Dr Nicholas A. Kent

Dr Nicholas A. Kent

Senior Lecturer

School of Biosciences

+44 (0)29 2087 9036
+44 (0)29 2087 4116
Sir Martin Evans Building, Museum Avenue, Cardiff, CF10 3AX

DNA in cells does not function as a naked double helix, but is bound by various structural proteins to form chromatin. The modulation of chromatin structure is a key process in the catalysis and regulation of gene transcription, DNA replication and DNA repair. I use novel next-generation chromatin sequencing techniques to analyse chromatin function in a variety of organisms including humans, plants, flies and yeast. I also hope to be a driving force in the emerging field of research into chromatin in non-nuclear genomes such as those of the archaea. The aim of my research is to understand basic chromatin biology relevant to human health, crop improvement and the evolution of genome structure. I am currently funded by the BBSRC.


– Module Leader: BI3254 Genes to Genomes
– Module Leader: BI3225 Genomics
– School Radiation Protection Supervisor
– Genomics Research Hub Lead

Interested in joining my lab as a self-funded post-graduate student or a postdoc/fellow?  Please contact me by email.

I received a BSc. (Hons) from the University of East Anglia in 1989, a D.Phil from the University of Oxford in 1994, and became a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy in 2008.

During my doctoral work in Jane Mellor's laboratory in Oxford, I became interested in how the physical packaging of DNA influences gene expression, and developed technology for digesting yeast chromatin with nucleases in order to map chromatin structure which is still used widely today (Kent et al., 1993; Kent and Mellor, 1995). From 1994, I undertook post-doctoral work at Oxford in both the Biochemistry Department (Mellor lab) and the Sir William Dunn School of Pathology (Proudfoot lab), and became a Departmental Lecturer in the Genetics Unit in 2002. During this time in Oxford, I worked on co-activator/repressor complexes which use energy from ATP hydrolysis to remodel chromatin structure, and played a key role in discovering the cellular functions of the ISWI and CHD classes of these enzymes (Kent et al., 2001; Alen et al., 2002, Morillion et al., 2003, Martinez-Campa et al., 2004).

In 2006, I took up a Lectureship at Cardiff University and have since published papers: characterising chromatin environments at the rDNA locus and telomeres (Jones et al., 2007; Loney et al., 2009); dissecting the role of the SWI/SNF class ATPase RSC in chromatin-remodelling during chromosome break formation and repair (Kent et al., 2007; Chambers et al., 2012a); identifying a role for the INO80 class ATPase in centromere function and genome stability (Chambers et al., 2012b). The main focus of my lab is now developing chromatin-SEQ techniques to analyse chromatin structure and function at a genome-wide level (Kent et al., 2011; Durand-Dubief et al., 2012; Platt et al., 2013; Platt et al.,2017). I have continued to explore chromatin remodelling in model organism systems such as fission yeast and Arabidopsis (Gal et al., 2015; Pass et al., 2017), and helped discover the novel beads-on-a-string chromatin architectures now known to be present in archaeal cells  (Maruyama et al., 2013).

At other times, I have dabbled in eye lens proteins, dust mite allergens, business development consultancy and guitar playing. I live, with my family, near Coleford in the Forest of Dean.

Areas of expertise

External profiles

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