Vardhman Rakyan

Vardhman Rakyan

Title: Prof
Professor of Epigenetics

 The overall goals of the lab are to understand the molecular basis of the non-genetically determined component of mammalian phenotypes and diseases. Within this context, we are particularly interested in ‘epialleles' – loci at which the epigenetic state varies as a result of stochastic, genetic and/or environmental influences. We pursue several complementary lines of investigation that integrate molecular genomics, computational biology, mouse models, and human cohorts to understand the role of epialleles in complex phenotypes and diseases, transgenerational epigenetic inheritance, and environmental epigenomics.


For my PhD (1999-2002) I investigated epigenetic inheritance under the supervision of Prof. Emma Whitelaw, University of Sydney, Australia. From 2003-2007, I was a CJ Martin Postdoctoral Fellow at the Sanger Institute, Cambridge, UK; where, under the guidance of Dr Stephan Beck, I developed functional genomics tools for genome-wide DNA methylation analyses.


Transgenerational Epigenetic Inheritance – functional genomic dissection of how phenotypes can be induced by environmental perturbations in previous generations. This area of research employs mouse models of in utero protein restriction, epigenomics, embryonic stem cells, and transcriptomics of very early developmental stages.

 Inter-individual epigenetic variation in humans – integrated epigenomic/transcriptomic analyses of the non-genetically determined component of human diseases and phenotypes. Currently we focus on cancer, type 1 diabetes and aging.

Group Members

Michelle Holland - Postdoctoral Research Assistant

Rob Lowe - Postdoctoral Research Assistant

Alex Bazeos - Clinical Fellow/PhD student (Joint with Imperial College)

Albert Utset - Visiting summer student

Amina Daou - Visiting summer student

Fatima Bhatti - Visiting summer student



Beyan H, Down T, Ramagopalan S, Uvebrant K, Nilsson A, Holland M, Gemma C, Giovannoni G, Boehm B, Ebers G, Lernmark A, Cillio C, Leslie D, Rakyan VK. (2012) Guthrie card methylomics identifies temporally stable epialleles that are present at birth in humans. Genome Res. 2012 Aug 23. [Epub ahead of print]

Rakyan VK, Down TA, Balding DJ, Beck S. Epigenome-wide association studies for common human diseases. Nat Rev Genet. 2011 Jul 12;12(8):529-41.

Rakyan VK, Down TA, Maslau S, Andrew T, Yang TP, Beyan H, Whittaker P, McCann OT, Finer S, Valdes AM, Leslie RD, Deloukas P, Spector TD. Human aging-associated DNA hypermethylation occurs preferentially at bivalent chromatin domains. Genome Res. 2010 Apr;20(4):434-9.

Down TA*, Rakyan VK* (* joint first and corresponding authors), Turner DJ, Flicek P, Li H, Kulesha E, Gräf S, Johnson N, Herrero J, Tomazou EM, Thorne NP, Bäckdahl L, Herberth M, Howe KL, Jackson DK, Miretti MM, Marioni JC, Birney E, Hubbard TJ, Durbin R, Tavaré S, Beck S. A Bayesian deconvolution strategy for immunoprecipitation-based DNA methylome analysis. Nat Biotechnol. 2008 Jul;26(7):779-85.

Eckhardt F, Lewin J, Cortese R, Rakyan VK, Attwood J, Burger M, Burton J, Cox TV, Davies R, Down TA, Haefliger C, Horton R, Howe K, Jackson DK, Kunde J, Koenig C, Liddle J, Niblett D, Otto T, Pettett R, Seemann S, Thompson C, West T, Rogers J, Olek A, Berlin K, Beck S. DNA methylation profiling of human chromosomes 6, 20 and 22. Nat Genet. 2006

View all Vardhman Rakyan's Research Publications at:


Problem Based Learning (1st year MeD), FunMed 1 Lecture, SSC



Centre for Genomics and Child Health
Blizard Institute
Barts and The London School of Medicine and Dentistry
Blizard Building
4 Newark Street
E1 2AT

020 7882 8140

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Centre Manager: Jaya Rajamanie - 0207 882 2619 (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. )

Centre Administrators: Shirley Dankyi-Larbi - 0207 882 2615, (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. ) and Julia Moreta-Diaz - 0207 882 2618 (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. )