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Fellows Directory

David Tollervey

Professor David Tollervey FRS


Elected: 2004


Twitter @DTollervey


ORCID 0000-0003-2894-2772


David Tollervey is a biologist and expert in ribosome synthesis and RNA processing — processes required for the manufacture of proteins within cells. David discovered that yeast and other small organisms contain many small species of RNA in their nucleolus, a substructure within the nucleus of the cell. He subsequently showed that these small nucleolar RNAs are required for the manufacture of ribosomes and therefore for protein synthesis.

He has long been a world leader in ribosome synthesis and RNA quality control, having characterised the remarkable protein complex known as the exosome, which can break down RNA molecules. The technology and tools that David’s research laboratory has developed in yeast have considerable potential for enhancing our understanding of disease states, including infection with viruses and Escherichia coli bacteria.

David is currently a Wellcome Trust Principal Research Fellow, Professor of RNA Biology and Director of the Wellcome Trust Centre for Cell Biology at the University of Edinburgh. He has also published over 150 papers in the field of RNA processing and quality control within cells.

Professional positions

Professor of RNA Biology, Wellcome Centre For Cell Biology, University of Edinburgh

Interests and expertise

Subject groups


Ribosome synthesis, RNA biology, RNA processing, RNA-protein interactions, Saccharomyces cerevisiae