Professor Anne Donaldson
Professor Anne Donaldson

Professor Anne Donaldson

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

Personal Chair


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


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 was an Organizer of the Cold Spring Harbor Eukaryotic DNA Replication & Genome Maintenance meeting from 2014-2019, and currently serves as Vice-President for External Relations for the Genetics Society.


Research Overview

Oct 2021:  We have Postdoc and PhD positions available in the lab to begin in 2022, funded by Cancer Research UK.  If you are interested please send CV to Anne Donaldson, who is pleased to hear from potential candidates.

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 use molecular genetics to understand the processes of yeast DNA replication, which we then investigate in human cells.  Using this approach we have discovered several molecular mechanisms of replication control that operate throughout eukaryotic cells.

Our 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.  


Research Areas

Biomedical Sciences

Research Specialisms

  • Molecular Biology
  • Molecular Genetics

Our research specialisms are based on the Higher Education Classification of Subjects (HECoS) which is HESA open data, published under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International licence.

Funding and Grants

Cancer Research UK Programme Award (£1,561,000) ‘How does Rif1 regulate DNA replication and cell recovery after chemotherapeutic replication inhibition?' Grant to Prof Anne Donaldson & Dr Shin-ichiro Hiraga


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