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Basson Lab

Group Members

basson-profile-picAlbert Basson, PhD 
Principle Investigator, Reader in Developmental and Stem Cell Biology

Albert obtained his PhD from the University of Cambridge and underwent post-doctoral training at the National Institute for Medical Research (Mill Hill), Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York, King’s College London and UCSF. His primary interest is to understand how deregulated cell signalling and gene expression results in congenital disease. His research has provided insights into the causes of developmental defects of the thymus, kidney, cardiovascular system and cerebellum. The current focus of his group is to uncover the function of chromatin remodelling factors in brain development and autism.

philipp-suetterlin-profile-picPhillipp Suetterlin, PhD 
Post-doctoral Research Associate

Phillipp is interested in the genetic basis of nervous system development & wiring and the clinical conditions that arise when the function of key developmental genes is compromised. Currently, he is using transgenic approaches to study the mechanisms by which chromatin remodelling factors (CRFs), such as CHD8, affect neural development in the mouse and how mutations in CRFs may cause neuropsychiatric disorders such as ASD. Previous to joining the Basson Lab in 2014, he spent 4 years with Uwe Drescher working on the development of neural connectivity in the mouse visual system with a focus on the molecular biological underpinnings of terminal axonal branching and the formation of topographic maps.

danielle-whittakerDanielle Whittaker, BVSc 
Wellcome Trust Clinical Research Fellow

Danielle's background is in veterinary medicine and she worked in small animal practice before starting her PhD. The initial focus of her PhD involved using specific dog breeds as naturally occurring models of human disease, in particular, Chiari malformation. However, since joining the Basson Lab, her interests have evolved and she has become increasingly interested in the role of epigenetic factors involved in human disease, in particular Chd7, which is a syndromic cause of autism. She is currently working on the role of Chd7 in controlling cerebellar growth.  


nemanja-profile-picNemanja Saric
PhD Student (King's College London Graduate School International Studentship)

Nemanja obtained a BSc in Molecular Genetics from King’s College London (2009-2012). This was followed by two research internships at EMBL in Heidelberg and at the IMP in Vienna over the course of 2013, working on P. dumerilii as a model organism for investigating evolution of the CNS. Currently doing PhD research in the Basson Lab (2013-2017), Nemanja is working on the role of the AhR gene in neural development, focusing on cerebellar ontogeny. His research interests include development of the vertebrate brain and epigenetic contribution to neural ontogeny, neural circuits and physiology.

kimberley-riegmanKimberley Riegman
PhD Student (King's College London Graduate School)

Kim obtained her BSc Psychology and Cognitive Neuroscience at the University of Nottingham in 2012. She then completed her MSc Neuroscience at King’s College London in 2013. After spending two years in the lab as a
Research Technician, Kim started her PhD in October 2015. Kim is interested in how changes in genome organization can lead to abnormal brain development (and function) and how this impacts on behaviour, particularly as it relates to neurodevelopmental disorders. 

Conor Mohan Sept 15Conor Mohan 
PhD Student (Simons Foundation)

Conor obtained a BSc in Genetics from University College Dublin (UCD) in 2015. Before finishing at UCD, Conor performed research into Peptide Nucleic Acid (PNA) based antisense agents at the University of Copenhagen. Now a PhD student in the Basson Lab, Conor is interested in the function of the chromatin remodelling factor CHD8 in neural development. The primary focus of his work is to identify novel autism associated signalling pathways and genes regulated by CHD8 in the developing mouse brain. To accomplish these objectives, he is using a host of next generation sequencing methodologies, including RNA-seq, ChIP-seq, and ATAC-seq.

Talia GileadiTalia Gileadi 
PhD student (Crick Institute)

Talia obtained a BSc and MSc in Biochemistry from the University of Oxford. She worked for two years in the UCL Institute of Child Health on translational application of immunotherapy for neuroblastoma. She started her PhD in the Basson Lab in 2015, in a joint project between the Basson Lab and Gitta Stockinger’s Lab at the Crick Institute. She is working on the role of the transcription factor AhR in neural development and is also interested in the role of the immune system in development and disease in the vertebrate brain.

Shaun Hurley sept 15Shaun Hurley
PhD Student (King’s Bioscience Institute)

Shaun completed his Biochemistry BSc at Imperial College London before entering into the 4-year KBI PhD Programme for Biomedical and Translational Science at King's College London. After completing an MRes year, he has now joined the Basson Lab. He is using mouse models to investigate the role of the Chd8 gene in brain development, especially development of the cortex. Overall, Shaun is interested in understanding how mutations in this gene may affect brain development in ASD patients.

Alex donovan sept 15Alex Donovan 
PhD Student (Anatomical Society)

Alex obtained his BSc in Neuroscience from King's College London and joined the Basson Lab in September 2015 as a research technician. Alex's interests are in how epigenetic modifications and consequent changes in gene expression can lead to the developmental changes observed in the etiology of neuropsychiatric disorders. He is particularly interested in how changes in cortical development can lead to the deficits in executive function seen in neuropsychiatric disorders such as those in the autistic spectrum.


John Whittingham Photo 2016 (KCL)John Whittingham
Research technician (MRC)

John obtained a BSc in Biological Sciences at the University of East Anglia before completing an MSc in Genetics of Human Disease at University College London. He joined the Basson laboratory as a Research Technician in February 2016. He currently using mouse models to investigate the hypothesis that Bmi1 and Chd7 cooperate to initiate and advance the pathogenesis of aggressive medulloblastoma subtypes. He is particularly interested in identifying new pathogenically relevant molecular targets which will allow the development of novel tailored therapeutics for these tumours.



Basson lab

Robert Ellingford
(King’s Bioscience Institute)

 Rob obtained his MSci in Natural Sciences from the University of Bath. During his undergraduate study he also completed a one year placement at the Barrow Neurological Institute where his main research focus was the structure and function of nicotinic acetylcholine receptors. Rob entered the 4-year KBI PhD programme for Biomedical and Translational Science at King's College London in 2015. After completing his MRes year he joined the Basson Lab in 2016 to complete his PhD. Rob will utilise mouse models to investigate how the autism-associated gene CHD8 can contribute to ASD in human patients. Specifically his research will focus upon determining whether disrupting the expression of Chd8 alters the balance of excitatory and inhibitory activity within the cerebral cortex.


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