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Douglas Roland Higgs (born 13 January 1951)[1] FRS is a Professor of Molecular Haematology and director of the Weatherall Institute of Molecular Medicine, at the University of Oxford.[2] He is known for his work on the regulation of alpha-globin and the genetics of alpha-thalassemia.[3] He is currently working in understanding the mechanisms by which any mammalian gene is switched on and off during differentiation and development.

Douglas Higgs
Born13 January 1951 Edit this on Wikidata (age 68)
Alma mater
AwardsFellow of the Royal Society, Buchanan Medal, Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences, Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians, Fellow of the Royal College of Pathologists Edit this on Wikidata



He was educated at Alleyn's School and qualified in medicine at King's College Hospital Medical School in 1974, and trained as a haematologist.[1] He became a registrar in Haematology at Kings College Hospital in 1976.

Research and careerEdit

He joined the Molecular Haematology Unit of the Medical Research Council at Oxford in 1977. In 1996 he was appointed Ad Hominem Professor of Molecular Haematology, in 2001 he became a director of the MRC Molecular Haematology Unit.[1][4] In 2012 Higgs was appointed director of the Wetherall Institute of Molecular Medicine.[4][5] Higgs is a Senior Kurti Fellow at Brasenose College, Oxford.[6]

Honours and awardsEdit

Notable WorksEdit

Gibbons, Richard J; Picketts, David J; Villard, Laurent; Higgs, Douglas R (1995). "Mutations in a putative global transcriptional regulator cause X-linked mental retardation with α-thalassemia (ATR-X syndrome)". Cell. 80 (6): 837–845. doi:10.1016/0092-8674(95)90287-2. PMID 7697714.

Tufarelli, Cristina; Stanley, Jackie A Sloane; Garrick, David; Sharpe, Jackie A; Ayyub, Helena; Wood, William G; Higgs, Douglas R (2003). "Transcription of antisense RNA leading to gene silencing and methylation as a novel cause of human genetic disease". Nature Genetics. 34 (2): 157–165. doi:10.1038/ng1157. ISSN 1546-1718.

Higgs, D. R.; Goodbourn, S. E. Y.; Lamb, J.; Clegg, J. B.; Weatherall, D. J.; Proudfoot, N. J. (1983). "α-Thalassaemia caused by a polyadenylation signal mutation". Nature. 306 (5941): 398–400. doi:10.1038/306398a0. ISSN 1476-4687. PMID 6646217.

Wilkie, Andrew O. M.; Lamb, Janette; Harris, Peter C.; Finney, Roger D.; Higgs, Douglas R. (1990). "A truncated human chromosome 16 associated with α thalassaemia is stabilized by addition of telomeric repeat (TTAGGG)n". Nature. 346 (6287): 868–871. doi:10.1038/346868a0. ISSN 1476-4687. PMID 1975428.

Nicholls, R.D.; Fischel-Ghodsian, N.; Higgs, D.R. (1987). "Recombination at the human α-globin gene cluster: Sequence features and topological constraints". Cell. 49 (3): 369–378. doi:10.1016/0092-8674(87)90289-3.

Gobbi, Marco De; Viprakasit, Vip; Hughes, Jim R.; Fisher, Chris; Buckle, Veronica J.; Ayyub, Helena; Gibbons, Richard J.; Vernimmen, Douglas; Yoshinaga, Yuko (2006-05-26). "A Regulatory SNP Causes a Human Genetic Disease by Creating a New Transcriptional Promoter". Science. 312 (5777): 1215–1217. doi:10.1126/science.1126431. ISSN 0036-8075. PMID 16728641.

Law, Martin J.; Lower, Karen M.; Voon, Hsiao P.J.; Hughes, Jim R.; Garrick, David; Viprakasit, Vip; Mitson, Matthew; Gobbi, Marco De; Marra, Marco (2010). "ATR-X Syndrome Protein Targets Tandem Repeats and Influences Allele-Specific Expression in a Size-Dependent Manner". Cell. 143 (3): 367–378. doi:10.1016/j.cell.2010.09.023. PMID 21029860.

Hughes, Jim R; Roberts, Nigel; McGowan, Simon; Hay, Deborah; Giannoulatou, Eleni; Lynch, Magnus; Gobbi, Marco De; Taylor, Stephen; Gibbons, Richard (2014). "Analysis of hundreds of cis-regulatory landscapes at high resolution in a single, high-throughput experiment". Nature Genetics. 46 (2): 205–212. doi:10.1038/ng.2871. ISSN 1546-1718. PMID 24413732.

Higgs, Douglas R.; Gibbons, Richard J.; McDowell, Tarra L.; Raman, Sundhya; O'Rourke, Delia M.; Garrick, David; Ayyub, Helena (2000). "Mutations in ATRX, encoding a SWI/SNF-like protein, cause diverse changes in the pattern of DNA methylation". Nature Genetics. 24 (4): 368–371. doi:10.1038/74191. ISSN 1546-1718. PMID 10742099.

Hay, Deborah; Hughes, Jim R; Babbs, Christian; Davies, James O J; Graham, Bryony J; Hanssen, Lars L P; Kassouf, Mira T; Oudelaar, A Marieke; Sharpe, Jacqueline A (2016). "Genetic dissection of the α-globin super-enhancer in vivo". Nature Genetics. 48 (8): 895–903. doi:10.1038/ng.3605. ISSN 1546-1718. PMC 5058437. PMID 27376235.


  1. ^ a b c d e "Higgs, Prof. Douglas Roland, (born 13 Jan. 1951), Professor of Haematology, since 1996, Director, MRC Molecular Haematology Unit, since 2001, and Director, Weatherall Institute of Molecular Medicine, since 2012, University of Oxford". Higgs, Prof. Douglas Roland. UK WHOS WHO. 2007. doi:10.1093/ww/9780199540884.013.244900.
  2. ^
  3. ^ a b "Douglas Higgs". Retrieved 2018-03-16.
  4. ^ a b MRC, Medical Research Council (2017-05-18). "Top haematologist announced as new Director of MRC Weatherall Institute of Molecular Medicine". Retrieved 2018-03-16.
  5. ^ "New Weatherall Institute of Molecular Medicine director announced - Weatherall Institute of Molecular Medicine". Retrieved 2018-03-16.
  6. ^ "The Brazen Nose" (PDF). 2009–2010.CS1 maint: date format (link)
  7. ^ "Professor Douglas Higgs | The Academy of Medical Sciences". Retrieved 2018-03-16.
  8. ^ "Buchanan Medal Awarded - Weatherall Institute of Molecular Medicine". Retrieved 2018-03-16.
  9. ^ "The Buchanan Medal (1897)". The Royal Society. Retrieved 2013-09-12.