- 1983 - BSc (Honours, 1st Class): Biochemistry, Strathclyde, Glasgow
- 1987 - PhD: Beatson Institute for Cancer Research, Glasgow
- 1987 - 1991: Postdoc with Nobel Laureate Paul Berg, Stanford, USA
- 1991 - 2006: Senior Postdoc with Austin Smith, Edinburgh
- 2007 - 2010: Reader, Edinburgh
- 2010 - present: Professor of Pluripotent Stem Cell Biology, Edinburgh
Ian identified UGA, normally a ‘STOP’ codon, as encoding the 21st amino acid selenocysteine.
Ian is co-discoverer of Nanog, a pluripotent-specific transcription factor that can confer LIF-independent ES cell self-renewal. Ian therefore named Nanog after TirnanOg, the Celtic Land-of-the-Ever-Young. This work was cited as a “landmark achievement in UK research” in the UK Stem Cell Initiative Pattison Report.
Discovered heterogeneous transcription factor expression within the pluripotent cell compartment. Cells with lowered Nanog expression are primed for, but uncommitted to differentiation.
Identified Otx2 as a key regulator of germline/soma segregation. Notably, without an Otx2 gene, pluripotent cells can differentiate into the germline as a default mechanism.
• Gagliardi A, Mullin NP, Ying Tan Z, Colby D, Kousa AI, Halbritter F, Weiss JT, Felker A, Bezstarosti K, Favaro R, Demmers J, Nicolis SK, Tomlinson SR, Poot RA, Chambers I. 2013. A direct physical interaction between Nanog and Sox2 regulates embryonic stem cell self-renewal. EMBO J. 32(16):2231-47.
• Karwacki-Neisius V, Göke J, Osorno R, Halbritter F, Ng JH, Weiße AY, Wong FCK, Gagliardi A, Mullin NP, Festuccia N, Colby D, Tomlinson SR, Ng H-H and Chambers I. 2013. Reduced Oct4 expression directs a robust pluripotent state with distinct signaling activity and increased enhancer occupancy by Oct4 and Nanog. Cell Stem Cell 12:531-545. Press release.
• Navarro P, Festuccia N, Colby D, Gagliardi A, Mullin N, Zhang W, Karwacki-Neisius V, Osorno R, Kelly D, Robertson M and Chambers I. 2012. OCT4/SOX2-independent Nanog autorepression modulates heterogeneous Nanog gene expression in mouse ES cells. EMBO Journal 31:4547-62.
• Festuccia N, Osorno R, Florian Halbritter F, Karwacki-Neisius V, Navarro P, Colby D, Wong F, Yates A, Tomlinson SR, Chambers I. 2012. Esrrb Is a Direct Nanog Target Gene that Can Substitute for Nanog Function in Pluripotent Cells. Cell Stem Cell 11(4):477-90.
• Chambers I, Silva J, Colby D, Nichols J, Robertson M, Nijmeijer B, Vrana J, Jones K, Grotewold L, Smith A. 2007. Nanog safeguards pluripotency and mediates germ cell development. Nature 450:1230-1234.