David Baulcombe

2012 Balzan Prize for Epigenetics

For his fundamental contribution to the understanding of epigenetics and its role in cell and tissue development under normal and stressful conditions.

David Charles Baulcombe, born in Solihull, Warwickshire on 7 April 1952, is a British citizen.
Regius Professor of Botany, Royal Society Research Professor and Head of the Department of Plant Sciences, at the University of Cambridge.
He received his B.Sc. (Botany) from the University of Leeds in 1973 and his Ph.D. (Botany) from the University of Edinburgh in 1977. After 4 years as a post-doctoral fellow in North America, first at McGill University, Montreal, Canada (1977-1978) and then at the University of Georgia, USA (1978-1980) he joined the Plant Breeding Institute in Cambridge UK, in 1980, where he held initially the position of Higher Scientific Officer, and then (1986-1988) that of Principal Scientific Officer. He joined the Sainsbury Laboratory in Norwich as a Senior Research Scientist in 1988, and also served as Head of Laboratory between 1990-1993 and 1999-2003. He was appointed Honorary Professor at the University of East Anglia in 1998, and given a full professorship there in 2002. He became a Fellow of the Royal Society in 2001 and was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II in 2009. He is also a Member of the Academia Europaea, Fellow of Trinity College, Cambridge, and a Foreign Associate Member of the US National Academy of Sciences.  
He took up his current position in the University of Cambridge in 2007.

Among his most important publications, we would mention:

– Shivaprasad, P.V.; Dunn, R.M.; Santos B.A.; Bassett A.; Baulcombe D.C. (2012). “Extraordinary transgressive phenotypes of hybrid tomato are influenced by epigenetics and small silencing RNAs”. The EMBO Journal 31 (1); 257-266.
– Molnar, S.; Melnyk C.W.; Bassett, A.; Hardcastle, T.J.; Dunn, R.; Baulcombe, D.C. (2010). “Small Silencing RNAs in plants are mobile and direct epigenetic modification in recipient Cells”. Science 328 (5980); 872-875.
– Chen, H.M.; Chen, L.T.; Patel, K.; Li, Y.H.; Baulcombe, D.C.; Wu, S.H. (2010). “22-nucleotide RNAs trigger secondary siRNA biogenesis in plants”. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 107 (34); 15269-15274.
– Mosher, R.A.; Melnyk C.W.; Kelly K.A.; Dunn R.M.; Studholme D.J.; Baulcombe D.C. (2009). “Uniparental expression of PolIV-dependent siRNAs in developing endosperm of Arabidopsis”. Nature 460; 283-U151.
– Mosher, R.A.; Schwach, F.; Studholme, D.; Baulcombe, D.C. (2008). “PollVb influences RNA-directed DNA methylation independently of its role in siRNA biogenesis”. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 105 (8); 3145-3150.
– Herr, A.J.; Jensen, M.B.; Dalmay, T; Baulcombe, D.C. (2005). “RNA polymerase IV directs silencing of endogenous DNA”. Science 308 (5718); 118-120.
– Baumberger, N.; Baulcombe, D.C. (2005). “Arabidopsis ARGONAUTE1 is an RNA Slicer that selectively recruits microRNAs and short interfering RNAs”. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 102 (33); 11928-11933. E
– Hamilton, A.; Voinnet, O.; Chappell, L.; Baulcombe, D.C. (2002). “Two classes of short interfering RNA in RNA silencing”. The EMBO Journal 21 (17); 4671-4679.
– Jones, L.; Ratcliff, F.; Baulcombe, D.C. (2001). “RNA-directed transcriptional gene silencing in plants can be inherited independently of the RNA trigger and requires Met1 for maintenance”. Current Biology 11 (10); 747-757.
– Dalmay, T.; Hamilton, A.; Rudd, S.; Angell, S.; Baulcombe, D.C. (2000). “An RNA-dependent RNA polymerase gene in Arabidopsis is required for posttranscriptional gene silencing mediated by a transgene but not by a virus”. Cell 101 (5); 543-553.
– Hamilton, A. J.; Baulcombe, D.C. (1999). “A species of small antisense RNA in posttranscriptional gene silencing in plants”. Science 286 (5441); 950-952.
– Voinnet, O.; Baulcombe, D.C. (1997). “Systemic signalling in gene silencing”. Nature 389; 553.
– Baulcombe, D.C. (1986). “RNA as a target and an initiator of post-transcriptional gene silencing in transgenic plant”. Plant Molecular Biology 32 (1-2); 79-88.

(September 2012)

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