David Baulcombe

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Sir David Baulcombe
David Charles Baulcombe.jpg
Born David Charles Baulcombe
(1952-04-07) April 7, 1952 (age 63)[1]
Solihull, West Midlands
Residence Norwich, Norfolk
Nationality British
Alma mater
Thesis The Processing and Intracellular Transport of Messenger RNA in a Higher Plant (1976)
Known for
Notable awards
Spouse Rose Eden (m. 1976)[1]
Children 1 son, 3 daughters[1]

Sir David Charles Baulcombe, FRS[3] FMedSci (born 1952)[1] is a British plant scientist and geneticist. He is currently Royal Society Research Professor and Regius Professor of Botany at the University of Cambridge.[4][5][6][7]


David Baulcombe was born in Solihull, West Midlands (then Warwickshire). He received his Bachelor of Science degree in botany from the University of Leeds in 1973 at the age of 21. He proceeded to the University of Edinburgh, where he received his Doctor of Philosophy in botany in 1977.[8]


After his PhD, Baulcombe then spent the following three years as a post-doctoral fellow in North America, first at McGill University (Montreal, Canada) from January 1977 to November 1978, and then at the University of Georgia (Athens, Georgia, USA) until December 1980. Baulcombe returned to the United Kingdom then, where he joined the Plant Breeding Institute (PBI) in Cambridge and started his career as an independent scientist. At the PBI, Baulcombe initially held the position of Higher Scientific Officer, and was promoted to Principal Scientific Officer in April 1986.[9] In August 1988 Baulcombe left Cambridge for Norwich. He joined the Sainsbury Laboratory as a Senior Research Scientist,[10] and also served as Head of Laboratory between 1990 and 1993 and 1999–2003. In 1998 he was appointed Honorary Professor at the University of East Anglia, and given a full professorship there in 2002.[9] In March 2007 it was announced that Baulcombe would become the next Professor of Botany at Cambridge University as a Royal Society Research Professor, taking up his post in September 2007.[11] He serves on several committees and study sections,[12] was elected Member of the European Molecular Biology Organisation in 1997 and was president of the International Society of Plant Molecular Biology 2003–2004. As of 2007, he is also a senior advisor for The EMBO Journal.[13]

In June 2009, Baulcombe was awarded a knighthood by Queen Elizabeth II.[14] Baulcombe resides in Norwich. He is married and has four children. His interests include music, sailing and hill walking.[9]

Contributions to science[edit]

Baulcombe's research interests and contributions to science are mainly in the fields of virus movement, genetic regulation, disease resistance, and gene silencing.[15][16][17][18][19][20][21][22][23][24][25]

With Andrew Hamilton he discovered the small interfering RNA that is the specificity determinant in RNA-mediated gene silencing.[26] Baulcombe's group demonstrated that while viruses can induce gene silencing, some viruses encode proteins that suppress gene silencing.[12] After these initial observations in plants, many laboratories around the world searched for the occurrence of this phenomenon in other organisms. In 1998 Craig Mello and Andrew Fire reported a potent gene silencing effect after injecting double stranded RNA into Caenorhabditis elegans.[27] This discovery was particularly notable because it represented the first identification of the causative agent for the phenomenon. Fire and Mello were awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine[28] in 2006 for their work. [29]

With other members of his research group at the Sainsbury Laboratory, Baulcombe also helped unravel the importance of small interfering RNA in epigenetics and in defence against viruses.

Honours and awards[edit]

Sir David Baulcombe has received the following honours and awards:

