After gaining a degree in genetics from the University of Manchester, Dr Blackburn undertook PhD. certification in human molecular genetics within the Molecular Vision and Therapeutics Group at Imperial College London, researching the genetic basis of human blindness.
Following this, he accepted a postdoctoral fellow position in the Sharpe Laboratory within the Department of Craniofacial Development at King's College London. Dr Blackburn's research involved analysing the developmental pathways that influence and guide tooth formation. During this time, he gained an interest in combining his developmental research with that of palaeontology and field biology disciplines (EvoDevo).
Based on his combined interests in genetics, EvoDevo and disease, Dr Blackburn was recruited to the Garvan Institute Cancer Division in 2010, joining the Genomics and Epigenetics Division as a founding member of the Genome Evolution group. In 2014, he moved within the Division to manage the establishment of the Transcriptomic Research group. Dr Blackburn's current research focus is three-fold:
1) The development of a universal test for gene fusion in blood cancers.
2) The development of a universal test for gene fusion in solid tumours.
3) The enhancement of ChIP-seq technology and its application towards understanding human disease.
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Awards and Honours
2000 – BSc (Hons) Genetics, University of Manchester - UK
Hardwick, S.A., Chen, W.Y., Wong, T., Deveson, I.W., Blackburn, J., Andersen, S.B., Nielsen, L.K., Mattick, J.S., Mercer, T.R. 2016. Spliced synthetic genes as internal controls in RNA sequencing experiments. Nat. Methods 13:792-798
Kawasaki, M., Kawasaki, K., Oommen, S., Blackburn, J., et al. 2016. Regional regulation of filiform tongue papillae development by Ikka/Irf6. Dev. Dyn. 245:937-46
Watanabe, M., Kawasaki, K., Kawasaki, M., Portaveetus, T., Oommen, S., Blackburn, J., et al. 2016. Spatio-temporal expression of Sox genes in murine palatogenesis. Gene Expr. Patterns 21:111-118
Blackburn, J., Roden, D.L., Ng, R., Wu, J., Bosman, A., Epstein, R.J. 2016. Damage-inducible intragenic demethylation of the human TP53 tumor suppressor gene is associated with transcription from an alternative intronic promoter. Mol. Carcinog. 55:1940-1951
Blackburn, J., Kawasaki, K., Porntaveetus, T., Kawasaki, M., Otsuka-Tanaka, Y., et al. 2015. Excess NF-kB induces ectopic odontogenesis in embryonic incisor epithelium. J. Dent. Res. 94:121-128
Kawasaki, K., Porntaveetus, T., Oommen, S., Ghafoor, S., Kawasaki, M., Otsuka-Tanaka, Y., Blackburn, J., et al. 2012. Bmp signalling in filiform tongue papillae development. Arch. Oral Biol. 57:805-813
Blackburn, J., Ohazama, A., Kawasaki, K., Otsuka-Tanaka, Y., Liu, B., et al. 2012. The role of Irf6 in tooth epithelial invagination. Dev. Biol. 365:61-70
Ohazama, A., Blackburn, J., Porntaveetus, T., Ota, M.S., Choi, H., et al. 2010. A role for suppressed incisor cuspal morphogenesis in the evolution of mammalian heterodont dentition. PNAS 107:92-97
Ohazama, A., Haycraft, C.J., Seppala, M., Blackburn, J., Ghafoor, S., et al. 2009. Primary cilia regulate Shh activity in the control of molar tooth number. Development. 136:897–903
Matalová, E., Setková, J., Blackburn, J., Mísek, I., Sharpe, P.T. 2006. CD 95 mediated apoptosis in embryogenesis: implication in tooth development. Orthod. Craniofacial Res. 9:123–128
Courtney, J-M., Blackburn, J., Sharpe, P.T. 2005. The Ectodysplasin and NFkB signalling pathways in odontogenesis. Arch. Oral Biol. 50:159–163
Blackburn, J., Tarttelin, E.E., Gregory-Evans, C.Y., Moosajee, M., Gregory-Evans, K. 2003. Transcriptional Regulation and Expression of the Dominant Drusen Gene FBLN3 (EFEMP1) in Mammalian Retina. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 44:4613-4621
Tarttelin, E.E., Gregory-Evans, C.Y., Bird, A.C., Weleber, R.G., Klein, M.L., Blackburn, J., Gregory-Evans, K. 2001. Molecular genetic heterogeneity in autosomal dominant drusen. J. Med. Genet. 38:381–384