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Robbie Baldock

Dr Robbie Baldock PhD


Faculty of Sport, Health and Social Sciences

023 8201 6189 ext. 6189 Room no. RM214


Robbie has substantial experience working in world-leading research institutes and has presented his research into mechanisms of DNA repair at international conferences in the US, UK and Australia. In 2012, he graduated from the University of Sussex with a BSc (Hons) in Molecular Medicine having completed a third-year research project with Professor Sarah Newbury at Brighton and Sussex Medical School. During this project, Robbie investigated the role of exoribonucleases on wing-development in D. melanogaster (fruit flies) demonstrating the importance of RNA stability on tissue development. 

Later that year, Robbie joined the Genome Damage and Stability Centre (GDSC), where he embarked on his PhD in the laboratory of Dr Felicity Watts. While at the GDSC, Robbie helped to characterise specific protein interactions required to repair damage to DNA resulting from exposure to ionising radiation. This work identified several critical protein post-translational modifications required for the response to cellular stress. These projects led to several high-impact publications and fruitful collaborations with other UK universities.

Following the completion of his PhD in 2016, Robbie was recruited to the UPMC Hillman Cancer Center at the University of Pittsburgh in the United States to continue research as a postdoctoral associate in the laboratory of associate professor, Dr Kara Bernstein. While in Dr Bernstein’s laboratory, Robbie identified cancer-associated mutations in genes encoding DNA repair proteins and determined their impact on the repair process.

In late 2018, Robbie joined Solent University as lecturer in biochemistry to help design and deliver the University’s new BSc (Hons) Biomedical Science degree programme. He is currently the unit leader for ‘Introduction to biochemistry’ and is working to establish a research group investigating how maintenance of DNA integrity relates to disease.

Taught courses

Further information

  1. Industry experience

    While in the US, Robbie engaged with a management consulting firm, Fourth River Solutions, to provide consulting services to life-sciences based start-ups in Pittsburgh. He consulted on multiple projects as part of a team, as well as serving as a project manager for an engagement successfully evaluating the commercial potential of a new medical device.
  2. Teaching experience

    Follow the link below to read more about Robbie's teaching experience.

    Robbie has extensive experience of teaching in life-sciences. From 2012 to 2015, Robbie served as a graduate teaching assistant at the University of Sussex, teaching both undergraduate and postgraduate elements of the curriculum. In 2014, his engagement in teaching was recognised through attainment of associate fellowship status with the UK Higher Education Academy.

    Robbie also helped deliver the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute Summer Academy programme to college students. The aim of this programme is to enable students from diverse backgrounds to get involved with cutting-edge research early in their careers. Most recently, Robbie has taken on the role of unit leader for the ‘Introduction to Biochemistry’ unit delivered to level 4 students at Solent University.

  3. Research interests

    Follow the link below to find out more about Robbie's research interests.
    Double-strand breaks (DSBs) are some of the most dangerous and detrimental DNA lesions that can cause genomic instability and potentially lead to the development of cancer. DSBs can be repaired using a number of specialised repair mechanisms such as Homologous Recombination (HR). HR is a high-fidelity DSB repair mechanism that requires a homologous template for repair. Some patients harbour defects in these repair pathways and are therefore more prone to acquiring detrimental genetic changes. My research aims to uncover the link between these defects and the repair processes with an overarching aim of developing more effective treatment strategies for patients.
  4. Recent publications

    Robbie has contributed to a number of publications. Follow the link below for a list.
    • Bigot, N., Day, M., Baldock, R. A., Watts, F. Z., Oliver, A. W. & Pearl, L. H (2019) Phosphorylation-mediated interactions with TOPBP1 couple 53BP1 and 9-1-1 to control the G1 DNA damage checkpoint. Elife, 8.
    • R. A. Baldock, C. A. Pressimone, J. M. Baird, A. Khodakov, T. T. Luong, M. K. Grundy, C. M. Smith, Y. Karpenshif, D. S. Bratton-Palmer, R. Prakash, M. Jasin, E. B. Garcin, S. Gon, M. Modesti, K. A. Bernstein (2019). “RAD51D splice variants and cancer-associated mutations reveal XRCC2 interaction to be critical for homologous recombination.” DNA Repair, 76, 99-107.
    • Lu, W. T., B. R. Hawley, G. L. Skalka, R. A. Baldock, E. M. Smith, A. S. Bader, M. Malewicz, F. Z. Watts, A. Wilczynska and M. Bushell (2018). "Drosha drives the formation of DNA:RNA hybrids around DNA break sites to facilitate DNA repair." Nature Communications 9(1): 532.
    • Densham, R. M., A. J. Garvin, H. R. Stone, J. Strachan, R. A. Baldock, M. Daza-Martin, A. Fletcher, S. Blair-Reid, J. Beesley, B. Johal, L. H. Pearl, R. Neely, N. H. Keep, F. Z. Watts and J. R. Morris (2016). "Human BRCA1-BARD1 ubiquitin ligase activity counteracts chromatin barriers to DNA resection." Nature Structural and Molecular Biology 23(7): 647-655.
    • Jongjitwimol, J ε., R. A. Baldock ε, S. J. Morley and F. Z. Watts (2016). "Sumoylation of eIF4A2 affects stress granule formation." Journal of Cell Science 129(12): 2407-2415.
    • Baldock, R. A ε., M. Day ε, O. J. Wilkinson, R. Cloney, P. A. Jeggo, A. W. Oliver, F. Z. Watts and L. H. Pearl (2015). "ATM Localization and Heterochromatin Repair Depend on Direct Interaction of the 53BP1-BRCT2 Domain with gammaH2AX." Cell Reports 13(10): 2081-2089.
    • Watts, F. Z., R. Baldock, J. Jongjitwimol and S. J. Morley (2014). "Weighing up the possibilities: Controlling translation by ubiquitylation and sumoylation." Translation 2(1): e29211.
    • Jongjitwimol, J., M. Feng, L. Zhou, O. Wilkinson, L. Small, R. Baldock, D. L. Taylor, D. Smith, L. D. Bowler, S. J. Morley and F. Z. Watts (2014). "The S. pombe Translation Initiation Factor.

    * denotes joint first authorship