Dr Timothy Barrow

School of Life Sciences
Dr Timothy Barrow



I joined the University of Essex in 2023 as a Lecturer within the School of Life Sciences. Previously I spent five years as Senior Lecturer in Genomics at the University of Sunderland, 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 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 genomic targets and inhibition of DNMT isoforms (Sae-Lee et al, 2022, Clin Epigenetics), 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 and the Leukemia Research Foundation.


  • PhD University of Cambridge, (2010)

  • MBiochem (Hons) University of Bath, (2005)


University of Essex

  • Lecturer, University of Essex (1/1/2023 - present)

Other academic

  • Senior Lecturer in Genomics, University of Sunderland (1/8/2017 - 31/12/2022)

  • Research Associate, Northern Institute for Cancer Research, Newcastle University (24/11/2014 - 31/7/2017)

  • Postdoctoral researcher, University Medical Center Freiburg (1/3/2011 - 31/8/2014)

Teaching and supervision

Current teaching responsibilities

  • Transferable Skills in Life Sciences (BS143)

  • Medical Genetics (BS220)

  • Cell Biology (BS225)

  • Cell Biology and Cellular Pathology (BS238)

  • Human Molecular Genetics (BS320)

  • Research Project in Biomedical Science (BS831)

  • Molecular Mechanisms of Disease (BS938)

  • Molecular Basis of Cancer (BS349)

  • Employability Skills for the Biosciences (BS211)

  • Professional Skills and the Business of Biosciences (BS985)


Journal articles (24)

Sae-Lee, C., Barrow, TM., Colicino, E., Choi, SH., Rabanal-Ruiz, Y., Green, D., Korolchuk, VI., Mathers, JC. and Byun, H-M., (2022). Genomic targets and selective inhibition of DNA methyltransferase isoforms. Clinical Epigenetics. 14 (1), 103-

Schwalbe, EC., H, L., Lafta, F., Barrow, TM. and Strathdee, G., (2021). Integration of genome-level data to allow identification of subtype-specific vulnerability genes as novel therapeutic targets. Oncogene. 40 (33), 5213-5223

Barrow, TM., Wong Doo, N., Milne, RL., Giles, GG., Willmore, E., Strathdee, G. and Byun, H-M., (2021). Analysis of retrotransposon subfamily DNA methylation reveals novel early epigenetic changes in chronic lymphocytic leukemia. Haematologica. 106 (1), 98-110

Barrow, TM., Nakjang, S., Lafta, F., Bilotkach, K., Woodhouse, L., Junge, G., Tudhope, SJ., Wallis, JP., Marr, H., Marshall, S., Bown, N., Willmore, E. and Strathdee, G., (2021). Epigenome-wide analysis reveals functional modulators of drug sensitivity and post-treatment survival in chronic lymphocytic leukaemia. British Journal of Cancer. 124 (2), 474-483

Lin, W-Y., Fordham, SE., Sunter, N., Elstob, C., Rahman, T., Willmore, E., Shepherd, C., Strathdee, G., Mainou-Fowler, T., Piddock, R., Mearns, H., Barrow, T., Houlston, RS., Marr, H., Wallis, J., Summerfield, G., Marshall, S., Pettitt, A., Pepper, C., Fegan, C., Forconi, F., Dyer, MJS., Jayne, S., Sellors, A., Schuh, A., Robbe, P., Oscier, D., Bailey, J., Rais, S., Bentley, A., Cawkwell, L., Evans, P., Hillmen, P., Pratt, G., Allsup, DJ. and Allan, JM., (2021). Genome-wide association study identifies risk loci for progressive chronic lymphocytic leukemia. Nature Communications. 12 (1), 665-

Li, Y., Byun, H-M., Barrow, TM. and Zhang, Q., (2021). Editorial: Environmental Genomics and Epigenomics: Response, Development and Disease. Frontiers in Genetics. 12, 694288-

Cayir, A., Byun, H-M. and Barrow, TM., (2020). Environmental epitranscriptomics. Environmental Research. 189, 109885-109885

Fang, J., Kang, C-M., Osorio-Yáñez, C., Barrow, TM., Zhang, R., Zhang, Y., Li, C., Liu, H., Li, P-H., Guo, L. and Byun, H-M., (2020). Prenatal PM2.5 exposure and the risk of adverse births outcomes: Results from Project ELEFANT. Environmental Research. 191, 110232-110232

