Catherine Pears

Catherine Pears

Old Members’ Tutorial Fellow in Biochemistry; Associate Professor of Biochemistry


My teaching aims to help students develop skills for independent learning and research. Through tutorials, I teach cell biology and genetics to first year Biochemistry and Biomedical Sciences undergraduates. I also teach genetic methods, cell cycle control and the molecular basis of signalling pathways to second and third year Biochemists as well as data handling. Practical skills and running a research project are taught through a genetics practical class I run in the Biochemistry Department and taking summer students and 4th year undergraduates into my lab to carry out short research projects. I also train graduate students in research methods and running a research project.


My research focuses on the importance of post-translational modification of proteins in regulating cell behaviour using two experimental systems: the social amoeba Dictyostelium and human platelets.

Our genetic material, DNA, is wrapped around cylinders of histone proteins. Covalent modification of histones controls processes involving the associated DNA such as repair of damage. DNA repair is vital to prevent diseases such as cancer that are caused by mutations and we use Dictyostelium to study the importance of histone modification at sites of damage to understand how to prevent damage in human cells. Dictyostelium is also ideal to study signaling pathways involved in regulation of differentiation of stem cells into different cell types. We are investigating the importance of modification of histones associated with developmental genes in controlling cell fate. This understanding will improve the therapeutic potential of stem cells to replace damaged cells in the human body.

In human platelets we are focusing on the role of the post-translational addition of ubiquitin to signaling proteins in modulation of platelet responses to increase understanding of bleeding disorders and thrombotic disease caused by inappropriate platelet function.

Selected Publications

Xiong, H., Pears, C.* and Woollard, A.* (2017) An enhanced C. elegans pathway for toxicity assessment. Scientific Reports,  7:9839. doi: 10.1038/s41598-017-10454-3.*Joint corresponding authors

Rakhimova, A., Ura S., Hsu, D.W., Wang, H.Y., Pears, C.* and Lakin N.*(2017) Site-specific ADP-ribosylation of histone H2B in response to DNA double strand breaks. Scientific Reports, Mar 2;7:43750. doi: 10.1038/srep43750. *Joint corresponding authors

Plank, M., Fischer, R., Geoghegan, V., Charles, P.D., Konietzny, R., Acuto, O., Pears, C., Schofield, C.J., Kessler, B.M. (2015) Expanding the yeast protein arginine methylome. Proteomics 15, 3232-43

Pears, C. and Lakin, N. (2014) Emerging models for DNA repair: Dictyostelium discoideum as a model for non homologous end-joining. DNA Repair 17, 121-131

Couto, C. A-M., Hsu, D-W., Teo, R., Rakhimova, A., Lempidaki S., Pears, C.J. and Lakin, N.D. (2013) Non-homologous end joining promotes resistance to DNA damage in the absence of an ADPribosyl-transferase that signals DNA single strand breaks. J. Cell Sci 126, 3452-3461

Unsworth, A.J., Finney B.A, Navarro-Nunez, L., Severin S., Watson S.P and Pears C.J.  (2012) PKCε and PKCθ double-deficient mice have a bleeding diathesis. J. Thromb. Haemost. 10, 1887-1894

Hsu, DW., Chubb, J., Muramoto, T., Pears, C*. and Mahadevan, L.* (2012) Dynamic acetylation of Lysine-4 trimethylated Histone H3 and H3 variant biology in a simple multicellular eukaryote. Nucl. Acids Res. 40, 7247-56 *Joint corresponding authors

Pears, C., Couto, C., Wang, H-Y., Borer, C., Kiely, R., and Lakin, N (2012) The Role of ADP-ribosylation in Regulating DNA Double Strand Break Repair Cell Cycle 11, 48-56

Couto, C., Wang, H-Y., Green, J., Kiely R., Siddaway, R.,  Borer, C., Pears, C. and Lakin N (2011) PARP regulates non-homologous end-joining through retention of Ku at double strand breaks. J. Cell Biol. 194, 367-375

Pears, C., Couto, C., Wang, H-Y., Borer, C., Kiely, R., and Lakin, N (2012) The Role of ADP-ribosylation in Regulating DNA Double Strand Break Repair Cell Cycle 11, 48-56

Contact Univ

If you have any questions or need more information, just ask: