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Prof Karen Lillycrop


Professor of Epigenetics

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Karen is Professor of Epigenetics at the University of Southampton. 

Karen completed her undergraduate degree in Chemistry and Biochemistry at Imperial College, and PhD at the University of Leicester. Karen has worked for 25 years investigating molecular mechanisms underlying ageing associated pathologies such as including sarcopenia, diabetes and obesity. 

She is principal investigator and founding member of the international consortium on epigenetics (EpiGen) whose work ranges from fundamental molecular biology, identifying new therapeutic targets as well as undertaking clinical and educational interventions.

Landmark publications:

1.Epigenome‐wide association study of sarcopenia: findings from the Hertfordshire Sarcopenia Study (HSS). E Antoun, ES. Garratt, A Taddei,  MA. Burton,  SJ. Barton,  P Titcombe,  LD. Westbury,  A Baczynska, E Migliavacca,  JN. Feige,  HE. Sydall,  E Dennison,  R Dodds,  HC. Roberts,  P Richardson,  AA. Sayer,  S Shaw,  C Cooper,  JD. Holbrook,  H P. Patel,  KM. Godfrey,  KA. Lillycrop. J Cachexia Sarcopenia Muscle. 2022 Feb; 13(1): 240–253. 

2.DNA methylation signatures associated with cardiometabolic risk factors in children from India and The Gambia: results from the EMPHASIS study. Antoun E, Issarapu P, di   Gravio C, Shrestha S, Betts M, Saffari A, Sahariah SA, Sankareswaran A,   Arumalla M, Prentice AM, Fall CHD, Silver MJ, Chandak GR, Lillycrop   KA; EMPHASIS study group.Clin Epigenetics. 2022 Jan 9;14(1):6.

3.Altered H19/miR-675 expression in skeletal muscle is associated with low muscle mass in community-dwelling older adults. Antoun E, Migliavacca E, Garratt ES,   Patel HP, Godfrey KM, Lillycrop KA. J Cachexia Sarcopenia Muscle Rapid Communications 4, 2021 207-221.

4.Influence of Maternal Lifestyle and Diet on Perinatal DNA   Methylation Signatures Associated With Childhood Arterial Stiffness at 8 to 9   Years. Murray R, Kitaba N,   Antoun E, Titcombe P, Barton S, Lillycrop K, Godfrey KM, Hanson MA; Hypertension. Hypertension 78, 2021 787-800.

5.The genomic loci of specific human tRNA genes exhibit   ageing-related DNA hypermethylation.  Acton RJ, Yuan W, Gao F, Xia Y, Bourne E, Wozniak E, Bell J, Lillycrop   K, Harvey NC, Mein CA, Spector TD, Hysi PG, Cooper C, Bell CG.   Nat Commun. 2021 May 11;12(1):2655. doi:   10.1038/s41467-021-22639-6.PMID: 33976121

6.Effect of maternal preconceptional and pregnancy micronutrient   interventions on children’s DNA methylation: Findings from the EMPHASIS study. Saffari A, Shrestha S, Prentice AM, Lillycrop KA, Fall CHD, Chandak GR, Silver MJ;   EMPHASIS Study Group.Am J Clin Nutr. 2020 Oct 1;112(4):1099-1113. PMID: 32889533

7. Maternal dysglycaemia, changes in the infant’s epigenome modified with a diet and physical activity   intervention in pregnancy: secondary analysis of a randomised control trial. Antoun E, Kitaba NT, et al, Poston   L*, Godfrey KM*, Lillycrop KA*  (*joint senior authors). PLOS Med 2020; 17:e1003229.

8. Mitochondrial oxidative   capacity and NAD+ biosynthesis are reduced in human sarcopenia across   ethnicities Migliavacca E, Tay SKH, Patel HP, et al, Godfrey KM*, Lillycrop KA*, Karnani N*, Feige J*   (*joint senior authors). Nature   Communications 2019; 10: 5808.

9.  Differential SLC6A4 methylation: a predictive epigenetic marker of   adiposity from birth to adulthood Lillycrop K, Garratt E, Titcombe P, et   al, Godfrey KM.. Int J Obesity  2019;43:974-988.

10.ANRIL Promoter DNA Methylation: A Perinatal Marker for Later Adiposity. Lillycrop K, Murray R, Cheong C, et   al., EBioMedicine. 2017 May;19:60-72. doi:   10.1016/j.ebiom.2017.03.037

11. PGC1α Promoter Methylation in   Blood at 5-7 Years Predicts Adiposity From 9 to 14 Years (EarlyBird 50). Clarke-Harris R, Wilkin TJ, Hosking J, Pinkney J, Jeffery AN, Metcalf BS, Godfrey KM, Voss   LD, Lillycrop KA, Burdge GC. Diabetes. 2014 Jul;63(7):2528-37.

12. Epigenetic gene promoter methylation at birth is associated with child's later adiposity.Godfrey   KM, Sheppard A, Gluckman PD, Lillycrop KA, Burdge GC, McLean C,   Rodford J, Slater-Jefferies JL, Garratt E, Crozier SR, Emerald BS, Gale CR, Inskip HM, Cooper C, Hanson MA. Diabetes. 2011 60:1528-34

Major grants:

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