Sae-Lee, C., Biasi, JD., Robinson, N., Barrow, TM., Mathers, JC., Koutsidis, G. and Byun, H-M., (2020). DNA methylation patterns of LINE-1 and Alu for pre-symptomatic dementia in type 2 diabetes. PLOS ONE. 15 (6), e0234578-e0234578

Cayir, A., Barrow, TM., Guo, L. and Byun, H-M., (2019). Exposure to environmental toxicants reduces global N6-methyladenosine RNA methylation and alters expression of RNA methylation modulator genes. Environmental Research. 175, 228-234

Barrow, TM., Peng, C., Wilson, A., Wang, H., Liu, H., Shen, L., Tang, N-J., Sae-Lee, C., Li, P-H., Guo, L. and Byun, H-M., (2019). Psychosocial stress is associated with benign breast disease in young Chinese women: results from Project ELEFANT. Breast Cancer Research and Treatment. 173 (1), 217-224

Cayir, A., Barrow, TM., Wang, H., Liu, H., Li, C., Ding, N., Li, Y., Kang, C-M., Guo, L., Li, P-H. and Byun, H-M., (2018). Occupational noise exposure is associated with hypertension in China: Results from project ELEFANT. PLOS ONE. 13 (12), e0209041-e0209041

Sae‐Lee, C., Corsi, S., Barrow, TM., Kuhnle, GGC., Bollati, V., Mathers, JC. and Byun, H., (2018). Dietary Intervention Modifies DNA Methylation Age Assessed by the Epigenetic Clock. Molecular Nutrition & Food Research. 62 (23), e1800092-

Guo, L., Peng, C., Xu, H., Wilson, A., Li, P-H., Wang, H., Liu, H., Shen, L., Chen, X., Qi, X., Tang, N-J., Barrow, TM. and Byun, H-M., (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), 182-

Xu, H., Li, P-H., Barrow, TM., Colicino, E., Li, C., Song, R., Liu, H., Tang, N-J., Liu, S., Guo, L. and Byun, H-M., (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-e0207929

Barrow, TM., Byun, H-M., Li, X., Smart, C., Wang, Y-X., Zhang, Y., Baccarelli, AA. and Guo, L., (2017). The effect of morphine upon DNA methylation in ten regions of the rat brain. Epigenetics. 12 (12), 1038-1047

Guo, L., Li, P-H., Li, H., Colicino, E., Colicino, S., Wen, Y., Zhang, R., Feng, X., Barrow, TM., Cayir, A., Baccarelli, AA. and Byun, H-M., (2017). Effects of environmental noise exposure on DNA methylation in the brain and metabolic health. Environmental Research. 153, 73-82

Barrow, TM., Klett, H., Toth, R., Böhm, 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. The Journal of Pathology. 243 (3), 366-375

Barrow, TM., 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), 537-547

Byun, H-M. and Barrow, TM., (2015). Analysis of Pollutant-Induced Changes in Mitochondrial DNA Methylation. Methods in molecular biology (Clifton, N.J.). 1265, 271-283

Tabish, AM., Baccarelli, AA., Godderis, L., Barrow, TM., Hoet, P. and Byun, H-M., (2015). Assessment of Changes in Global DNA Methylation Levels by Pyrosequencing® of Repetitive Elements. Methods in molecular biology (Clifton, N.J.). 1315, 201-207

Barrow, TM. and Michels, KB., (2014). Epigenetic epidemiology of cancer. Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications. 455 (1-2), 70-83

Barrow, TM. and Byun, H-M., (2014). Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms on DNA Methylation Microarrays: precautions Against Confounding. Epigenomics. 6 (6), 577-579

Joosen, AMCP., Kuhnle, GGC., Aspinall, SM., Barrow, TM., Lecommandeur, E., Azqueta, A., Collins, AR. and Bingham, SA., (2009). Effect of processed and red meat on endogenous nitrosation and DNA damage. Carcinogenesis. 30 (8), 1402-1407

Book chapters (1)

Barrow, TM., (2018). Epigenetic Epidemiology for Cancer Risk. In: Epigenetic Mechanisms in Cancer. Elsevier. 195- 222. 9780128095522

Grants and funding


A Novel Clinical Test for Measuring Treatment Response in Leukaemia Patients

[UOE_BIAA] University of Essex (BBSRC IAA)

HOXA genes as drivers of venetoclax resistance in chronic lymphocytic leukaemia

British Society for Haematology


Developing novel markers of minimal residual disease for chronic lymphocytic leukemia

Leukemia Research Foundation



3SW.4.32, Colchester Campus

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