Personal profile


  • University of Manchester, Lecturer in functional genomics, October 2006 to present
  • UCSF Comprehensive Cancer Center , San Francisco. Postdoctoral Researcher, February 2003 to August 2006.
  • Imperial College / GlaxoSmithKline. PhD in Genetics, October 1999 - September 2002.
  • University of Aberdeen. MSc in Medical Molecular Genetics, October 1998 - July 1999.
  • University of Limerick. BSc in Industrial Biochemistry. October 1994 - May 1998.

Research interests

Research Interests:I am a Lecturer in Functional Genomics in the Respiratory Research Group at the University of Manchester. My research interest is to investigate the molecular mechanisms (both epigenetic and genetic) underlying the heritability of asthma. I am a co-investigator on the unselected population based birth cohort: MAAS (The Manchester Asthma and Allergy Study). MAAS has the optimum study design to investigate complex chronic disorders which start in early life (population-based, with careful longitudinal phenotyping and contemporaneous measurement of environmental exposures). My group includes a PhD student and Postdoctoral Researcher who are investigating the functional role of SNPs in candidate genes that are associated with the development of asthma. Our poor understanding of the heritability of asthma necessitates the use of Genome Wide Association Studies (GWAS). I am analysing GWAS data from the MAAS cohort to uncover genes associated with the development of asthma. In addition I am a Principle Investigator on an ongoing research project funded by the British Lung Foundation. This project is designed to investigate the role of epigenetics in the development of asthma using Illumina infinium arrays.

Prior research interests: John Curtin’s prior academic work focused on the genomics of Melanoma. His work demonstrated that melanoma consists of genetically distinct subgroups depending on sun exposure and anatomic site of the tumour. His subsequent discovery of frequent activation of a novel melanoma oncogene in some of these melanoma subtypes has potentially provided a new therapeutic avenue for some patients with melanoma. This oncogene (c-kit) is also a rational therapeutic target since a compound (Imatinib) that targets it is already approved for treatment in other cancers.


Postgraduate teaching

  • Master of Research Translational Medicine - Deputy Director.
  • Module: Practical Skills (MRes Translational Medicine)
  • Module: Genomics (MRes Translational Medicine)
  • Module: Omics Techniques and their Application to Genomic Medicine (MSc Genomic Medicine)
  • PGR Senior Tutor, Division of Infection, Immunity & Respiratory Medicine

Undergraduate Teaching

  • Tutor for Personal and Professional Development Phase 1 MBChB

My collaborations

Angela Simpson (University of Manchester) - co-investigator MAAS
Adnan Custovic (Imperial College) - co-investigator MAAS
David Denning (University of Manchester) - co-supervisor of PhD Student
Sebastian Johnston (Imperial College) - collaborator
Jenny Hankinson (University of Manchester) - postdoctoral researcher
Iain Buchan (University of Manchester) - collaborator
Hans Bisgaard (COPSAC, University of copenhagen) - collaborator
Katie Allen (University of Melbourne) - collaborator
Mairead Kiely (University College Cork) - collaborator

Methodological knowledge

Case-control studies
Positional Cloning
Comparative Genomic Hybridization

Key words

  • Allergy
  • Asthma
  • Gene-environment interactions
  • Melanoma
  • Cancer
  • epigenetics


Imperial College. PhD in Genetics, 2003.
University of Aberdeen. MSc in Medical Molecular Genetics, 1999.
University of Limerick. BSc in Industrial Biochemistry. 1998.

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being

Education/Academic qualification

Doctor of Philosophy, Genetic characterisation of Spin cycle - An ENU induced mutant mouse, Imperial College London


Award Date: 1 Oct 2002

Master of Science, Medical Molecular Genetics, University of Aberdeen


Award Date: 1 Sept 1999

Bachelor of Science, Industrial Biochemistry, University of Limerick


Award Date: 1 Jul 1998

External positions

Postdoctoral Researcher, University of California (San Francisco)


Research Beacons, Institutes and Platforms

  • Digital Futures
  • Christabel Pankhurst Institute


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