Paul Dickinson

Paul DickinsonPaul Dickinson

Room 2.56
Ashworth Laboratories III

Phone: +44 (0) 131 6513375



2015 – Present Institute of Infection and Immunology Research, University of Edinburgh, Senior Research Fellow/Project Manager.

Project: Characterisation of extracellular RNA interference pathways in parasites – Towards new diagnostic and therapeutic applications.

2001-2014 Division of Infection and Pathway Medicine, University of Edinburgh, Senior Research Fellow.

Projects: Providing Microarray facilities for the CIR, Development of a novel DNA nanoswitch biosensor, Examination of host-response to infection, High accuracy, low volume host directed detection of neonatal sepsis

1998-2001 Roslin/Geron BioMed Ltd. / Roslin Institute, Edinburgh, Postdoctoral Research Scientist.

Project: Gene targeting in livestock

1990-1998 Postdoctoral research scientist/Sir Halley Stewart Fellow: MRC Human Genetics Unit, Edinburgh

Projects: Modelling cystic fibrosis in the mouse by gene targeting, Transgenic approaches towards improved gene therapy treatments for CF and the development of mouse models possessing clinically relevant mutations.

1986-1989 Sir William Dunn School of Pathology, University of Oxford, Postdoctoral research scientist, Project: Higher order chromatin structure examined under physiological conditions.

1983-1986 Department of Biochemistry, University of Manchester, MRC Postgraduate studentship. PhD Thesis in Biochemistry: Fibronectin gene expression in higher eukaryotic cells.

1980-1983 Department of Biochemistry, University of Leeds, Undergraduate.

BSc (Hons) in Biochemistry (Grade 2.1). Final year project: Isolation of a protein inhibitor of Ribonuclease A from human placenta.

Research Interests

My research interests are in understanding the process of infection and particularly the interplay between host innate/adaptive immune response and that of the infectious organism, both to allow improved diagnostics and to understand possible routes to better treatments.

I started my career with a degree and PhD in Biochemistry, gaining an interest in gene expression and the role of the extracellular matrix in disease. My move to the MRC Human Genetics Unit in Edinburgh allowed me to gain experience in the newly emerging gene targeting technology in the mouse while applying this to the most common recessive genetic disease in the Caucasian population, Cystic Fibrosis, just months after identification of the CFTR gene. The successful generation of this mouse model was the first application of this technology to model a recessive human genetic disease and allowed pre-clinical assessment of gene therapy treatment for cystic fibrosis, paving the way for the recent CF gene therapy clinical trials. I left the MRC HGU to join a start-up company in Edinburgh, Roslin BioMed, to apply the newly developed technology of adult mammalian cloning on a project for xenotransplantation. I then left Roslin Biomed to take up a position at the University of Edinburgh, Centre for Inflammation Research co-ordinating the use of microarray technologies while based in the Division of Pathway Medicine. My previous work in the cystic fibrosis field had exposed me to the importance of innate and adaptive immunity to infection/inflammation and the new position at the CIR allowed me to become involved in a range of projects to apply microarray data analysis bioinformatics skills to address transcriptional changes upon infection. This post subsequently allowed me to engage in links with clinical programmes and develop my research in the area of host response to infection using both clinical and mouse model systems in a range of diseases including neonatal infection, pneumonia, vaccine response and filarial parasitic infection. I recently left the Division of Infection and Pathway Medicine to take up my new post as Project Manager on a project characterizing extracellular RNA interference pathways in filarial parasitic infection for potential diagnostic and therapeutic applications.

