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Dr Timothy Barrow

Home / About / Academic staff profiles / Health and Clinical Sciences / Timothy Barrow

Senior Lecturer in Genomics

I joined the University of Sunderland in 2017, following postdoctoral positions at Universitätsklinikum Freiburg (Germany), Brigham and Women's Hospital (Boston, USA) and Newcastle University (UK).

My main research interests are in the field of cancer epigenetics, predominantly in relation to the development and progression of chronic lymphocytic leukaemia, and environmental epigenetics.

Teaching and supervision

I lecture on topics related to genetics, epigenetics and cancer, mainly for BSc (Hons) Biomedical Science.

Module Leader:
Human Genetics and Genomics
Molecular and Cellular Analysis

Molecular and Cellular Biology
Clinical and Professional Practice
Clinical and Professional Practice for Healthcare Science
Research and Analytical Skills for Biosciences
Cellular Pathology
Haematology and Transfusion Science

Biosciences Literature Review
Bioscience Research Investigation

Research interests for potential research students

I am able to supervise students on projects related to genetic and epigenetic changes in leukaemia and other malignancies.


My main research interests are in the field of cancer epigenetics and environmental epigenetics. 

Much of my ongoing work examines genetic and epigenetic changes in chronic lymphocytic leukaemia (CLL), and how we can use this knowledge to better understand the development of malignancies and to develop clinical biomarkers that will benefit patients. My work has revealed epigenetic changes in patients undergoing treatment that reduce sensitivity to frontline therapies (Barrow et al, 2021, Br J Cancer) and has identified epigenetic changes that are detectable in some patients years before their diagnosis (Barrow et al, 2021, Haematologica). I have also been part of collaborative projects that have identified genetic variants associated with progressive CLL (Lin et al, 2021, Nat Comms) and developed bioinformatics-based methods for identifying subtype-specific vulnerability genes in a range of malignancies (Schwalbe et al, 2021, Oncogene). My earlier work in the field focussed upon epigenetic changes in solid tumours, including loss of genomic imprinting in breast cancer (Barrow et al, 2015, Int J Cancer) and smoking-associated hypermethylation of the APC tumour suppressor gene in colorectal cancer (Barrow et al, 2017, J Pathol).

In parallel to this, I maintain an active interest in fundamental epigenetic processes and epigenetic changes in response to environmental exposures. My collaborative work has included examining the impact of morphine exposure on nuclear and mitochondrial DNA methylation in different regions of the rat brain (Barrow et al, 2017, Epigenetics), and the impact of diet upon epigenetic models of ageing (Sae-Lee et al, 2018, Mol Nutr Food Res). I also contributed to a study which demonstrated, for the first time, that exposure to carcinogenic compounds and endocrine disruptors can modify RNA m6A methylation (Cayir et al, 2019, Environ Res).

My research has been supported by funding from Bright Red, the Leukemia Research Foundation, and internal support within Sunderland.


Number of items: 27.


Sae-Lee, Chanachai, Barrow, Timothy, Colicino, Elena, Choi, Si Ho, Rabanal-Ruiz, Yoana, Green, Daniel, Korolchuk, Viktor I, Mathers, John C and Byun, Hyang-Min (2022) Genomic targets and selective inhibition of DNA methyltransferase isoforms. Clinical Epigenetics, 14. p. 103. ISSN 1868-7083

Schwalbe, Edward C, H, Lalchungnunga, Lafta, Fadhel, Barrow, Timothy and Strathdee, Gordon (2021) Integration of genome-level data to allow identification of subtype-specific vulnerability genes as novel therapeutic targets. Oncogene. ISSN 1476-5594

Allsup, David, Lin, Wei Yu, Fordham, Sarah Elizabeth, Sunter, Nicola, Elstob, Claire, Rahman, Thahira, Willmore, Elaine, Shepherd, Colin, Strathdee, Gordon, Barrow, Timothy, Mainou-Fowler, Tryfonia, Piddock, Rachel, Marr, Helen, Wallis, Jonathan P, Marshall, Scott R., Summerfield, Geoffery, Pettitt, Andrew, Pepper, Christopher, Fegan, Christopher, Forconi, Francesco, Dyer, Martin J.S., Jayne, Sandrine, Sellors, April, Schuh, Anna, Robbe, Pauline, Oscier, David, Houlston, Richard S., Bailey, James, Rais, Syed Ashar, Bentley, Alison, Cawkwell, Lynn, Hillmen, Peter, Pratt, Guy and Allan, James M. (2021) Multicentre Genome Wide Association Study Identifies Risk Alleles for Progressive Chronic Lymphocytic Leukaemia [Conference Abstract]. Blood, 134 (S1). p. 1740. ISSN 0006-4971

