Contact details


Role: Senior Research Fellow in Medicine and Professor of Molecular Genetics

Dr Shona Murphy


I obtained my first degree (Bachelor of Technology (Hons) in Applied Biology) from Bradford University and my MSc in Gene Technology in Micro-organisms and PhD on "Isolation and Characterization of Genes and Pseudogenes for Human 7SK RNA." from the University of Essex.

I have worked at the EMBL in Heidelberg, at the SCLAVO Research Centre in Siena and at The Rockefeller University on New York before holding an MRC Senior Research Fellowship at the Sir William Dunn School of Pathology. I am currently a Professor of Molecular Genetics at the Sir William Dunn School of Pathology.

I received Wellcome Trust Senior Investigator Awards in 2015 and 2018.

Research interests

My research is mainly focused on how the information contained in the DNA of our genes is accessed. The first step in this process is to make a copy of the DNA into the related molecule RNA, which is carried out by an RNA polymerase and is called transcription. There are three RNA polymerases in human cells, I, II and II. My lab is investigating how modifications of RNA polymerase II (pol II) regulate transcription of our protein-coding genes.


I am currently teaching LMH Medicine and Biochemistry students the principles of gene regulation.

Selected publications

M. Tellier, J. Zaborowska, L. Caizzi, E. Mohammad, T. Velychko, B. Schwalb, I. Ferrer-Vicens, D. Blears, T. Nojima, P. Cramer and S. Murphy. (2020) CDK12 globally stimulates RNA polymerase II transcription elongation and carboxyl-terminal domain phosphorylation. Nucleic Acids Res. 2020 Aug 20;48(14):7712-7727.

T. Nojima*, M. Tellier, J. Foxwell, C. Ribeiro de Almeida, S. M. Tan Wong, S. Dhir, G. Dujardin, A. Dhir, S. Murphy* and N. J. Proudfoot*. (2018) Deregulated expression of mammalian lncRNA through loss of SPT6 induces R-loop formation, replication stress and cellular senescence. Mol Cell 20:970-984 *corresponding authors.

J. Zaborowska, S. Egloff and S. Murphy. (2016) The pol II CTD: new twists in the tail. NSMB, 23:771-7.

C. Laitem, J. Zaborowska, N.F. Isa, J. Kufs, M. Dienstbier and S. Murphy. (2015) CDK9 inhibitors define elongation checkpoints at both ends of RNA polymerase II-transcribed genes. Nat Struct Mol Biol.22:396-403.

D. O'Reilly, M. Dienstbier, S. A. Cowley, P. Vazquez, M. Drozdz, S. Taylor, W. S. James and S. Murphy. (2013) Differentially expressed, variant U1 snRNAs regulate gene expression in human cells. Genome Res. 23, 281-91.

S. Egloff, J. Zaborowska, C. Laitem, T. Kiss and S. Murphy. (2012) Ser7 phosphorylation of the CTD recruits the RPAP2 Ser5 phosphatase to snRNA genes. Mol Cell 45, 111-22.

S. Egloff, D. O’Reilly, R. Chapman, A. Taylor, K Tanzhaus, L. Pitts, D. Eick and S. Murphy. (2007) Serine 7 of the RNA polymerase II CTD is specifically required for snRNA gene expression. Science 318, 1777-1780.