I am a Lecturer in Genetics and have spent many years of my professional life in centres of excellence focused on genetic research projects.
The Department of Biology’s own ethos is to seek interdisciplinary approaches across all the biological sciences. More than ever, confronting global challenges with effective solutions relies on integrating synergistic technologies into a common goal. The Natural Sciences programme offers a variety paths to enable students to tackle contemporary problems with an interdisciplinary perspective.
Dr Gonzalo Blanco
I did my PhD at the university of Seville (Spain) and first postdoctoral placement at Sussex University, manipulating nitrogen fixation genetic pathways in free-living bacteria. A highlight was the successful modification of Azotobacter vinelindii to excrete ammonium, patented work published in Molecular Microbiology and other journals. In 1994, I switched fields to study mouse models of neuromuscular disease at Imperial College London and, later on, at the Medical Research Council at Harwell.
Since 2010 my research at York University focuses on understanding the molecular basis of the muscle function in health and disease. Our experimental paradigm is to use genetic disorders as a window into gene function, exploiting the mouse as model and the neuromuscular system as the main target. Indeed, many gaps exist in our current understanding of how the muscle senses mechanical stress, propagates a signal to the nucleus and elicits transcriptional changes that will eventually adapt its size to the type of activity required. When a genetic defect disrupts this process, the muscle fails to adapt and muscle disease sets in. These rare genetic disorders that compromise muscle plasticity provide an indirect way of identifying key players and my group has been directly implicated in the identification of novel mutations in mice and humans that cause inherited muscle diseases.
I am the current Chair of the Biology Teaching Committee and the subject facilitator for Biology.