Research Highlights & Biography

Keith Caldecott obtained his BSc (Hons) at Sheffield Unversity (1987) and developed an interest in how cells repair DNA strand breaks during his PhD in the laboratory of Penny Jeggo, at the Medical Research Council’s National Institute for Medical Research (London). Keith's interest in DNA repair continued during postdoctoral fellowships with Larry Thompson (California) and Tomas Lindahl FRS (London), and in 1995 Keith established his own laboratory at the University of Manchester. In 2002 the Caldecott lab moved to the Genome Damage and Stability Centre (GDSC); a multi-disciplinary centre-of-excellence funded jointly by the MRC and the University of Sussex. Highlights from the Caldecott laboratory, to date, include establishing that the dual function DNA kinase/DNA phosphatase enzyme PNKP works in concert with XRCC1 during DNA single-strand break repair (Whitehouse et al, Cell 2001), that the protein kinase CK2 is a bona fide DNA damage response protein (Loizou et al, Cell, 2004), and that specific hereditary neurodegenerative diseases are associated with cellular defects in chromosomal SSBR (El Khamisy et al, Nature, 2005; Shen et al, Nature Genetics 2010). The Caldecott laboratory also identified the first 5’-tyrosyl DNA phosphodiesterase activity (TDP2) in human cells (Cortes-Ledesma et al, Nature 2009), identified poly (ADP-ribose) polymerase-3 (PARP3) as a novel component of the repair of DNA double-strand breaks (Rulten et al, Mol Cell, 2011), and associated the loss of TDP2 with transcriptional dysfunction and human neurodegenerative disease (Gomes-Herreros, Nature Genetics 2014). In 2010 Keith was elected a member of EMBO, in 2012 was elected a member of the Academy of Medical Sciences (FMedSci), and in 2016 was awarded a Rotal Society Wolfson Research Merit Award.