Dr Duncan Odom | Former Associate Faculty

This person is a member of Sanger Institute Alumni.

Odom, Duncan

Duncan's Associate Faculty research at the Sanger Institute has concluded. To contact Duncan at the Cancer Research UK Cambridge Institute, please email: duncan.odom@cruk.cam.ac.uk

Duncan Odom's research compares how transcription and transcriptional regulation vary during evolution, and the implications this regulatory plasticity has for diseases such as cancer. His team uses numerous new high-throughput methods combined with analysis of multiple mammals and vertebrates to reveal fundamental biological insights into tissue-specification and genome evolution.

Duncan graduated from the New College of Florida in 1995 with a BA in Chemistry, and obtained his PhD in 2001 for work in the field of Inorganic Chemistry at Caltech. In 2001, he changed research fields to undertake postdoctoral studies in genetics and genomics at the Whitehead Institute at MIT, where he developed and deployed new methods in transcriptional regulation. His first major work as a postdoctoral fellow showed that primary human tissue can be used to map where diabetes-linked transcription factors bind the human genome in liver and pancreatic islets in vivo.

In 2006, he established his research group at the University of Cambridge. His independent research has focused on understanding how and why different species use highly conserved, tissue-specific transcriptional machinery in surprisingly different ways.

Duncan's appointment in 2011 at the Sanger Institute will allow his group to combine their comparative functional genomics approaches with the intellectual and research strengths of the other Sanger faculty in related areas.


  • Waves of retrotransposon expansion remodel genome organization and CTCF binding in multiple mammalian lineages.

    Schmidt D, Schwalie PC, Wilson MD, Ballester B, Gonçalves A et al.

    Cell 2012;148;1-2;335-48

  • Pol III binding in six mammals shows conservation among amino acid isotypes despite divergence among tRNA genes.

    Kutter C, Brown GD, Gonçalves A, Wilson MD, Watt S et al.

    Nature genetics 2011;43;10;948-55

  • Five-vertebrate ChIP-seq reveals the evolutionary dynamics of transcription factor binding.

    Schmidt D, Wilson MD, Ballester B, Schwalie PC, Brown GD et al.

    Science (New York, N.Y.) 2010;328;5981;1036-40

  • Evolution of transcriptional control in mammals.

    Wilson MD and Odom DT

    Current opinion in genetics & development 2009;19;6;579-85

  • Species-specific transcription in mice carrying human chromosome 21.

    Wilson MD, Barbosa-Morais NL, Schmidt D, Conboy CM, Vanes L et al.

    Science (New York, N.Y.) 2008;322;5900;434-8

  • Tissue-specific transcriptional regulation has diverged significantly between human and mouse.

    Odom DT, Dowell RD, Jacobsen ES, Gordon W, Danford TW et al.

    Nature genetics 2007;39;6;730-2

  • Control of pancreas and liver gene expression by HNF transcription factors.

    Odom DT, Zizlsperger N, Gordon DB, Bell GW, Rinaldi NJ et al.

    Science (New York, N.Y.) 2004;303;5662;1378-81