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Professor John Rouse
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Background Information

John Rouse was born in Waterford, Rep. of Ireland. He entered Trinity College, Dublin in 1989 and graduated with a B.A. (Mod.) in Biochemistry in 1993. During this time John became very interested in intracellular signalling transduction, and having read about the work going on in this area, he joined the lab of Sir Philip Cohen’s at the MRC Protein Phosphorylation Unit to carry out work for a PhD. He started in Philip’s lab in October 1993, and in September 1994 his first paper reported the discovery of the first member of the p38 MAP kinase, which plays a key role in mediating intracellular responses to cellular stresses and infection by pathogens. During his PhD, John went to a lecture by Prof. Steve Jackson where he heard about how important the DNA-dependent protein kinase is for DNA repair but that no substrates were known. John asked Steve if he could join his lab to tackle this problem and ended up carrying out postdoctoral research at the Gurdon/CR UK Institute at University of Cambridge, UK in the Jackson lab where he discovered a subunit of the yeast ATR protein kinase, that targets ATR to sites of DNA damage in cells.

In 2002, John returned to Dundee at the end of 2002 to set up his own lab at MRC Protein Phosphorylation Unit. His research team has identified a range of new and important regulators of DNA repair and DNA damage signaling. His lab investigates the roles of these factors using a range of experimental systems.

Selected career achievements

• Identified the first member of the p38 MAP kinase family in human cells (1994)
• Described SB203580 as a specific inhibitor of p38 MAP kinase (1995)
• Identified the Lcd1 protein in yeast as a subunit of budding yeast ATR that targets ATR to sites of DNA damage
• Identified yeast Esc4 as a target of yeast ATR required for recovery from replication stress (2004)
• Showed that Slx4 in yeast is essential for flap cleavage in vivo by the
Rad1XPF-Rad10ERCC1 DNA repair endonuclease (2005, 2007)
• Identification of the mammalian SLX4 complex, a “molecular Swiss army knife for DNA repair” (2009)
• Identification of FAN1, a novel structure-specific DNA repair endonuclease recruited to sites of DNA damage by ubiquitinated FANCD2 (2010)
• Identification of the MMS22L¬-TONSL complex that is required for the repair of broken DNA replication forks in human cells (2010)
• Reported, together with Johan de Winter and Detlev Schindler groups, that mutations in human SLX4 cause Fanconi anaemia (2011)

Awards and honours

• 2006: EMBO Young Investigator Award
• 2008: Colworth Medal of the Biochemical Society: “an annual award for outstanding research by a young biochemist of any nationality who has carried out the majority of their work in the UK”
• 2011: Tenovus Medal from Tenovus Scotland: “awarded to a young investigator with a Scottish link who has made a major impact in the field of gene biology”
• Personal Chair of Chromosome Biology at University of Dundee