Selected Publications

  1. Dickinson, P., Smith, C.L., Forster, T., Craigon, M., Ross, A.J., Khondoker, M., Ivens, A., Lynn, D.J., Orme, J., Jackson, A., Lacaze, P., Flanagan, K.L., Stenson, B.J., and Ghazal, P. ‘Whole blood gene expression profiling of neonates with confirmed bacterial sepsis’ Genomics Data 3 (2015) 41-48 DOI: 10.1016/j.gdata.2014.11.003
  2. Smith, C.L., Dickinson, P., Forster, T., Craigon, M., Ross, A.J., Khondoker, M France, R., Ivens, A., Lynn, D.J., Orme, J., Jackson, A., Lacaze, P., Flanagan, K.L., Stenson, B.J., and Ghazal, P. ‘Identification of a human neonatal immune-metabolic network associated with bacterial infection’ Nature Comms. 5 (2014) 4649 DOI: 10.1038/ncomms5649
  3. Trilling, M., Bellora, N., Rutkowski, A.J., de Graaf, M., Dickinson, P., Robertson, K., Prazeres da Costa, O., Ghazal, P., Friedel, C.C., Alba, M.M., and Dolken, L. ‘Deciphering the modulation of gene expression by type I and II interferons combining 4sU-tagging, translational arrest and in silico promoter analysis’ Nucleic Acids Research 41 (17) (2013) 8107-8125 DOI: 10.1093/nar/gkt589
  4. Hambleton, S., Goodbourn, S., Young, D.F., Dickinson, P., Mohamad, S.M.B., Valappil, M., McGovern, N., Cant, A.J., Hackett, S.J., Ghazal, P., Morgan, N.V., and Randall, R.E. ‘STAT2 deficiency and susceptibility to viral illness in humans’ Proc. Natl. Acad.Sci. USA 110 (2013) 3053-3058
  5. Fliss, P.M., Pechenick Jowers, T., Brinkmann, M.M., Holstermann, B., Mack, C., Dickinson, P., Hohenberg, H., Ghazal, P., and Brune, W. ‘Viral Mediated Redirection of NEMO/IKKg to Autophagosomes Curtails the Inflammatory Cascade’ PLOS Pathogens 8 (2012) e1002517 (Doi: 10.1371/journal.ppat.1002517)
  6. Kropp, K., Robertson, K.A., Sing, G., Rodriguez-Martin, S., Blanc, M., Lacaze, P., Noor Hassim, M.F.B., Khondoker, M.R., Busche, A., Dickinson, P., Forster, T., Strobl, B., Mueller, M., Jonjic, S., Angulo, A., and Ghazal, P. ‘Reversible Inhibition of Murine Cytomegalovirus Replication by Gamma Interferon (IFN-g) in Primary Macrophages Involves a Primed Type I IFN-Signalling Subnetwork for Full Establishment of an Immediate-Early Antiviral State’ J. Virol. 85 (2011) 10286-10299
  7. Blanc, M., Hsieh, W.Y., Robertson, K.A., Watterson, S., Shui, G., Lacaze, P., Khondoker, M., Dickinson, P., Sing, G., Rodríguez-Martín, S., Phelan, P., Forster, T., Strobl, B., Müller, M., Riemersma, R., Osborne, T., Wenk, M.R., Angulo, A., and Ghazal, P. ‘Host Defense against Viral Infection Involves Interferon Mediated Down-Regulation of Sterol Biosynthesis’ PLOS Biol. 9 (2011) e1000598 (Doi:10.1371/journal.pbio.1000598)
  8. Santhakumar, D., Forster, T., Laqtom, N..N, Fragkoudis, R., Dickinson, P., Abreu-Goodger, C., Manakov, S.A., Choudhury, N.R., Griffiths, S.J., Vermeulen, A., Enright, A.J., Dutia, B., Kohl, A., Ghazal, P. and Buck, A.H. ‘Combined agonist-antagonist genome-wide functional screening identifies broadly active antiviral microRNAs’ Proc. Natl. Acad.Sci. USA 107 (2010) 13830-13835
  9. Dölken, L., Ruzsics, Z., Rädle, B., Friedel, C., Zimmer, R., Mages, J., Hoffmann, R., Dickinson, P., Forster, T., Ghazal, P., and Koszinowski, U. ‘High-resolution gene expression profiling for simultaneous kinetic parameter analysis of RNA synthesis and decay.’ RNA 14 (2008) 1-13
