look forward to seeing what more he will bring to his field.”
Dr Rugg-Gunn gained a degree in Biology from the University of York in 2001 before coming to Cambridge to study with Professor Roger Pederson for a PhD in stem cell biology. He graduated in 2006 and relocated to Toronto, Canada to take up a research fellowship with Dr Janet Rossant. In 2011, Dr Rugg-Gunn returned to Cambridge, becoming a Group Leader here at the Institute with the support of a Wellcome Trust Research Career Development Fellowship.
The Rugg-Gunn lab is part of the Epigenetics programme at the Institute. The lab’s research focuses on the role of epigenetics – chemical marks attached to DNA – on gene activity during the specialisation of human stem cells. By turning groups of genes on or off at the right time inside cells, epigenetics helps to transform stem cells into the many different cells that make up all the parts of the body.
As the leader of the Epigenetics Programme at the Institute, Professor Wolf Reik said: “We are all thrilled to have Peter in the Programme and to be able to support long-term his exciting research vision that addresses fundamental questions in human stem cells and development. The panel was highly impressed by his compelling research questions, the quality of his work and his critical thinking, as well as his leadership of an effective research team.
In some of their most recent work, Dr Rugg-Gunn’s team devised a new readout for identifying and tracking cells, allowing the transition from stem cells into specialised cell types to be studied in greater molecular detail. The significance of this discovery resulted in Dr Rugg-Gunn’s student, Amanda Collier, being presented with the Institute’s Michael Berridge Prize.
On his tenure appointment, Dr Rugg-Gunn said “I am delighted to have our achievements recognised in this way. I would like to thank my past and present lab members for their hard work, scientific creativity and for making the last five years so enjoyable. I look forward to taking on the next challenge in our research as we work towards understanding stem cells and the early stages of human development.”
In his career, Dr Rugg-Gunn has produced over 30 research papers and his work has been cited more than 4000 times. Outside of his position at the Institute, Dr Rugg-Gunn holds affiliate posts at the Wellcome Trust-MRC Cambridge Stem Cell Institute and at the Cambridge Centre for Trophoblast Research, which allows him to build collaborations across many fields. In addition to the Wellcome Trust, his group also receives funding from the Medical Research Council and Biotechnology & Biological Sciences Research Council.
Dr Rugg-Gunn lives near Cambridge with his wife and two children. He is actively involved in overseeing the management of the Babraham Nursery.
Dr Jonathan Lawson, Babraham Institute Communications Manager
About the Babraham Institute
The Babraham Institute receives strategic funding from the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) to undertake world-class life sciences research. Its goal is to generate new knowledge of biological mechanisms underpinning ageing, development and the maintenance of health. Research focuses on signalling, gene regulation and the impact of epigenetic regulation at different stages of life. By determining how the body reacts to dietary and environmental stimuli and manages microbial and viral interactions, we aim to improve wellbeing and support healthier ageing.