Dr Dirk-Jan Kleinjan

Dirk-Jan Kleinjan



Dirk-Jan Kleinjan is a molecular biologist with a special interest in mechanisms of gene regulation, in particular in the role of distal cis-regulatory elements as signal integration hubs for gene regulatory networks. He started out in science studying Chemistry at Leiden University and obtained a Ph.D in Molecular Genetics from the Erasmus University Rotterdam (Netherlands). After moving to the MRC Human Genetics Unit in Edinburgh he worked on the role of long-range enhancers in development, evolution and disease, focussing mainly on the regulatory landscape of the transcription factor PAX6. 


Since joining the Centre for Mammalian Synthetic Biology he is aiming to use the potential of synthetic transcription factors and chromatin modifiers to create artificial regulatory networks for a range of scientific and therapeutic applications.
Selected publications

Bhatia S, Gordon CT, Foster RG, Melin L, Abadie V, Baujat G, Vazquez MP, Amiel J, Lyonnet S, van Heyningen V and Kleinjan DA (2015) Functional assessment of disease-associated regulatory variants in vivo using a versatile dual colour transgenesis strategy in zebrafish.  PLoS Genet. 11(6):e1005193.

Bhatia, S and Kleinjan, DA (2014) Disruption of long-range gene regulation in human genetic disease: a kaleidoscope of general principles, diverse mechanisms and unique phenotypic consequences. Hum Genet. 133(7):815-845.

Bhatia S, Bengani H, Fish M, Brown A, Divizia, MT, Damante G, Grainger R, van Heyningen V, and Kleinjan DA (2013) Disruption of auto-regulatory feedback by a mutation in a remote, ultra-conserved PAX6 enhancer causes aniridia. Am J Hum Genet. 93(6):1126-34.

Ravi V, Bhatia S, Gautier P, Loosli F, Tay BH, Tay A, Murdoch E, Coutinho P, van Heyningen V, Brenner S, Venkatesh B, Kleinjan DA. (2013) Sequencing of Pax6 loci from the elephant shark reveals a family of Pax6 genes in vertebrate genomes, forged by ancient duplications and divergences. PLoS Genet. 9(1):e1003177.

Kleinjan DA, Bancewicz RM, Gautier P, Dahm R, Schonthaler HB, Damante G, Seawright A, Hever AM, Yeyati PL, van Heyningen V, Coutinho P. (2008) Subfunctionalization of duplicated zebrafish pax6 genes by cis-regulatory divergence. PLoS Genet.4(2):e29.

Kleinjan DA, Seawright A, Mella S, Carr CB, Tyas DA, Simpson TI, Mason JO, Price DJ, van Heyningen V. (2006) Long-range downstream enhancers are essential for Pax6 expression. Dev Biol. 299(2):563-581.

Kleinjan DA, Van Heyningen V. (2005) Long-range control of gene expression: emerging mechanisms and disruption in disease. Am J Hum Genet. 76(1):8-32


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