Lin, Wei-Yu, Fordham, Sarah E., Sunter, Nicola, Elstob, Claire, Rahman, Thahira, Willmore, Elaine, Shepherd, Colin, Strathdee, Gordon, Mainou-Fowler, Tryfonia, Piddock, Rachel, Mearns, Hannah, Barrow, Timothy, Houlston, Richard S., Marr, Helen, Wallis, Jonathan P, Summerfield, Geoffrey, Marshall, Scott, Pettitt, Andrew, Pepper, Christopher, Fegan, Christopher, Forconi, Francesco, Dyer, Martin J. S., Jayne, Sandrine, Sellors, April, Schuh, Anna, Robbe, Pauline, Oscier, David, Bailey, James, Rais, Syed, Bentley, Alison, Cawkwell, Lynn, Evans, Paul, Hillmen, Peter, Pratt, Guy, Allsup, David J. and Allan, James M. (2021) Genome-wide association study identifies risk loci for progressive chronic lymphocytic leukemia. Nature Communications, 12 (1). p. 665. ISSN 2041-1723

Barrow, Timothy, Nakjang, Sirintra, Lafta, Fadhel, Bilotkach, Kateryna, Woodhouse, Laura, Junge, Gesa, Tudhope, Susan J, Wallis, Jonathan P, Marr, Helen, Marshall, Scott, Bown, Nick, Willmore, Elaine and Strathdee, Gordon (2020) Epigenome-wide analysis reveals functional modulators of drug sensitivity and post-treatment survival in chronic lymphocytic leukaemia. British Journal of Cancer, 124. pp. 474-483. ISSN 0007-0920

Fang, Junkai, Kang, Choong-Min, Osorio-Yáñez, Citlalli, Barrow, Timothy, Zhang, Ruiping, Zhang, Ying, Li, Chen, Liu, Hongbin, Li, Peng-hui, Guo, Liqiong and Byun, Hyang-Min (2020) Prenatal PM2.5 Exposure and the Risk of Adverse Births Outcomes: Results from Project ELEFANT. Environmental Research. p. 110232. ISSN 0013-9351

Cayir, Akin, Byun, Hyang-Min and Barrow, Timothy (2020) Environmental Epitranscriptomics. Environmental Research. p. 109885. ISSN 0013-9351

Sae-Lee, Chanachai, Biasi, Julien De, Robinson, Natassia, Barrow, Timothy M, Mathers, John, Koutsidis, Georgios and Byun, Hyang-Min (2020) DNA methylation patterns of LINE-1 and Alu for pre-symptomatic dementia in type 2 diabetes. PLOS ONE, 15 (6). e0234578. ISSN 1932-6203

Barrow, Timothy M, Wong Doo, Nicole, Milne, Roger L, Giles, Graham G, Willmore, Elaine, Strathdee, Gordon and Byun, Hyang-Min (2020) Analysis of retrotransposon subfamily DNA methylation reveals novel early epigenetic changes in chronic lymphocytic leukaemia. Haematologica, 105. ISSN 1592-8721

Cayir, Akin, Barrow, Timothy, Guo, Liqiong and Byun, Hyang-Min (2019) Exposure to environmental toxicants reduces global N6-methyladenosine RNA methylation and alters expression of RNA methylation modulator genes. Environmental Research, 175. pp. 228-234. ISSN 0013-9351

Barrow, Timothy, Peng, Cheng, Wilson, Ander, Wang, Hao, Liu, Hongbin, Shen, Lilin, Tang, Nai-jun, Sae-Lee, Chanachai, Li, Peng-hui, Guo, Liqiong and Byun, Hyang-Min (2019) Psychosocial stress is associated with benign breast disease in young Chinese women: results from Project ELEFANT. Breast Cancer Research and Treatment, 173 (1). pp. 217-224. ISSN 1573-7217

Cayir, A, Barrow, TM, Wang, H, Liu, H, Li, C, Ding, N, Li, Y, Kang, CM, Guo, L, Li, PH and Byun, HM (2018) Occupational noise exposure is associated with hypertension in China: Results from project ELEFANT. PLoS One, 13 (12). e0209041.

Xu, H, Li, PH, Barrow, TM, Colicino, E, Li, C, Song, R, Liu, H, Tang, NJ, Liu, S, Guo, L and Byun, HM (2018) Obesity as an effect modifier of the association between menstrual abnormalities and hypertension in young adult women: Results from Project ELEFANT. PLoS One, 13 (11). e0207929.

Guo, L, Peng, C, Xu, H, Wilson, A, Li, PH, Wang, H, Liu, H, Shen, L, Chen, X, Qi, X, Tang, NJ, Barrow, TM and Byun, HM (2018) Age at menarche and prevention of hypertension through lifestyle in young Chinese adult women: result from project ELEFANT. BMC Women's Health, 18 (1). p. 182.

