Dr Louise Jones




2002 - Lecturer Department of Biology, University of York
1998 - 2002 Research Scientist Sainsbury Laboratory, John Innes Centre, Norwich
1995 - 1998 Post-doc Department of Virus Research, John Innes Centre, Norwich
1992 - 1995 Post-doc Department of Plant Pathology, University of California, Davis, USA
1988 - 1991 PhD Department of Genetics, University of Leicester
1985 - 1988 BSc (hons) Biological Science, University of Leicester



I have a long-standing interest in RNA biology and post-transcriptional control of gene expression. A particular focus is RNA silencing, which is a conserved mechanism of gene regulation in eukaryotes and is involved in controlling endogenous gene expression and defence against invasive nucleic acids such as viruses. Interestingly RNA silencing can promote epigenetic changes such as DNA methylation and histone modification and one idea is that these pathways contribute to phenotypic plasticity in response to environmental change. Currently my lab is using a combination of molecular and genetic approaches to investigating the connection between RNA silencing and DNA methylation and its wider significance.


NRPD1a and NRPD1b are required for maintenance of post-transcriptional RNA silencing.
Impairment of virus-induced gene silencing occurs in plants defective for the RDR6 RNA-dependent RNA Polymerase

Current projects

Investigating RNA-directed DNA methylation. (Funding body: BBSRC PhD studentship)

Transgenerational Stress Responses (Funding body: NERC PhD studentship)

Targeting the RNA silencing machinery: influence of location in the genome. (Funding body: BBSRC PhD studentship)

Novel mutations in the RNA-directed DNA methylation pathway. (Funding body: Gatsby Charitable Foundation)

Research group(s)

Research Student Tom Brabbs Investigating RNA-directed DNA methylation. BBSRC
Rsearch Student Tom Smith Transgenerational Stress Responses (NERC)
Research Student Eleanor Walton Targeting the RNA silencing machinery: influence of location in the genome (BBSRC)

Available PhD research projects

Investigating the role of MORC proteins in epigenetic gene silencing (for 2014-15)

The Microrchidia (MORC) gene family encode ATPases that are implicated in epigenetic gene silencing events and DNA methylation. There are seven MORC genes in Arabidopsis thaliana and the project will aim to investigate their roles in gene silencing. The experimental approaches will include analysis of the molecular phenotypes of MORC mutants, gene expression analyses of MORC genes, protein-protein and protein-DNA interaction studies. There is also the possibility of studying MORC genes in other organisms in order to assess conservation of function.

Dr Louise Jones

Contact details

Dr Louise Jones
Department of Biology (Area 11)
University of York
YO10 5DD

Tel: 01904 328695