Dr Ruth Pidsley

Research Officer

Conjoint/Adjunct Role(s)

Conjoint Lecturer in St Vincent's Clinical School, UNSW, Australia
Visiting Researcher at King’s College London, UK

Dr Ruth Pidsley is an early career researcher specialising in prostate cancer epigenetics.  She joined Prof Susan Clark’s Cancer Epigenetics research lab in 2013 and in collaboration with Prof Gail Risbridger’s group at Monash University she is generating the first detailed epigenome maps of prostate cancer associated fibroblasts.

Ruth recently completed a PhD at King’s College London, UK, investigating the role of DNA methylation in the human brain and neuropsychiatric disorders.  Prior to her PhD she attained a degree in Human Sciences from Oxford University, UK (2003-2006) and worked as a Research Assistant at the Wellcome Trust Centre for Human Genetics, Oxford University, UK (2007-2008).

Since starting her scientific career in 2007, Ruth has published more than 20 papers, she has co-supervised the research projects of MSc and undergraduate students, as well as lecturing on two MSc courses. She is also a member of the Garvan Post Doctoral Development Committee and the NSW Australian Society for Medical Research (ASMR) Committee.

Research Interests

Investigating epigenetic mechanisms in the cells of the prostate cancer microenvironment
Identifying epigenetic biomarkers of prostate cancer
Developing techniques for processing and analysing DNA methylation data

Awards and Honours

2013 - Gottesman-Shields Award for best PhD at the MRC SGDP Department, King’s College London, UK
2012 - Tadion Rideal Prize for best PhD across the biomedical sciences at King’s College London, UK
2008 - MRC Studentship for MSc/PhD course at the MRC SGDP Department, King’s College London, UK
Travel awards and prizes for oral presentations at local and international conferences


2013 - PhD, Molecular Genetics, King’s College London - UK
2009 - MSc, Molecular Genetics, King’s College London - UK
2006 - BA, Human Sciences, University of Oxford - UK

Selected Publications

Stone A, Zotenko E, Locke W, Korbie D, Millar E, Pidsley R, Stirzaker C, Graham P, Trau M, Musgrove E, Nicholson R, Gee J, Clark S. (2015) DNA methylation of oestrogen-regulated enhancers defines endocrine sensitivity in breast cancer. Nature Communications 6:7758 doi:10.1038/ncomms875,8

Peters T, Buckley M, Statham A, Pidsley R, Samaras K, Lord R, Clark S, Molloy P. (2015) De novo identification of differentially methylated regions in the human genome. Epigenetics & Chromatin 8 (1), 6 doi:10.1186/1756-8935-8-6

Pidsley R, Viana J, Hannon E, Spiers H, Troakes C, Al-Saraj S, Mechawar N, Turecki G, Schalkwyk L, Bray N and Mill J. (2014) Methylomic profiling of human brain tissue supports a neurodevelopmental origin for schizophrenia. Genome Biology 15 (10), 483 doi:10.1186/s13059-014-0483-2

Viana J*, Pidsley R*, Wong CCY, Craig I, Mill J.  (2014) Epigenomic and transcriptomic signatures of a Klinefelter's syndrome (47, XXY) karyotype in the brain. Epigenetics 9(4):587-599 doi:10.4161/epi.27806 

Pidsley R*, Wong CCY *, Volta M, Lunnon K, Mill J, Schalkwyk L. (2013) A data-driven approach to preprocessing Illumina 450k methylation array data. BMC Genomics 14(1):293 doi:10.1186/1471-2164-14-293

Watkins-Chow DE, Cooke J, Pidsley R, Edwards A, Slotkin R, Mullen R, Leeds KE, Baxter LL, Campbell TG, Salzer MC, Biondini L, Gibney G, Tuy FPD, Chelly J, Morris D, Riegler J, Lythgoe MF, Arkell RM, Loreni F, Flint J, Pavan WJ, Keays DA. (2013) Mutation of the Diamond-Blackfan anemia gene Rps7 in mouse results in morphological and neuroanatomical phenotypes. PLOS Genetics 9(1):e1003094

Dempster E, Viana J, Pidsley R, Mill J. (2013) Epigenetic studies of schizophrenia: progress, predicaments and promises for the future. Schizophrenia Bulletin 39(1):11-16. doi: 10.1093/schbul/sbs139

