Denise P. Barlow

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Denise P. Barlow
Born(1950-01-31)31 January 1950
Died21 October 2017(2017-10-21) (aged 67)
Vienna, Austria
Alma materUniversity of Warwick
AwardsErwin Schrödinger Prize (2014)
Austrian Chapter Achievement Award-Medaille (2014)
Scientific career
FieldsMolecular Genetics

Denise P. Barlow (31 January 1950 – 21 October 2017) was a British geneticist who worked in the field of epigenomics. Barlow was an elected member of European Molecular Biology Organization (EMBO), an honorary professor of genetics at the University of Vienna and recipient of the Erwin Schrödinger Prize of the Austrian Academy of Sciences. In 1991, she discovered the first mammalian imprinted gene, IGF2R, which codes for the insulin-like growth factor.[1][2]


Early years[edit]

Denise Barlow was born in Yorkshire, UK on 31 January 1950. When she was 16, she started a two-year pre-nursing course at a technical college. At the age of 18, she trained and worked for four years as a state registered nurse (SRN) in the United Kingdom. During this time, she decided to enroll at a university to learn more about human physiology and diseases, but had to attend another technical college to take A-levels first.[3]

Research work[edit]

At the age of 25, Barlow started to study at the University of Reading for a three-year BSc Honors course in Zoology with Physiology and Biochemistry. After her graduation, Barlow took up a PhD position at Warwick University, supervised by Derek Burke, to study the interferon response to virus infections in mouse embryos. She obtained a PhD in the area of mouse developmental biology in 1981.[4]

Barlow was invited by Brigid Hogan of the Imperial Cancer Research Fund Laboratories in London to work in her laboratory on isolating genes expressed in the very early stages of embryonic development. After Barlow met Hans Lehrach at a scientific meeting in Cold Spring Harbor, she joined his laboratory at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) in Heidelberg, Germany, to isolate mutated mouse genes using techniques developed in this lab.

In 1988, Barlow joined the newly founded Research Institute of Molecular Pathology (IMP) in Vienna, where she worked as a group leader until 1996. During this time in 1991, she discovered the first imprinted gene in mice, IGF2R.[2] [5]

After her stay at the IMP, Barlow moved to a group leader position at the Netherlands Cancer Institute in Amsterdam in 1996. Thereafter, she continued her work at the Institute of Molecular Biology of the Austrian Academy of Sciences in Salzburg.[6]

In 2003, Barlow joined the Research Center for Molecular Medicine of the Austrian Academy of Sciences (CeMM) as a founding member, where she continued her epigenetic research as principal investigator until her retirement in 2015.[5] In 2014, she received the Erwin Schröder Prize, worth 15.000 Euros,[7] for her lifetime achievements.[8] This prize, which was endowed in 1958, is the most prestigious award of the Austrian Academy of Sciences.[9][10] The last published work of Barlow's former group described the first complete allelome, adding to previous discoveries of Barlow and her lab such as the first imprinted gene and the first imprinted non-coding RNA, which controls imprinted silencing[11][12]

Barlow was appointed a member of the European Molecular Biology Organization (EMBO) in 1995 and has served on the EMBO Science and Society Committee since 1998. There she was appointed chairwoman of this committee since 2002.[4] She advocated better opportunities for female scientists in leading positions at universities and research institutes.[13][14]

Honors and awards[edit]

  • Elected EMBO member (1995)
  • Honorary professorship of genetics at the University of Vienna
  • Erwin Schrödinger Prize of the Austrian Academy of Sciences (2014)
  • EMBO/EMBL Austrian Chapter Achievement Award Medal (2014) for her lifetime achievements

Publications (selection)[edit]

  • A career in epigenetics. RNA Biology (2015) PMID 25779649
  • Airn Transcriptional Overlap, But Not Its lncRNA Products, Induces Imprinted Igf2r Silencing. Science (Dec 2012) PMID 23239737
  • Pulsed-field gel electrophoresis. Genome (Feb 2011)
  • The origins of genomic imprinting in mammals. Advances in Genetics (2002) PMID 11931223
  • Competition - A common motif for the imprinting mechanism?. The EMBO Journal (1998) PMID 9384569
  • Gametic Imprinting in Mammals. Science (1996)
  • The mouse IGF-2 receptor is imprinted and closely linked to the Tme locus. Nature (1991) PMID 1845916
  • Genetics by gel electrophoresis: the impact of pulsed field gel electrophoresis on mammalian genetics. Trends in Genetics (1987)
  • Interferon synthesis in the early post-implantation mouse embryo. Differentiation (1984) PMID 6209188

External links[edit]


  1. ^ Barlow, DP; Stöger, R; Herrmann, BG; Saito, K; Schweifer, N (1991). "The mouse insulin-like growth factor type-2 receptor is imprinted and closely linked to the Tme locus". Nature. 349: 84–7. doi:10.1038/349084a0. PMID 1845916.
  2. ^ a b De Swaaf, Kurt (23 December 2012). "Im Wilden Westen der Genetik". Der Standard. Retrieved 29 October 2017.
  3. ^ Barlow, D (12 March 2015). "Denise Barlow: A career in epigenetics". RNA Biology. 12: 105–8. doi:10.1080/15476286.2015.1018711. PMC 4615223. PMID 25779649.
  4. ^ a b "Denise Barlow Biography". EMBL/EMBO. 2002. Retrieved 29 October 2017.
  5. ^ a b "Epigenetik-Pionierin Denise Barlow gestorben". Der Standard. 24 October 2017. Retrieved 29 October 2017.
  6. ^ "Obituary: Denise P. Barlow (1950 to 2017)". The Research Institute of Molecular Pathology (IMP). 23 October 2017. Retrieved 29 October 2017.
  7. ^ "Köpfe Denise P. Barlow, 2014". Österreichische Akademie der Wissenschaften. Retrieved 31 October 2017.
  8. ^ "Hochdotierte Preise für österreichische Forscher". Wiener Zeitung. 15 December 2014. Retrieved 29 October 2017.
  9. ^ "Erwin Schrödinger Prize for Denise Barlow". CeMM. 16 July 2014. Retrieved 29 October 2017.
  10. ^ "Höchste Preise der Akademie der Wissenschaften vergeben". Salzburger Nachrichten. 13 December 2014. Retrieved 29 October 2017.
  11. ^ "Gene variant activity is surprisingly variable between tissues" (PDF). CeMM. 17 August 2017. Retrieved 29 October 2017.
  12. ^ "Mapping the mouse Allelome reveals tissue-specific regulation of allelic expression". eLIFE. 14 August 2017. Retrieved 29 October 2017.
  13. ^ "Gleiche Forschung, ungleiche Chancen". Der Standard. 22 July 2004. Retrieved 29 October 2017.
  14. ^ "Nachrufe Denise Barlow". Spiegel Online. Retrieved 3 November 2017.