Merlin Crossley

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Professor Merlin Crossley is an Australian molecular biologist, university teacher and administrator. In 2016 he was appointed as Deputy Vice-Chancellor Education at the University of New South Wales (UNSW).[1]

Early life and career[edit]

He attended Mount View Primary School, Glen Waverley, Victoria, then was awarded an entrance scholarship to Melbourne Grammar School, where he was dux. He undertook a Bachelor of Science at the University of Melbourne, as a resident of Queen's College (University of Melbourne), then a doctorate at the University of Oxford supported by a Rhodes Scholarship at Magdalen College, Oxford.[2] He worked at Oxford, Harvard and the University of Sydney, before moving to UNSW as Dean of Science.[3]


Crossley is interested in gene regulation. He studied an unusual genetic disorder termed Haemophilia B Leyden where patients recover after puberty.[4] The condition results from mutations that disrupt the control region of the clotting factor IX gene.[5][6][7] A testosterone responsive element accounts for post-pubertal recovery.[8] He has also investigated abnormal patterns of globin gene expression and his work on mutations associated with the lifelong expression of the foetal haemoglobin gene may help in the treatment of thalassemia and sickle cell anaemia.[9] He is using CRISPR-mediated gene editing to introduce beneficial mutations in cell lines as models for treating genetic diseases.[10][11]

He is also known for the initial identification and cloning of a significant number of genes encoding DNA-binding proteins and their associated co-regulators, KLF3,[12] KLF8,[13] KLF17,[14] EOS IKZF4,[15] PEGASUS,[16] FOG1 ZFPM1,[17] FOG2 ZFPM2,[18] and CTBP2.[19]

Other activities[edit]

He has contributed numerous articles on molecular genetics and education to newspapers and media outlets such as The Conversation (website)[20] and has promoted science communication, for instance as a member of the judging panel for the annual anthology Best Australian Science Writing.[21] He is Deputy Director of the Australian Science Media Centre (AusSMC),[22] and serves on the Trust of the Australian Museum[23] and the Board of the Sydney Institute of Marine Science).[24]

Honours and awards[edit]


  1. ^ "Merlin Crossley appointed UNSW Deputy Vice-Chancellor". 
  2. ^
  3. ^ "New Dean of Science appointed". 
  4. ^ "Hemophilia B Leyden and once mysterious cis-regulatory mutations". Trends in Genetics. 30 (1): 18–23. Jan 2014. PMID 24138812. doi:10.1016/j.tig.2013.09.007. 
  5. ^ "Disruption of a C/EBP binding site in the factor IX promoter is associated with haemophilia B". Nature. 345 (6274): 444–6. May 1990. PMID 2342576. doi:10.1038/345444a0. 
  6. ^ "A CpG mutational hotspot in a ONECUT binding site accounts for the prevalent variant of hemophilia B Leyden". American Journal of Human Genetics. 92 (3): 460–7. Mar 2013. PMID 23472758. doi:10.1016/j.ajhg.2013.02.003. 
  7. ^
  8. ^ "Recovery from hemophilia B Leyden: an androgen-responsive element in the factor IX promoter". Science. 257 (5068): 377–9. Jul 1992. PMID 1631558. 
  9. ^ "Editing the genome to introduce a beneficial naturally occurring mutation associated with increased fetal globin". Nature Communications. 6 (7085): 377–9. May 2015. PMID 25971621. doi:10.1038/ncomms8085. 
  10. ^ "Turning the tables: using genetic mutations to fix nature’s problems". 
  11. ^ "Crossley Lab UNSW Science". 
  12. ^ "Isolation and characterization of the cDNA encoding BKLF/TEF-2, a major CACCC-box-binding protein in erythroid cells and selected other cells". Mol. Cell. Biol. 16 (4): 1695–705. Apr 1996. PMID 8657145. 
  13. ^ "Human Krüppel-like factor 8: a CACCC-box binding protein that associates with CtBP and represses transcription". Nucleic Acids Research. 28 (9): 1955–62. May 2000. PMID 10756197. 
  14. ^ "Human KLF17 is a new member of the Sp/KLF family of transcription factors". Genomics. 87 (4): 474–82. Apr 2006. PMID 16460907. 
  15. ^ "Eos and pegasus, two members of the Ikaros family of proteins with distinct DNA binding activities.". Journal of Biological Chemistry. 275 (49): 38347–54. Dec 2000. PMID 10978333. doi:10.1074/jbc.M005457200. 
  16. ^ "Eos and pegasus, two members of the Ikaros family of proteins with distinct DNA binding activities". Journal of Biological Chemistry. 275 (49): 38347–54. Dec 2000. PMID 10978333. doi:10.1074/jbc.M005457200. 
  17. ^ "FOG, a multitype zinc finger protein, acts as a cofactor for transcription factor GATA-1 in erythroid and megakaryocytic differentiation". Cell. 90 (1): 109–19. Jul 1997. PMID 9230307. 
  18. ^ "hFOG-2, a novel zinc finger protein, binds the co-repressor mCtBP2 and modulates GATA-mediated activation". Journal of Biological Chemistry. 274 (33): 23491–890. Aug 1999. PMID 10438528. 
  19. ^ "Cloning and characterization of mCtBP2, a co-repressor that associates with basic Krüppel-like factor and other mammalian transcriptional regulators". EMBO Journal. 17 (17): 5129–40. Sep 1998. PMID 9724649. 
  20. ^ "". 
  21. ^ "The Bragg UNSW Press Prize for Science Writing". 
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  23. ^ "Australian Museum Trustees". 
  24. ^ "SIMS is a collaboration which is stronger than its individual parts/articles". 
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