  10. Smith, C.L., Dickinson, P., Forster, T., Khondoker, M., Craigon, M., Ross, A., Storm, P., Burgess, S., Lacaze, P., Stenson, B.J., and Ghazal, P. ‘Quantitative assessment of human whole blood RNA as a potential biomarker for infectious disease.’ Analyst 132 (2007) 1200-1209
  11. Buck, A.H., Campbell, C.J., Dickinson, P., Mountford, C.P., Stoquert, H., Terry, J.G, Evans, S.A.G., Keane, L.M., Su, T-J., Mount, A.R., Walton, A.J., Beattie, J.S., Crain, J. and Ghazal, P. DNA Nanoswitch as a Biosensor, Anal. Chem. 79 (2007) 4724-4728
  12. Dickinson, P., Smith, S.N., Webb, S., Kilanowski, F. M., Campbell, I.J., Taylor, M. S., Porteous, D.J., Willemsen, R., de Jonge, H. R., Farley, R., Alton, E. W. F. W., and Dorin, J. R. ‘The severe G480C cystic fibrosis mutation when replicated in the mouse demonstrates mistrafficking, normal survival and organ specific bioelectrics’ Human Molecular Genetics 11 (2002) 243-251
  13. Dickinson, P., Kimber, W. L., Kilanowski, F. M., Webb, S., Stevenson, B. J., Porteous, D. J., and Dorin, J. R. ‘Enhancing the efficiency of introducing precise mutations into the mouse genome by hit and run gene targeting’ Transgenic Res. 9 (2000) 55-66
  14. Dickinson, P., Dorin, J. R., and Porteous, D. J. ‘Modelling cystic fibrosis in the mouse’ Molecular Medicine Today 1 (1995) 140-148
  15. Alton, E.W.F.W., Middleton, P.G., Caplen, N.J., Smith, S.N., Steel, D.M., Munkonge, F.M., Jeffery, P.K., Geddes, D.M., Hart, S.L., Williamson, R., Fasold, K. I., Miller, A. D., Whitsett, J. A., Dickinson, P., Stevenson, B. J., McLachlan, G., Dorin, J. R. and Porteous, D. J. ‘Non-invasive liposome-mediated gene delivery is able to correct the ion transport defect in cystic fibrosis mutant mice’ Nature Genetics 5 (1993) 135-142
  16. Dickinson, P., Kimber, W. L., Kilanowski, F. M., Stevenson, B. J., Porteous, D. J. and Dorin, J. R. ‘High frequency gene targeting using insertional vectors’ Human Molecular Genetics 2 (1993) 1299-1302
  17. Dorin, J. R., Dickinson, P., Alton, E. W. F. W., Smith, S. N., Geddes, D. M., Stevenson, B. J., Kimber, W. L., Fleming, S., Clarke, A. R., Hooper, M. L., Anderson, L., Beddington, R. S. P. and Porteous, D. J. ‘Cystic fibrosis in the mouse by targeted insertional mutagenesis’ Nature 359 (1992) 211-215
  18. Dickinson, P., Cook, P. R. and Jackson, D. A. ‘Active RNA polymerase I is fixed within the nucleus of HeLa cells’ EMBO Journal 9 (1990) 2207-2214

Teaching Experience

Demonstrated to Undergraduate Microbiology, Biochemistry and Medical Students at the University of Manchester (1984-1985)

Tutored to Undergraduate Biochemistry and Medical Students at the University of Oxford (1987-1989)

Supervised PhD student and Honours Molecular Biology student seminars, Undergraduate Intercalated Honours Medical student final year project and 4 year PhD rotation project at the MRC Human Genetics Unit (1994-1998).

Taught in the Doctorate Program “Genomics and Pathway Biology” of the Division of Pathway Medicine and sat on the examination board of the course (2005-2013), lectured to Final year Honours Biomedical Sciences students, joint supervisor of 5 PhD Thesis, supervisor of 1 MSc Thesis and supervisor of 1 Final year Honours student project at the University of Edinburgh (2001-2014).