Ralph Hector

Ralph Hector is a senior postdoctoral researcher in Stuart Cobb’s group at the University of Glasgow. His work and research interests centre on developing potential therapies for Rett Syndrome, a serious congenital neurodevelopmental disorder. This condition is inextricably linked to loss-of-function mutations in the MECP2 gene, of which there are many. Looking at this from a molecular biology perspective, Ralph is working on ways to optimise this treatment by refining the characteristics of the gene we supply as part of the gene therapy.

Ralph studied Genetics (Bsc Hons) at the University of Glasgow and continued this line of study into a Medical Genetics MSc. He then carried out his PhD research with Dr. Andrew Davison at the Virus Research Centre in Glasgow, conducting a transcript mapping project of the Human Cytomegalovirus genome.

As a postdoctoral researcher, Ralph has worked on a number of projects. In the laboratory of Dr. Linda Scobie, he worked on a gene therapy project related to the treatment of X-SCID patients in one of the first high profile gene therapy trials, and also on the EU Xenome project, designed to generate animals that would be suitable for xenotransplantation. At the University of Edinburgh, he worked with Dr. Sander Granneman in various avenues of RNA biology, primarily developing a new methodology for analysing RNA secondary structures with high-throughput sequencing. Ralph also spent a year in industry, developing molecular biology workflows with a new biotechnology company focused on microRNA information.

Selected publications

  • Hector RD, Burlacu E, Aitken S, Le Bihan T, Tuijtel M, Zaplatina A, Cook A, Granneman S (2014) Snapshots of pre-rRNA structural flexibility reveal eukaryotic 40S assembly dynamics at nucleotide resolution. Nucleic Acids ResearchSept 8 2014 (Epub)
  • Webb S, Hector RD, Kudla G, Granneman S (2014) Nrd1-Nab3 dependent transcription termination plays a prominent role in regulation of protein coding gene expression in yeast. Genome Biology 15(1)R8
  • Volanakis A, Passoni M, Hector RD, Shah S, Kilchert C, Granneman S, Vasiljeva L (2013) Spliceosome-mediated decay (SMD) regulates expression of nonintronic genes in budding yeast. Genes Dev 27(18); 2025-38
  • Matouskova M, Vesely P, Daniel P, Mattiuzzo G, Hector RD, Scobie L, Takeuchi Y, Hejnar J (2013) Role of DNA methylation in expression and transmission of porcine endogenous retroviruses. J Virol 87(22); 12110-20
  • Gatherer D, Seirafian S, Cunningham C, Holton M, Dargan DJ, Baluchova K, Hector RD, GalbraithJ, Herzyk P, Wilkinson GW, Davison AJ (2011) High-resolution human cytomegalovirus transcriptome.  Proc Natl Acad Sci USA; 108(49): 19755-60
  • Scobie L, Hector RD, Grant L, Bell M, Nielsen AA, Meikle S, Philbey A, Trasher AJ, Cameron ER, Blyth K, Neil JC (2009) A novel model of SCID-X1 reconstitution reveals predisposition to retrovirus-induced lymphoma but no evidence of gammaC gene oncogenicity.  Mol Ther, 17(6): 1031-1038
  • Hector RD, Grant L, Meikle S, Wilkinson R, Fishman J, Scobie L (2007)  Pre-screening of miniature swine may reduce the presence of human tropic replication competent recombinant PERV in source animals for xenotransplantationXenotransplantation; 14(3); 222-6
  • Dolan A, Cunningham C, Hector RD, Hassan-Walker AF, Lee L, Addison C, Dargan DJ, McGeoch DJ, Gatherer D, Emery VC, Griffiths PD, Singzer C, McSharry BP, Wilkinson GW, Davison AJ (2004) Genetic content of wild-type human cytomegalovirusJ Gen Virol; 85(5); 1301-12