Sae-Lee, Chanachai, Corsi, Sarah, Barrow, Timothy, Kunhle, Gunter, Bollati, Valentina, Mathers, John and Byun, Hyang-Min (2018) Dietary intervention modifies DNA methylation age assessed by the epigenetic clock. Molecular Nutrition & Food Research, 62 (23). ISSN 1613-4133 (Electronic)

Barrow, Timothy, Byun, HM, Li, X, Smart, C, Wang, YX, Zhang, Y, Baccarelli, A and Guo, L (2018) The effect of morphine upon DNA methylation in ten regions of the rat brain. Epigenetics, 12 (12). pp. 1038-1047. ISSN 1559-2294

Barrow, Timothy, Klett, H, Toth, R, Boehm, J, Gigic, B, Habermann, N, Scherer, D, Schrotz-King, P, Skender, S, Abbenhardt-Martin, C, Zielske, L, Schneider, M, Ulrich, A, Schirmacher, P, Herpel, E, Brenner, H, Busch, H, Boerries, M, Ulrich, CM and Michels, KB (2017) Smoking is Associated with Hypermethylation of the APC 1A Promoter in Colorectal Cancer: the ColoCare Study. Journal of Pathology, 243 (3). pp. 366-375. ISSN 0022-3417

Guo, Liqiong, Li, Peng-hui, Li, Hua, Colicino, Elena, Colicino, Silvia, Wen, Yi, Zhang, Ruiping, Feng, Xiaotian, Barrow, Timothy, Cayir, Akin, Baccarelli, Andrea A and Byun, Hyang-Min (2017) Effects of environmental noise exposure on DNA methylation in the brain and metabolic health. Environmental Research, 153. pp. 73-82. ISSN 0013-9351

Barrow, Timothy, Woodhouse, Laura, Junge, Gesa, Tudhope, Susan, Behardien, Charlotte, Wallis, Jonathan, Marr, Helen, Marshall, Scott, Bown, Nick, Willmore, Elaine and Strathdee, Gordon (2016) The Role of HOXA4 in Chronic Lymphocytic Leukaemia Progression and Response to Therapy. Blood, 128. p. 3924. ISSN 0006-4971

Barrow, Timothy, Barault, L, Ellsworth, RE, Harris, HR, Binder, AM, Valente, AL, Shriver, CD and Michels, KB (2015) Aberrant methylation of imprinted genes is associated with negative hormone receptor status in invasive breast cancer. International Journal of Cancer, 137 (3). pp. 537-547. ISSN 0020-7136

Barrow, Timothy and Byun, Hyang-Min (2014) Single nucleotide polymorphisms on DNA methylation microarrays: precautions against confounding. Epigenomics, 6 (6). pp. 577-579. ISSN 1750-1911

Barrow, Timothy and Michels, Karin B (2014) Epigenetic Epidemiology of Cancer. Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications, 455 (1-2). pp. 70-83.

Joosen, Annemiek, Kuhnle, Gunter, Aspinall, Sue, Barrow, Timothy, Lecommandeur, Emmanuelle, Azqueta, Amaya, Collins, Andrew and Bingham, Sheila (2009) Effect of processed and red meat on endogenous nitrosation and DNA damage. Carcinogenesis, 30 (8). pp. 1402-1407. ISSN 0143-3334

Book Section

Barrow, Timothy (2017) Epigenetic epidemiology of cancer risk. In: Epigenetic Mechanisms in Cancer. Elsevier. ISBN 978-0-12-809552-2

Byun, Hyang-Min and Barrow, Timothy (2015) Analysis of pollutant-induced changes in mitochondrial DNA methylation. In: Mitochondrial Medicine: Volume 2 - Manipulating Mitochondrial Function. Methods in Molecular Biology . Humana Press, pp. 271-283. ISBN 978-1-4939-2288-8

Conference or Workshop Item

Barrow, Timothy, Wong Doo, Nicole, Milne, Roger, Giles, Graham, Willmore, Elaine, Strathdee, Gordon and Byun, Hyang-Min (2018) Analysis of Locus-specific LINE-1 and Alu Element DNA Methylation Reveals Novel Early Epigenetic Changes in Chronic Lymphocytic Leukaemia. In: 23rd Congress of the European Hematology Association, 14-17 Jun 2018, Stockholm, Sweden.


Li, Yanqiang, Byun, Hyang-Min, Barrow, Timothy and Zhang, Qiang (2021) Editorial: Environmental Genomics and Epigenomics: Response, Development and Disease. Frontiers Media S.A..

This list was generated on Wed Nov 30 01:29:26 2022 GMT.
  • Cancer epigenetics, particularly in relation to chronic lymphocytic leukaemia and colorectal cancer
  • Environmental epigenetics
  • Epigenetic models of ageing
  • Development of methodology for analysing DNA and RNA methylation

Last updated 04 August 2022