Robert Weatheritt

Robert Weatheritt obtained his PhD conjointly from the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) and the University of Heidelberg in Germany. During his PhD Robert worked on understanding the function of short linear motifs (SLiMs) within intrinsically disordered regions in the lab of Toby Gibson
Lab Head - Neurotranscriptomics

Senior Research Fellow

Conjoint/Adjunct Role(s)

Senior Lecturer / EMBL Australia Group Leader

Robert Weatheritt obtained his PhD conjointly from the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) and the University of Heidelberg in Germany. During his PhD Robert worked on understanding the function of short linear motifs (SLiMs) within intrinsically disordered regions in the lab of Toby Gibson. 

Robert was then awarded a Marie Curie Postdoctoral Fellowship to work with Madan Babu at the Laboratory of Molecular Biology (LMB) in Cambridge and Benjamin Blencowe at the Donnelly Centre in Toronto. His work during this time focused on understanding the role of alternative splicing in regulating proteomic diversity. This work included the discovery that alternative splicing regulates higher-order assembly (or phase transition) in a mammalian-specific manner to expand both transcriptomic and proteomic diversity. Robert also helped to identify the crucial role of microexons in axon guidance and neuronal function, as well as identify their mis-regulation in autism spectrum disorder (ASD) patients. 

Robert joined the Garvan Institute of Medical Research as a Lab Head and EMBL Australia Group Leader in June 2018. At the Garvan, Robert is applying system biology approaches to study the contribution of post-transcriptional regulation to mammalian development and neurodevelopmental disorders.

Research Interests

Alternative Splicing
Intrinsically Disordered Regions
Post-transcriptional Regulation
Neuroscience
Transcriptomics
Phase transition
Structural Bioinformatics

Awards and Honours

- EMBL Australia Group Leader start-up grant (2018)
- Marie Curie International Outgoing Fellow (IOF) Postdoctoral Fellowship (2015)
- Canadian Institute Health Research (CIHR) Postdoctoral Fellowship (2014)
- Faculty of 1000 Associate Faculty Member (2013)
- American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Program for Excellence in Science (2012)
- European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) Pre-Doctoral Fellowship (2009)
- Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) Masters Studentship (2008)

Education

2009 -2013 Doctor of Science (Dr. Ret. Nat.) European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) and University of Heidelberg, Germany
2007-2008 Masters of Research in Computational Biology (with Distinction) University of York, United Kingdom
2004-2007 Bachelor of Science in Neuroscience (with Honours) University Of Nottingham, United Kingdom

Selected Publications

Quesnel-Vallières M, Weatheritt RJ, Cordes SP, Blencowe BJ. Autism spectrum disorder: insights into convergent mechanisms from transcriptomics. Nature Review Genetics 2018 Nov 2. doi: 10.1038/s41576-018-0066-2.

Sterne-Weiler T*, Weatheritt RJ*, Best AJ, Ha KCH, Blencowe BJ. Efficient and Accurate Quantitative Profiling of Alternative Splicing Patterns of Any Complexity on a Laptop. Molecular Cell 2018 Oct 4;72(1):187-200.e6

Gueroussov S*, Weatheritt RJ*, O'Hanlon D, Lin ZY, Narula A, Gingras AC, Blencowe BJ. Mammalian-specific regulation of higher-order hnRNP protein assemblies controls alternative splicing. Cell  2017 Jul 13;170(2):324-339.e23.

  • research highlighted by Nature Review Molecular Cell Biology

Weatheritt RJ, Sterne-Weiler T, Blencowe BJ. (2016) The ribosome-engaged landscape of alternative splicing. Nat Struct Mol Biol. 2016 Dec;23(12):1117-1123

Irimia M, Weatheritt RJ, Ellis JD, Parikshak NN, Gonatopoulos-Pournatzis T,Babor M, Quesnel-Vallières, M, Tapial J, Raj B, O'Hanlon D, Barrios-Rodiles M, Sternberg MJ, Cordes SP, Roth FP, Wrana JL, Geschwind DH, Blencowe BJ. (2014) A highly conserved program of neuronal microexons is misregulatedin autistic brains. Cell. 159(7):1511-23 

  • perspective in Cell by Yang and Chen, and in EMBO Journal by Darnell
  • research highlighted by Nature Review Neuroscience and Faculty of 1000

Weatheritt RJ, Gibson TJ, Babu MM. (2014) Asymmetric mRNA localization contributes to fidelity and sensitivity of spatially localized systems. Nat Struct Mol Biol. 21(9); 833-9

  • research highlighted by Faculty of 1000 and by Nature.com

Weatheritt RJ, Babu MM§. (2013) Evolution. The hidden codes that shape protein evolution. Science  342(6164)

Person portrait

Robert Weatheritt

Research group