Professor Robin Campbell Allshire FRS
Wellcome Trust Principal Research Fellow, Wellcome Trust Centre for Cell Biology, School of Biological Sciences, University of Edinburgh
Robin Allshire has made seminal contributions to the understanding of chromosome structure and function. His research on telomeres, the ends of chromosomes, revealed DNA sequence conservation among eukaryotes and first showed that telomeres shorten with age. Using elegant genetic methods, he probed the structure of the fission yeast centromere, which governs accurate chromosome segregation. He then used these findings to prove that centromere-associated heterochromatin is essential for proper chromosome cohesion prior to cell division and to insure that single chromosomes can only be pulled to one daughter cell. Allshire's studies demonstrate that heterochromatin, long dismissed as junk DNA , is in fact a vital component of the chromosome segregation machinery.