Professor Jonathan Pettitt

Professor Jonathan Pettitt
Professor Jonathan Pettitt
Professor Jonathan Pettitt

BSc (Hons) (1988; Imperial College, London) PhD (1992; University of Cambridge)

Personal Chair

Email Address
Telephone Number
+44 (0)1224 437516
Office Address

School of Medicine, Medical Sciences and Nutrition
Room 4:38, Institute of Medical Sciences

School of Medicine, Medical Sciences and Nutrition


Jonathan Pettitt graduated from Imperial College with an upper second class degree in Biochemistry. He then carried out postgraduate research within the Department of Pathology, University of Cambridge, investigating the structure and expression of collagen genes in the parasitic nematode Ascaris suum. Whilst at Cambridge he was seduced by the many charms of the non-parasitic nematode Caenorhabditis elegans, and upon completing his PhD he went to Bill Wood’s lab at the University of Colorado, Boulder as an HFSPO long term postdoctoral fellow to study C. elegans development. In 1994, he obtained a two year EMBO fellowship to continue this work in the laboratory of Ronald Plasterk at the Netherlands Cancer Institute, Amsterdam, and learn the reverse genetics techniques pioneered there. He moved to the University of Aberdeen in 1996 where he became group leader and Lecturer in genetics within the newly built Institute of Medical Sciences.


Research Overview

Professor Jonathan Pettitt studies the mechanistic basis of specific RNA processing events using the nematode C. elegans as a model organism ( The main focus of the lab is understanding spliced leader trans-splicing, with the long-term goal of developing drugs that target this essential nematode-specific process. Such drugs are needed to treat the myriad parasitic nematodes that threaten both human and animal health, and impact global food security. Parallel work seeks to understand cap-adjacent RNA methylation, a modification that is found in most human messenger RNAs but whose functional significance remains unknown.

Research Areas

Biomedical Sciences

Research Specialisms

  • 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

BBSRC (2020 - 2023). Understanding the mechanism of a nematode molecular Achilles' heel.


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