Professor Anne Donaldson

Professor Anne Donaldson
BA (University of Cambridge, 1989), PhD (MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology, Cambridge, 1994)

Personal Chair

Professor Anne Donaldson
Professor Anne Donaldson

Contact Details

work +44 (0)1224 437316
work +44 (0)1224 437312
The University of Aberdeen Room 2:17 Institute of Medical Sciences Foresterhill University of Aberdeen Aberdeen AB25 2ZD Lab phone +44 (0)1224 437312


Funded PhD studentship available! The ideal candidate will have a strong interest in chromosome biology, and will have a good Bachelors or Masters degree in a relevant subject.  If you are interested in joining the lab as a PhD student then please contact Anne Donaldson, sending your CV and explaining your interest in the research area. 


Anne Donaldson studied Natural Sciences at the University of Cambridge, completed her PhD at the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology, then moved as a NATO/SERC postdoctoral fellow to the University of Washington in Seattle.  Anne established her lab as a Royal Society University Research Fellow at the University of Dundee, and in 2001 Anne was chosen as an EMBO Young Investigator. The Donaldson laboratory has been at the University of Aberdeen Institute of Medical Sciences since 2003.  The lab is funded by Cancer Research UK and the BBSRC.

Anne teaches on several Aberdeen University Molecular & Cell Biology courses, and from 2006-13 was Examinations Officer & Chair of Examinations Boards (Molecular & Cell Biology).  Anne serves on teh Centenary Working Group of the Genetics Society, and as an Organizer of the Cold Spring Harbor Eukaryotic DNA Replication & Genome Maintenance meeting.


Research Interests

Human cells contain 1.8 metres of DNA in a nucleus only about 6 microns in diameter. During chromosome replication this entire length of DNA must be duplicated exactly once with perfect accuracy, so that the strands can be disentangled and precisely segregated to the daughter cells. The DNA is extremely vulnerable to damage during this process, and cells must deal with thousands of potentially lethal DNA damage events every single day. Members of the Donaldson lab investigate the controls over DNA replication and damage repair. Understanding chromosome maintenance will suggest new therapeutic strategies in the fight against cancer, as well as illuminating the basic mechanisms at the heart of the cell division cycle.

The budding yeast S. cerevisiae provides an excellent model organism for studying the fundamentals of chromosome biology, because of the remarkable molecular genetics tools available for this system. DNA replication initiates at multiple sites on each chromosome called replication origins. We used comparative genomics and molecular genetics to identify yeast replication origin sequences genome-wide, allowing us to create an interactive database of yeast replication origins, called OriDB (

Our current focus of interest is understanding the molecular machinery controlling origin initiation, replication fork progression, and chromosome maintenance.  We use a combination of advanced proteomic, genomic and microscopy methods to investigate the cellular components that regulate these DNA replication and repair processes.  It becomes increasingly clear that the molecular machinery of chromosome maintenance is conserved from yeast to human, and in recent years we have extended our investigations to test how the mechanisms we discover in yeast also operate in mammalian cells, to ensure proper genome maintenance.

Further Info

Members of the Donaldson Lab


Shin-ichiro Hiraga - senior research fellow
Vamsi Krishna Gali - postdoc
Javier Garzon -postdoc
Chandre Monerawela - postdoc
Lotte Watts - PhD student
Caitlin Connolly - PhD student
Qianqian Dong - PhD student
Julie Brookes - technician


Andrew Cosgrove - PhD student 2001-05
Sotirios Botsios - PhD student 2007-2010
Kate Clark - Postdoc 2015-2016
Hani Ebrahimi - PhD student 2005-09
Sylwia Kedziora - PhD student 2014-2018 
Takashi Kubota - postdoc 2008-2014/MRC Career Development Fellow 2014-19
Huiyong Lian - postdoc 2008-2011
Amanda Mackenzie - Masters student 2009-10
Conrad Nieduszynski - postdoc/Leverhulme Research Fellow 2000-07 
Douglas Robertson - PhD student 2003-07
Akila Sridhar - PhD student 2009-2014