Chris Higgins (academic)

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Christopher Francis Higgins
Born (1955-06-24) 24 June 1955 (age 59) [1]
Residence Durham, England
Nationality British
Fields Genetics
Institutions Durham University
University of Oxford
Imperial College London
University of Dundee
Alma mater Royal College of Music
Durham University
Thesis Peptide transport by embryos of germinating barley, Hordeum vulgare (1979)
Doctoral advisor John W. Payne[2][3][4]
Notable awards FRSE
EMBO member

Christopher Francis Higgins FRSE FRSA FMedSci (born 24 June 1955)[1] was the Vice-Chancellor of Durham University.[5] He took early retirement on the 30 September 2014, following a discussion at Senate on limiting the powers of the Vice Chancellor.[6] He was previously the director of the MRC Clinical Sciences Centre and Head of Division in the Faculty of Medicine at Imperial College London.


Higgins studied botany at Grey College, Durham University, graduating with a first class degree in 1976.[7] He was awarded a PhD in 1979 for his study of peptide transporters in the embryos of germinating Barley.[3][4][5] Working at University of Dundee, his focus turned to genetics and cell biology.


Higgins was appointed Nuffield Professor of Clinical Biochemistry at the University of Oxford. He has published over 200 papers in leading scientific journals like Nature[8][9][10][11][12][13][14][15][16][17][18][19][20] Science[21][22] and Cell.[23][24][25][26][27][28][29][30][31] Higgins has been recognised by the Institute for Scientific Information (ISI) as a 'Most Highly Cited' author. Further awards have been the CIBA Medal, Fleming Prize, and a Howard Hughes International Scholarship [32] along with election to Fellow of the European Molecular Biology Organization, the Royal Society of Edinburgh, the Royal Society of Arts and the Academy of Medical Sciences.

Alongside his academic success, Professor Higgins has also served as a scientific advisor for the House of Lords Select Committee on Stem Cell Research and advisor to the House of Commons Select Committee on Science and Technology. At present Higgins is the chair of the Spongiform Encephalopathy Advisory Committee, International Review Panel, DKFZ (German National Cancer Centre, Heidelberg) and a trustee of the Kennedy Institute for Rheumatology.


