Nicholas Proudfoot, 2017
- Creation: 2017
Language of Materials
Conditions Governing Access
MS. 12467 digital 16
Biographical / Historical
Nicholas Proudfoot FRS is Brownlee-Abraham Professor of Molecular Biology in the Dunn School. After a first degree in biochemistry at Bedford College in London, through a chance introduction he was taken on as a research student by the Nobel prizewinner Fred Sanger at the Laboratory of Molecular Biology in Cambridge.
There he worked closely with George Brownlee, developing a new way of sequencing messenger RNA by copying it into complementary DNA molecules. They discovered a key sequence that occurs universally at the tail of messenger RNA molecules to signal that the translated protein sequence should terminate. He went on to work on the purification of globin genes at LMB, and later as a post-doc at Caltech and Harvard.
In 1978 Brownlee was appointed Professor of Chemical Pathology at the Dunn School, and established a unit that would introduce the new molecular biology to the department. Proudfoot successfully applied for a lectureship associated with the unit. Ever since he has worked on the control of transcription, particularly the termination of DNA sequences, and how its failure is implicated in viral infections and cancer.