Caroline Dean

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Dame Caroline Dean
Caroline Dean journal pgen 1003593 g001.png
Born (1957-04-02) 2 April 1957 (age 62)[1]
Alma materUniversity of York (BSc, DPhil)[2]
Known for
Childrenone son, one daughter[1][5]
Scientific career
ThesisInvestigations of genome expression in young wheat leaves (1983)

Dame Caroline Dean, OBE, FRS[6] (born 2 April 1957) is a British plant scientist working at the John Innes Centre. She is focused on understanding the molecular controls used by plants to seasonally judge when to flower. She is specifically interested in vernalisation — the acceleration of flowering in plants by exposure to periods of prolonged cold.[9][10][11][12][13][14][15][16]..


Dean was educated at the University of York, where she was awarded a Bachelor of Arts degree in Biology in 1978 and a Ph.D. in Biology[2] in 1982.[4][17]


Dean's research has been funded by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council[18] European Research Council, EU-Marie Curie and EMBO and focuses on research on gene regulation and the intersection of chromatin, transcription and non-coding RNAs. Her goal is to understand the chromatin dynamics that enable switching between epigenetic states and quantitative regulation of gene expression. This mechanistic analysis is focused on one gene encoding the floral repressor FLC. Epigenetic switching and quantitative regulation of FLC play a central role in seasonal timing in plants. This acceleration of flowering by prolonged cold is a classic epigenetic process called vernalisation.

FLC regulation involves an antisense-mediated chromatin mechanism that coordinately influences transcription initiation and elongation. As plants overwinter FLC expression is then epigenetically silenced through a cold-induced, cis-based, Polycomb switching mechanism. The group are mechanistically dissecting these conserved chromatin mechanisms and investigating how they have been modulated during adaptation.

She uses Arabidopsis as a reference to establish the regulatory hierarchy and then use this information to translate into other species. She was a pioneer in Arabidopsis becoming a key model organism in plant science. [19]


1993 - 2002  Honorary Research Fellow, School of Biological Sciences, University of East Anglia

Since 1999  -Member of the European Molecular Biology Organization (EMBO)

2004 - Dean was appointed office of the Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire (DBE) and a Fellow of the Royal Society.

2007 - she was awarded the Genetics Society Medal

2008 - the United States National Academy of Sciences elected her a foreign fellow. Her nomination for the Royal Society reads:

Since 2008 she has been a member of the German National Academy of Sciences Leopoldina.

2015 - FEBS EMBO Women in Science Award.

She was appointed Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire (DBE) in the 2016 Birthday Honours for services to plant science research and women in science.[20]

Dean was awarded with the Darwin Medal 2016 by the Royal Society, citing:

In 2018 she was awarded the L'Oréal-UNESCO For Women in Science Award.

Personal life[edit]

Dean is married to Jonathan D. G. Jones and has one son and one daughter.[1][5]


  1. ^ a b c d DEAN, Caroline. Who's Who. 2015 (online Oxford University Press ed.). A & C Black, an imprint of Bloomsbury Publishing plc. (subscription or UK public library membership required) (subscription required)
  2. ^ a b Dean, Caroline (1983). Investigations of genome expression in young wheat leaves (PhD thesis). University of York.
  3. ^ Meinke, D. W.; Cherry, J. M.; Dean, C.; Rounsley, S. D.; Koornneef, M. (1998). "Arabidopsis thaliana: A Model Plant for Genome Analysis". Science. 282 (5389): 662, 679–82. Bibcode:1998Sci...282..662M. CiteSeerX doi:10.1126/science.282.5389.662. PMID 9784120.
  4. ^ a b Bastow, R.; Mylne, J. S.; Lister, C.; Lippman, Z.; Martienssen, R. A.; Dean, C. (2004). "Vernalization requires epigenetic silencing of FLC by histone methylation". Nature. 427 (6970): 164–167. Bibcode:2004Natur.427..164B. doi:10.1038/nature02269. PMID 14712277.
  5. ^ a b Dean, Caroline; Osborn, Mary; Oshlack, Alicia; Thornton, Janet (2012). "Women in science". Genome Biology. 13 (3): 148. doi:10.1186/gb4005. PMC 3439960. PMID 22405408.
  6. ^ a b c "EC/2004/15: Dean, Caroline". London: The Royal Society. Archived from the original on 2 February 2015.
  7. ^ "John Innes Centre scientist receives top international honour". John Innes Centre. 2008. Archived from the original on 15 August 2011.
  8. ^ a b "Award winners : Darwin Medal". The Royal Society. Retrieved 21 July 2016.
  9. ^ Gitschier, J. (2013). "How Cool is That: An Interview with Caroline Dean". PLoS Genetics. 9 (6): e1003593. doi:10.1371/journal.pgen.1003593. PMC 3694836. PMID 23825965.
  10. ^ Vaeck, M.; Reynaerts, A.; Höfte, H.; Jansens, S.; De Beuckeleer, M.; Dean, C.; Zabeau, M.; Montagu, M. V.; Leemans, J. (1987). "Transgenic plants protected from insect attack". Nature. 328 (6125): 33–37. Bibcode:1987Natur.328...33V. doi:10.1038/328033a0.
  11. ^ Simpson, G. G.; Dean, C. (2002). "Arabidopsis, the Rosetta Stone of Flowering Time?". Science. 296 (5566): 285–289. Bibcode:2002Sci...296..285S. doi:10.1126/science.296.5566.285. PMID 11951029.
  12. ^ Caroline Dean's publications indexed by the Scopus bibliographic database. (subscription required)
  13. ^ Sundaresan, V.; Springer, P.; Volpe, T.; Haward, S.; Jones, J. D.; Dean, C.; Ma, H.; Martienssen, R. (1995). "Patterns of gene action in plant development revealed by enhancer trap and gene trap transposable elements". Genes & Development. 9 (14): 1797–1810. doi:10.1101/gad.9.14.1797. PMID 7622040.
  14. ^ Johanson, U.; West, J.; Lister, C.; Michaels, S.; Amasino, R.; Dean, C. (2000). "Molecular Analysis of FRIGIDA, a Major Determinant of Natural Variation in Arabidopsis Flowering Time". Science. 290 (5490): 344–347. Bibcode:2000Sci...290..344J. doi:10.1126/science.290.5490.344. PMID 11030654.
  15. ^ Lister, C.; Dean, C. (1993). "Recombinant inbred lines for mapping RFLP and phenotypic markers in Arabidopsis thaliana". The Plant Journal. 4 (4): 745–750. doi:10.1046/j.1365-313X.1993.04040745.x.
  16. ^ List of publications from Microsoft Academic
  17. ^ "Caroline Dean, Cell & Developmental Biology". 23 November 2018. Archived from the original on 14 July 2013.
  18. ^ "UK Government Grants awarded to Caroline Dean"., via Research Councils UK
  19. ^ "Caroline Interview - The Company of Biologists" (PDF).
  20. ^ "No. 61608". The London Gazette (Supplement). 11 June 2016. p. B8.