Natalie Prescott

Natalie Prescott


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    Personal profile

    Biographical details

    Natalie received her PhD in Human Molecular Genetics from the UCL Institute of Child Health in 2000 and remained there to do her first postdoc. She joined the Department of Medical and Molecular Genetics at KCL in 2004 as a postdoc in Chris Mathew’s lab investigating the genetic aetiology of the inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD)  of Crohn’s disease (CD) and ulcerative colitis (UC). In 2011 she received a Wellcome Trust University Award, a five-year Career Development Fellowship to begin her own independent research programme investigating the functional importance of non-coding genome regions that have been strongly implicated IBD through genome-wide association studies (GWAS).

    Research interests

    Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) is a chronic and debilitating inflammatory condition which may affect any part of the gastrointestinal tract in Crohn's disease (CD), or the distal colon and rectum in Ulcerative Colitis (UC). The causes of IBD are not clearly understood, but are likely to involve a failure in the operation or regulation of the immune response. As part of the Wellcome Trust Case Control Consortium and the UK IBD Genetics Consortium (UKIBDGC), we used genome-wide association scans to identify many susceptibility genes or loci for Crohn’s disease and UC. We are also members of the International IBD Genetics Consortium (IIBDGC), which has now identified more than 200 susceptibility loci for IBD and fine-mapped many of these. This work has led to many publications in Nature and Nature Genetics (see publications list), and has provided novel insights into the pathogenesis of IBD. 

    In particular I am investigating the functional significance of gene deserts at IBD risk loci, and of the transcriptome of the human colon in IBD.  Using RNA sequencing of intestinal biopsies from IBD patients and controls we are surveying novel intestinal-specific transcripts and expression Quantitative Trait Loci (eQTLs) of the 200+ genomic regions associated with IBD susceptibility. These data will provide valuable functional information to inform the selection of true causal variants and genes at each locus.  With collaborators in the Dental Institiute I am also researching the role of genes and the salivary microbiome in an oral form of Crohn’s disease also known as orofacial granulomatosis.

    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, An Investigation of the Genetics Etiology of Nonsyndromic Cleft Lip With or Without Cleft Palate, UCL University College London

    Award Date: 1 Jan 2000

    Bachelor of Science, King's College London

    Award Date: 1 Jan 1996

    External positions

    External Tutor, University of Greenwich

    2004 → …


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