Dr Richard Chahwan
Senior Lecturer


Chromatin is a unique bearer of the cell’s genetic and epigenetic identity. To maintain their integrity, cells have developed an evolutionarily conserved array of pathways to maintain chromatin integrity; collectively known as the DNA damage response (DDR). Adequate DDR signaling in the context of chromatinized DNA requires both genetic and epigenetic modifications. Failure to do so compromises genomic stability and could lead to developmental defects and cancer.

Exceptions to this general rule, whereby certain cell types deliberately orchestrate the generation of DNA damage to mediate germline or somatic diversity, offer a highly tractable experimental and clinical approach to understand the mechanisms governing DDR. An example of this process is the initiation of somatic hypermutation and recombinqation by the potent DNA mutator AID, a member of the APOBEC family of cytosine deaminases.

My lab is interested in understanding the fundamental principles that establish the balance between maintaining chromatin integrity and generating immune diversity. We are also interested in studying the genetic and epigenetic contribution of the DDR to normal cell function and the development of various human diseases such as immunodeficiencies, autoimmunity, tumorigenesis, and aging.


2016-present: Senior Lecturer in Cancer Immunology, Living Systems Institute, University of Exeter.

2013-2016: Lecturer in Molecular Immunobiology, Biosciences, University of Exeter.

2008-2013: Research Associate, Rockefeller University & Albert Einstein College of Medicine

2007: PhD Molecular Cell Biology, Gurdon Institute, University of Cambridge



Contact details

Internal tel3104
Tel+44 (0) 1392 723104
AddressGeoffrey Pope Building
University of Exeter
Stocker Road
OfficeLiving Systems Institute, 5.09

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