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Carla Cohen

Postdoctoral Research Assistant

Ankylosing spondylitis (AS) is a chronic inflammatory arthritis affecting 1-2% of people in the UK.  It is a polygenic disease, with over 40 associated genetic loci identified by genome-wide association studies.  My research focus is to determine which particular single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) play a causative role in the pathogenesis of AS.  At present I am studying SNPs that lie between IL23R and IL12RB2, and which likely have a regulatory function.  My research involves looking at which genes are regulated by these SNPs and identifying the molecular mechanisms involved. Understanding these regulatory mechanisms may lead to the development of novel therapies for this debilitating condition.

I completed my DPhil at Oxford and went on to a postdoctoral position with Prof Dixie Mager, where I studied regulatory elements involving transposable elements, in Vancouver, Canada.  During that time I developed an interest in epigenetic regulation which led me to return to Oxford and join Prof Wordsworth’s research group. 

I am funded on a grant from Wyeth Pharmeceuticals and recently obtained an award from the University of Oxford Returning Carers’ Fund.