Professor Peter Adams

  • Professor (Epigenetics)

Research interests

Adams figure

The Adams lab investigates the impact of chromatin structure and epigenetics on cell proliferation, aging and cancer. In particular, we hypothesize that age-associated changes in chromatin structure, function and regulation contribute to the dramatic age-associated increase in incidence of cancer. While age is the biggest single risk factor for most cancers, the reason for this is current poorly understood. 

Figure 1

Peter Adams fig 1

Figure 2            DNA methylation gains and losses in senescent cells overlap with hyper and hypomethylation in cancer. Paradoxically, this suggests that the epigenome of senescent cells might be primed for progression to cancer. In turn, this suggests that senescence might be an imperfect tumor suppressor mechanism, and accumulation of senescent cells with age might predispose to cancer. The reason(s) why cancer increases with age in humans is poorly understood, at present. See Cruickshanks et al, 2013 for details.

Lab members

Peter D. Adams, PhD -
Peter Adams obtained his BA in biochemistry at the University of Oxford, England and his PhD at Imperial Cancer Research Fund (now CR-UK). He did post-doctoral work with Dr. William G. Kaelin, Jr. at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. He set up his own lab at Fox Chase Cancer Center in 1999 and moved to the CR-UK Beatson Institute and Glasgow University in October of 2008. Peter Adams is co-Editor-in-Chief of the journal Aging Cell.

Jeff Pawlikowski, BSc -
Jeff Pawlikowski obtained his BSc and MSc from Drexel University, Philadelphia. Jeff iobtained his PhD at Glasgow University , UK

Indrani Manoharan, MSc. -
Indrani Manoharan obtained her MSc from University of Leicester, UK

Rachael Hewitt, BSc. -
Rachael Hewitt obtained her BSc from the University of Glasgow, UK

Desy Piscitello, BSc. -
Desy is currently a PhD student at the University of Glasgow, UK

Taranjit Singh Rai, PhD. -
Taranjit Singh Rai obtained his PhD from the Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education & Research, Chandigarh, India

Nikolay Pchelintsev, PhD. -
Nikolay Pchelintsev obtained his PhD from the University of Leeds, UK

John van Tuyn, PhD. -
John van Tuyn obtained his PhD from Leiden University Medical Center, Leiden, the Netherlands

Tony McBryan, PhD. -
Tony McBryan obtained his PhD from the University of Glasgow

Dina Dikovskaya, PhD. -
Dina Dikovskaya obtained her PhD from Institute of Genetics (Institut für Genetik), Forschungszentrum Karlsruhe, Germany

Claire Brock, BSc. -
Claire Brock obtained her BSc from the University of Glasgow.

Annie-Louise Latif, MBCHB, MRCP. -
Annie Latif obtained her MBCHB from University of Glasgow in 2002.

Douglas MacKenzie, BSc (Hons) MBChB (Hons) MRCS (Ed).

John Cole, BSc. -
John Cole obtained his BSc and MRes in bioinformatics from the University of Glasgow.

Farah Jaber-Hijazi, PhD. -
Farah Jaber-Hijazi obtained her MSc at the Universities of Manchester, Salford and Keele and her PhD from the University of Nottingham.

Research Collaborations

The lab has extensive collaborations with other labs throughout the world. In particular, we collaborate closely with the labs of Dr. Shelley Berger (University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia), Ronen Marmorstein (Wistar Institute, Philadelphia) and Brad Johnson (University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia). These collaborations are funded by an NIH program project grant on the “Epigenetics of aging and age-associated diseases“ ( 

Rachael Hewitt is funded by a BBSRC/CASE studentship in collaboration with Dr. David Gunn at Unilever (Colworth, England) and Dr. Andre Maier at the University of Leiden (Netherlands).

We have recently been awarded funding by the BBSRC to investigate the role of autophagy and DNA damage signalling in senescence; this is a collaborative award with Dr. Joao Passos, University of Newcastle.

Link to research page in the Beatson Institute