Dr Helen Rowe has a long-standing interest in the human immune system and how it defends us from viruses and from genome invaders known as transposable elements
Dr Rowe undertook her PhD in cancer vaccines and her postdoctoral work studying how stem cells block transposable elements, which reside in the poorly characterised ‘dark matter’ of our genome.
She set up her own group at UCL in 2013 with funding from the Wellcome Trust and the Royal Society. Her groups’ work has identified key pathways controlling transposable elements through TRIM28, KRAB-zinc finger proteins and the HUSH complex.
The Rowe lab moved to Queen Mary University of London in January 2020 where they are working on how transposable elements control genome remodelling through epigenetic mechanisms, work funded through the European Research Council.
Her group recently linked LINE-1 elements and the HUSH complex to regulation of type I interferon responses.
Dr Rowe’s overarching goal is to characterize how genome invaders have been repurposed by their hosts to regulate immunity and to understand how these pathways can go wrong in cancers and in autoinflammatory diseases