  1. ^ a b "‘HIGGINS, Prof. Christopher Francis’" (Who's Who 2013, A & C Black, an imprint of Bloomsbury Publishing plc, 2013; online edn, Oxford University Press). (subscription required)
  2. ^ Higgins, C. F.; Payne, J. W. (1981). "The Peptide pools of germinating barley grains: Relation to hydrolysis and transport of storage proteins". Plant physiology 67 (4): 785–792. doi:10.1104/pp.67.4.785. PMC 425773. PMID 16661755.  edit
  3. ^ a b Higgins, C. F.; Payne, J. W. (1978). "Peptide transport by germinating barley embryos: Evidence for a single common carrier for di- and oligopeptides". Planta 138 (3): 217. doi:10.1007/BF00386814.  edit
  4. ^ a b Higgins, Chris (2012). Peptide transport by embryos of germinating barley, Hordeum vulgare (PhD thesis). Durham University. 
  5. ^ a b Durham welcomes new Vice Chancellor Durham University; 14-04-2007; accessed 23-04-2007
  6. ^ Tallentire, Mark (5 March 2014). "Durham University vice-chancellor to retire in September". The Northern Echo. Retrieved 5 March 2014. 
  7. ^ "Vice-Chancellor". Durham University. Retrieved 12 April 2014. 
  8. ^ Higgins, C. F. (2007). "Multiple molecular mechanisms for multidrug resistance transporters". Nature 446 (7137): 749–757. doi:10.1038/nature05630. PMID 17429392.  edit
  9. ^ Van Veen, H. W.; Callaghan, R.; Soceneantu, L.; Sardini, A.; Konings, W. N.; Higgins, C. F. (1998). "A bacterial antibiotic-resistance gene that complements the human multidrug-resistance P-glycoprotein gene". Nature 391 (6664): 291–295. doi:10.1038/34669. PMID 9440694.  edit
  10. ^ Moxon, E. R.; Higgins, C. F. (1997). "E. Coli genome sequence. A blueprint for life". Nature 389 (6647): 120–121. doi:10.1038/38107. PMID 9296482.  edit
  11. ^ Py, B. A.; Higgins, C. F.; Krisch, H. M.; Carpousis, A. J. (1996). "A DEAD-box RNA helicase in the Escherichia coli RNA degradosome". Nature 381 (6578): 169–172. doi:10.1038/381169a0. PMID 8610017.  edit
  12. ^ Hyde, S. C.; Gill, D. R.; Higgins, C. F.; Trezise, A. E. O.; MacVinish, L. J.; Cuthbert, A. W.; Ratcliff, R.; Evans, M. J.; Colledge, W. H. (1993). "Correction of the ion transport defect in cystic fibrosis transgenic mice by gene therapy". Nature 362 (6417): 250–255. doi:10.1038/362250a0. PMID 7681548.  edit
  13. ^ Valverde, M. A.; Díaz, M.; Sepúlveda, F. V.; Gill, D. R.; Hyde, S. C.; Higgins, C. F. (1992). "Volume-regulated chloride channels associated with the human multidrug-resistance P-glycoprotein". Nature 355 (6363): 830–833. doi:10.1038/355830a0. PMID 1371598.  edit
  14. ^ Higgins, C. F.; Hyde, S. C. (1991). "Channelling our thoughts". Nature 352 (6332): 194–195. doi:10.1038/352194a0. PMID 1713302.  edit
  15. ^ Hyde, S. C.; Emsley, P.; Hartshorn, M. J.; Mimmack, M. M.; Gileadi, U.; Pearce, S. R.; Gallagher, M. P.; Gill, D. R.; Hubbard, R. E.; Higgins, C. F. (1990). "Structural model of ATP-binding proteing associated with cystic fibrosis, multidrug resistance and bacterial transport". Nature 346 (6282): 362–365. doi:10.1038/346362a0. PMID 1973824.  edit
  16. ^ Dorman, C. J.; Bhriain, N. N.; Higgins, C. F. (1990). "DNA supercoiling and environmental regulation of virulence gene expression in Shigella flexneri". Nature 344 (6268): 789–792. doi:10.1038/344789a0. PMID 2184366.  edit
  17. ^ Higgins, C. F.; Hiles, I. D.; Salmond, G. P. C.; Gill, D. R.; Downie, J. A.; Evans, I. J.; Holland, I. B.; Gray, L.; Buckel, S. D.; Bell, A. W.; Hermodson, M. A. (1986). "A family of related ATP-binding subunits coupled to many distinct biological processes in bacteria". Nature 323 (6087): 448–450. doi:10.1038/323448a0. PMID 3762694.  edit