Davies MN, Volta M, Pidsley R, Lunnon K, Dixit A, Lovestone S, Coarfa C, Alan Harris RA,  Milosavljevic A, Troakes C, Al-Sarraj S, Dobson R, Schalkwyk LC, Mill J. (2012)  Functional annotation of the human brain methylome identifies tissue-specific epigenetic variation across brain and blood. Genome Biology 13:R43. doi:10.1186/gb-2012-13-6-r43

Bell JT*, Tsai P-C*, Yang T-P, Pidsley R, Nisbet J, Glass D, Zhai G, Mangino M, Zhai G, Zhang F, Valdes A, Shin S-Y, Dempster EL, Murray RM, Grundberg E, Hedman AK, Nica A, Small KS, The MuTHER Consortium, Dermitzakis ET, McCarthy MI, Mill J, Spector TD*, Deloukas P*. (2012) Epigenome-wide scans identify differentially methylated regions for age and age-related phenotypes in a healthy ageing population. PLoS Genetics  8(4): e1002629. doi:10.1371/journal.pgen.1002629

Pidsley R, Dempster EL, Troakes C, Al-Safa S, Mill J. (2012) Epigenetic and genetic variation at the IGF2/H19 imprinting control region on 11p15.5 is associated with cerebellum weight. Epigenetics 7(2):155-163. doi:10.4161/epi.7.2.18910

Dempster EL*, Pidsley R*, Schalkwyk LC, Owens S, Georgiades A, Kane F, Kalidindi S, Picchioni M, Kravariti E, Toulopoulou T, Murray RM, Mill J. (2011) Disease-associated epigenetic changes in monozygotic twins discordant for schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. Human Molecular Genetics 20(24):4786-4796. doi:10.1093/hmg/ddr416

Edwards A, Treiber CD, Breuss M, Pidsley R, Huang GJ, Cleak J, Oliver PL, Flint J, Keays DA. (2011) Cytoarchitectural disruption of the superior colliculus and an enlarged acoustic startle response in the Tuba1a mutant mouse. Neuroscience 195(4):191-200. doi:10.1016/j.neuroscience.2011.08.035

Pidsley R, Mill J. (2011) Research highlights: Epigenetic changes to serotonin receptor gene expression in schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. Epigenomics 3(5):537-8. doi:10.2217/epi.11.87

Engmann O, Hortobágyi T, Pidsley R, Troakes C, Bernstein HG, Kreutz MR, Mill J, Nikolic M, Giese KP. (2011) Schizophrenia is associated with dysregulation of a Cdk5 activator that regulates synaptic protein expression and cognition. Brain 134(8):2408-2421. doi:10.1093/brain/awr155

Pidsley R, Mill, J. (2011)  Epigenetic Studies of Psychosis: Current Findings, Methodological Approaches, and Implications for Postmortem Research. Biological Psychiatry 69(2):146-56. doi:10.1016/j.biopsych.2010.03.029 

Bell CG, Finer S, Lindgren CM, Wilson GA, Rakyan VK, Teschendorff AE, Akan P, Stupka E, Down TA, Prokopenko I, Morison IM, Mill J, Pidsley R, International Type 2 Diabetes 1q Consortium, Deloukas P, Frayling TM, Hattersley AT, McCarthy MI, Beck S, Hitman GA. (2010) Integrated Genetic and Epigenetic Analysis Identifies Haplotype-Specific Methylation in the FTO Type 2 Diabetes and Obesity Susceptibility Locus. PLoS ONE 5(11):e14040. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0014040

Keays DA, Cleak J, Huang GJ, Edwards A, Braun A, Treiber CD, Pidsley R, Flint J. (2010) The Role of Tuba1a in Adult Hippocampal Neurogenesis and the Formation of the Dentate Gyrus. Developmental Neuroscience 32(4):268-77. doi:10.1159/000319663

Pidsley R, Dempster EL, Mill J. (2010) Brain weight in males is correlated with DNA methylation at IGF2. Molecular Psychiatry 15, 880–881. doi:10.1038/mp.2009.138


Dr Ruth Pidsley

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