Baulcombe's nomination for the Royal Society reads


  1. ^ a b c d e "BAULCOMBE, Prof. Sir David (Charles)". Who's Who 2014, A & C Black, an imprint of Bloomsbury Publishing plc, 2014; online edn, Oxford University Press. (subscription required)
  2. ^ Baulcombe, D. (2004). "RNA silencing in plants". Nature 431 (7006): 356–363. doi:10.1038/nature02874. PMID 15372043. 
  3. ^ a b c d http://www.webcitation.org/6Mgx1yeZx
  4. ^ David Baulcombe's publications indexed by Google Scholar, a free service provided by Google
  5. ^ List of publications from Microsoft Academic Search
  6. ^ David Baulcombe on Twitter
  7. ^ David Baulcombe's publications indexed by the Scopus bibliographic database, a service provided by Elsevier.
  8. ^ Baulcombe, David (1976). The Processing and Intracellular Transport of Messenger RNA in a Higher Plant (1976) (PhD thesis). University of Edinburgh. 
  9. ^ a b c "David Baulcombe cv". Retrieved 15 September 2009. [self-published source?]
  10. ^ Baulcombe, D. (2007). "David Baulcombe". Current Biology 17 (3): R73–R74. doi:10.1016/j.cub.2007.01.022. PMID 17328111. 
  11. ^ Cambridge University Department of Plant Sciences news
  12. ^ a b American Phytopathological Society
  13. ^ Embo editorial board
  14. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 59090. p. 1. 13 June 2009.
  15. ^ Hamilton, A.; Voinnet, O.; Chappell, L.; Baulcombe, D. (2002). "Two classes of short interfering RNA in RNA silencing". The EMBO Journal 21 (17): 4671–4679. doi:10.1093/emboj/cdf464. PMC 125409. PMID 12198169. 
  16. ^ Papaefthimiou, I.; Hamilton, A.; Denti, M.; Baulcombe, D.; Tsagris, M.; Tabler, M. (2001). "Replicating potato spindle tuber viroid RNA is accompanied by short RNA fragments that are characteristic of post-transcriptional gene silencing". Nucleic Acids Research 29 (11): 2395–2400. doi:10.1093/nar/29.11.2395. PMC 55696. PMID 11376158. 
  17. ^ Dalmay, T.; Hamilton, A.; Rudd, S.; Angell, S.; Baulcombe, D. (2000). "An RNA-dependent RNA polymerase gene in Arabidopsis is required for posttranscriptional gene silencing mediated by a transgene but not by a virus". Cell 101 (5): 543–553. doi:10.1016/S0092-8674(00)80864-8. PMID 10850496. 
  18. ^ Burton, R.; Gibeaut, D.; Bacic, A.; Findlay, K.; Roberts, K.; Hamilton, A.; Baulcombe, D.; Fincher, G. (2000). "Virus-induced silencing of a plant cellulose synthase gene". The Plant cell 12 (5): 691–706. doi:10.1105/tpc.12.5.691. PMC 139921. PMID 10810144. 
  19. ^ Dalmay, T.; Hamilton, A.; Mueller, E.; Baulcombe, D. (2000). "Potato virus X amplicons in arabidopsis mediate genetic and epigenetic gene silencing". The Plant cell 12 (3): 369–379. doi:10.1105/tpc.12.3.369. PMC 139837. PMID 10715323. 
  20. ^ Jones, L.; Hamilton, A.; Voinnet, O.; Thomas, C.; Maule, A.; Baulcombe, D. (1999). "RNA-DNA interactions and DNA methylation in post-transcriptional gene silencing". The Plant cell 11 (12): 2291–2301. doi:10.1105/tpc.11.12.2291. PMC 144133. PMID 10590159. 
  21. ^ Hamilton, W.; Boccara, M.; Robinson, D.; Baulcombe, D. (1987). "The complete nucleotide sequence of tobacco rattle virus RNA-1". The Journal of general virology 68 (10): 2563–2575. doi:10.1099/0022-1317-68-10-2563. PMID 3668507. 
  22. ^ Boccara, M.; Hamilton, W.; Baulcombe, D. (1986). "The organisation and interviral homologies of genes at the 3' end of tobacco rattle virus RNA1". The EMBO Journal 5 (2): 223–229. PMC 1166722. PMID 16453668. 
  23. ^ Lu, J.; Zhang, C.; Baulcombe, D. C.; Chen, Z. J. (2012). "Maternal siRNAs as regulators of parental genome imbalance and gene expression in endosperm of Arabidopsis seeds". Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 109 (14): 5529–5534. doi:10.1073/pnas.1203094109. PMC 3325730. PMID 22431617. 
  24. ^ Baulcombe, D. C.; Saunders, G. R.; Bevan, M. W.; Mayo, M. A.; Harrison, B. D. (1986). "Expression of biologically active viral satellite RNA from the nuclear genome of transformed plants". Nature 321 (6068): 446. doi:10.1038/321446a0. 
  25. ^ Achard, P.; Herr, A; Baulcombe, D. C.; Harberd, N. P. (2004). "Modulation of floral development by a gibberellin-regulated microRNA". Development 131 (14): 3357–65. doi:10.1242/dev.01206. PMID 15226253. 
  26. ^ Hamilton, A. J.; Baulcombe, D. (1999). "A Species of Small Antisense RNA in Posttranscriptional Gene Silencing in Plants". Science 286 (5441): 950–952. doi:10.1126/science.286.5441.950. PMID 10542148. 
  27. ^ Fire, A.; Xu, S.; Montgomery, M. K.; Kostas, S. A.; Driver, S. E.; Mello, C. C. (1998). "Potent and specific genetic interference by double-stranded RNA in Caenorhabditis elegans". Nature 391 (6669): 806–811. doi:10.1038/35888. PMID 9486653. 
  28. ^ "No Nobel for You: Top 10 Nobel Snubs: Scientific American Slideshows". Retrieved 2012-09-11. 
  29. ^ Daneholt, Bertil. "Advanced Information: RNA interference". The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine 2006. Retrieved 2007-01-25. 
  30. ^ "Epigenetics researcher a 2012 Balzan prizewinner | Laboratory Product News". Retrieved 2012-09-11. 

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