  18. ^ Manson, M. D.; Blank, V.; Brade, G.; Higgins, C. F. (1986). "Peptide chemotaxis in E. Coli involves the Tap signal transducer and the dipeptide permease". Nature 321 (6067): 253–256. doi:10.1038/321253a0. PMID 3520334.  edit
  19. ^ Higgins, C. F.; Ames, G. F.; Barnes, W. M.; Clement, J. M.; Hofnung, M. (1982). "A novel intercistronic regulatory element of prokaryotic operons". Nature 298 (5876): 760–762. doi:10.1038/298760a0. PMID 7110312.  edit
  20. ^ Higgins, C. F.; Haag, P. D.; Nikaido, K.; Ardeshir, F.; Garcia, G.; Ames, G. F. (1982). "Complete nucleotide sequence and identification of membrane components of the histidine transport operon of S. Typhimurium". Nature 298 (5876): 723–727. doi:10.1038/298723a0. PMID 7050725.  edit
  21. ^ Higgins, C. F.; Linton, K. J. (2001). "STRUCTURAL BIOLOGY: The xyz of ABC Transporters". Science 293 (5536): 1782–1784. doi:10.1126/science.1065588. PMID 11546861.  edit
  22. ^ Tame, J. R.; Murshudov, G. N.; Dodson, E. J.; Neil, T. K.; Dodson, G. G.; Higgins, C. F.; Wilkinson, A. J. (1994). "The structural basis of sequence-independent peptide binding by OppA protein". Science 264 (5165): 1578–1581. doi:10.1126/science.8202710. PMID 8202710.  edit
  23. ^ Higgins, C. F. (1995). "The ABC of channel regulation". Cell 82 (5): 693–696. doi:10.1016/0092-8674(95)90465-4. PMID 7671298.  edit
  24. ^ Higgins, C. F. (1994). "Flip-flop: The transmembrane translocation of lipids". Cell 79 (3): 393–395. doi:10.1016/0092-8674(94)90248-8. PMID 7954806.  edit
  25. ^ Owen-Hughes, T. A.; Pavitt, G. D.; Santos, D. S.; Sidebotham, J. M.; Hulton, C. S.; Hinton, J. C.; Higgins, C. F. (1992). "The chromatin-associated protein H-NS interacts with curved DNA to influence DNA topology and gene expression". Cell 71 (2): 255–265. doi:10.1016/0092-8674(92)90354-F. PMID 1423593.  edit
  26. ^ Gill, D. R.; Hyde, S. C.; Higgins, C. F.; Valverde, M. A.; Mintenig, G. M.; Sepúlveda, F. V. (1992). "Separation of drug transport and chloride channel functions of the human multidrug resistance P-glycoprotein". Cell 71 (1): 23–32. doi:10.1016/0092-8674(92)90263-C. PMID 1382860.  edit
  27. ^ Hulton, C. S.; Seirafi, A.; Hinton, J. C.; Sidebotham, J. M.; Waddell, L.; Pavitt, G. D.; Owen-Hughes, T.; Spassky, A.; Buc, H.; Higgins, C. F. (1990). "Histone-like protein H1 (H-NS), DNA supercoiling, and gene expression in bacteria". Cell 63 (3): 631–642. doi:10.1016/0092-8674(90)90458-Q. PMID 2171779.  edit
  28. ^ Higgins, C. F.; Dorman, C. J.; Stirling, D. A.; Waddell, L.; Booth, I. R.; May, G.; Bremer, E. (1988). "A physiological role for DNA supercoiling in the osmotic regulation of gene expression in S. Typhimurium and E. Coli". Cell 52 (4): 569–584. doi:10.1016/0092-8674(88)90470-9. PMID 2830029.  edit
  29. ^ Newbury, S. F.; Smith, N. H.; Higgins, C. F. (1987). "Differential mRNA stability controls relative gene expression within a polycistronic operon". Cell 51 (6): 1131–1143. doi:10.1016/0092-8674(87)90599-X. PMID 2446776.  edit
  30. ^ Newbury, S. F.; Smith, N. H.; Robinson, E. C.; Hiles, I. D.; Higgins, C. F. (1987). "Stabilization of translationally active mRNA by prokaryotic REP sequences". Cell 48 (2): 297–310. doi:10.1016/0092-8674(87)90433-8. PMID 2433046.  edit
  31. ^ Stern, M. J.; Ames, G. F.; Smith, N. H.; Robinson, E. C.; Higgins, C. F. (1984). "Repetitive extragenic palindromic sequences: A major component of the bacterial genome". Cell 37 (3): 1015–1026. doi:10.1016/0092-8674(84)90436-7. PMID 6378385.  edit
  32. ^ Human Genetics Commission Website
Academic offices
Preceded by
Sir Kenneth Calman
Warden and Vice-Chancellor of Durham University
2007–September 2014
Succeeded by