Prof Caroline Dean

Project Leader
Cell and Developmental Biology

March 2015 - BBSRC Excellence in Bioscience Award Lecture

Our research has focused on the timing of the transition to reproductive development in plants. The acceleration of flowering by prolonged cold is a classic epigenetic process called vernalization. The study of this and parallel genetic pathways has led us into the dissection of conserved chromatin silencing mechanisms involving non-coding RNAs.

Our recent work has focused on a mechanistic understanding of vernalization and on the pathways that determine a requirement for vernalization. These pathways converge on a gene that encodes a floral repressor called FLC.  We analyse how these pathways intersect during development, in different environmental conditions, and through microevolution. This takes us into the analysis of what regulates reproductive strategy in plants.  We use Arabidopsis as a reference to establish the regulatory hierarchy and then translate our findings into other species.

FLC regulation has become a paradigm for the dissection of how non-coding RNAs, particularly antisense transcripts, mediate chromatin regulation. It is also providing important insight into evolutionary mechanisms, as modulation of FLC regulation is an important determinant of Arabidopsis adaptation.

Cause or Consequence? Scientists help to settle an epigenetic debate

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Norwich conference to inspire next generation of STEMM female professionals

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Professor Caroline Dean wins prestigious Women In Science Award

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BBSRC Excellence in Bioscience Award for Caroline Dean

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Recent Publications

Wu Z., Ietswaart R., Liu F., Yang H., Howard M., Dean C. (2016)

Quantitative regulation of FLC via coordinated transcriptional initiation and elongation.

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 113 p218-23

Publisher’s version: 10.1073/pnas.1518369112

Duncan S., Holm S., Questa J., Irwin J., Grant A., Dean C. (2015)

Seasonal shift in timing of vernalization as an adaptation to extreme winter.

ELife 4 p4532801

Publisher’s version: 10.7554/eLife.06620

Hepworth J., Dean C. (2015)

Flowering Locus C's Lessons: Conserved Chromatin Switches Underpinning Developmental Timing and Adaptation.

Plant Physiology 168 p1237-45

Publisher’s version: 10.1104/pp.15.00496

Berry S., Hartley M., Olsson T. S., Dean C., Howard M. (2015)

Local chromatin environment of a Polycomb target gene instructs its own epigenetic inheritance.

eLife 4 pe07205

Publisher’s version: 10.7554/eLife.07205

Berry S., Dean C. (2015)

Environmental perception and epigenetic memory: mechanistic insight through FLC.

Plant Journal 10.1111/tpj.12869 pepub

Publisher’s version: 10.1111/tpj.12869

View All

Caroline Dean

  • Deborah Cox Lab Attendant
  • Dr Rebecca Bloomer Postdoctoral Scientist
  • Shuqin Chen Lab Attendant
  • Dr Yusheng Zhao Postdoctoral Scientist
  • Dr Danling Zhu Postdoctoral Scientist
  • Dr Hongchun Yang Research Assistant
  • Dr Zhe Wu Postdoctoral Scientist
  • Huamei Wang Support Specialist
  • Stefanie Nunes Rosa Postdoctoral Scientist
  • Dr Julia Questa Postdoctoral Training Fellow
  • Susan Duncan Research Fellow
  • Dr Congyao Xu Postdoctoral Scientist


FEBS/EMBO Women in Science Award, 2015

Thomson Reuters Top 1% Highly Cited Researcher, 2014

BBSRC Anniversary Award for Excellence in Bioscience, 2014

Non-resident Faculty of the Salk Institute, 2012-18

Foreign Member US National Academy of Sciences, elected April 2008

German Leopoldina Academy, elected April 2008

Officer of the Order of the British Empire, 2004

Fellow of the Royal Society, elected 2004

Genetics Society Medal, 2002

Elected a European Molecular Biology Organisation Fellow, 1999


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March 2015 - BBSRC Excellence in Bioscience Award Lecture

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