Dr Nicolae Zabet

Visiting Fellow
School of Life Sciences
Dr Nicolae Zabet
  • Email

  • Telephone

    +44 (0) 1206 872630

  • Location

    3SW.3.16, Colchester Campus



I am a computer scientist by training (BSc and MSc in Control Systems Engineering at University “Politehnica” of Bucharest and PhD in Computer Science, University of Kent). During my PhD (2007-2010), I become interested in applying computer sciences and theoretical physics methods to genomics focusing on understanding the physical limits of gene regulatory networks. Following the PhD, I did a six-month postdoc with Dr Tobias von der Haar at University of Kent, working on translation machinery in yeast. In 2011, I was awarded an MRC Training Fellowship in Bioinformatics and joined Dr Boris Adryan lab at Department of Genetics, University of Cambridge. Here, I investigated the role of the diffusion of transcription factors on gene regulation, focusing on facilitated diffusion (the combination of 3D diffusion of transcription factors in the cytoplasm/nucleus combined with the 1D random walk on the DNA). During 2014-2015, I moved to Dr Jerzy Paszkowski’s lab at The Sainsbury Laboratory, University of Cambridge, where I worked on plant epigenetics (focusing on transgenerational stability of DNA methylation patterns in plant genomes). Since September 2015, I have started my own group at School of Biological Sciences at University of Essex. My lab combines computational biology and wet lab to understand the role of chromatin three-dimensional organisation on gene regulation in Drosophila melanogaster.


  • PhD in Computer Science University of Kent, (2011)

  • M.Eng. degree in Open Architecture Systems Polytechnic University of Bucharest, (2008)

  • B.Eng. degree in Automatic Control and Industrial Informatics Polytechnic University of Bucharest, (2006)


University of Essex

  • Lecturer, School of Biological Sciences, University of Essex (16/9/2015 - present)

Other academic

  • Research Associate, The Sainsbury Laboratory, University of Cambridge (1/6/2014 - 15/9/2015)

  • MRC Bioinformatics Training Fellow, Department of Genetics, University of Cambridge (1/5/2011 - 30/4/2014)

  • Research Associate, Centre for Molecular Processing, University of Kent (1/10/2010 - 31/3/2011)

Research and professional activities

Research interests

Mechanistic understanding of gene regulation

Diffusion of transcription factors

Noise in gene expression

Current research

DNA methylation patterns in plants and mamals. From tools to functional genomics.

Teaching and supervision

Previous supervision

Patrick Cedric Nathan Martin
Patrick Cedric Nathan Martin
Thesis title: Dissecting the Binding Mechanisms of Transcription Factors to Dna Using a Statistical Thermodynamics Framework
Degree subject: Biological Sciences
Degree type: Doctor of Philosophy
Awarded date: 16/6/2020
Ana-Maria Dumitrana
Ana-Maria Dumitrana
Thesis title: Modelling Transcription Factors Diffusion in 3D Using Hi-C Data
Degree subject: Biological Sciences
Degree type: Master of Science (by Dissertation)
Awarded date: 8/6/2020


Journal articles (23)

Fiorilli, V., Catoni, M., Lanfranco, L. and Zabet, NR., (2020). Editorial: Interactions of Plants With Bacteria and Fungi: Molecular and Epigenetic Plasticity of the Host. Frontiers in Plant Science. 11, 274-

Martin, PCN. and Zabet, NR., (2020). Dissecting the binding mechanisms of transcription factors to DNA using a statistical thermodynamics framework. Computational and Structural Biotechnology Journal. 18, 3590-3605

Chathoth, KT. and Zabet, NR., (2019). Chromatin architecture reorganisation during neuronal cell differentiation in Drosophila genome. Genome Research. 29 (4), 613-625

Bottani, S., Zabet, NR., Wendel, JF. and Veitia, RA., (2018). Gene expression dominance in allopolyploids: hypotheses and models.. Trends in Plant Science. 23 (5), 393-402

Catoni, M., Tsang, JMF., Greco, AP. and Zabet, NR., (2018). DMRcaller: a versatile R/Bioconductor package for detection and visualization of differentially methylated regions in CpG and non-CpG contexts. Nucleic Acids Research. 46 (19), e114-

Zabet, NR., Catoni, M., Prischi, F. and Paszkowski, J., (2017). Cytosine methylation at CpCpG sites triggers accumulation of non-CpG methylation in gene bodies. Nucleic Acids Research. 45 (7), gkw1330-gkw1330

Catoni, M., Griffiths, J., Becker, C., Zabet, NR., Bayon, C., Dapp, M., Lieberman‐Lazarovich, M., Weigel, D. and Paszkowski, J., (2017). DNA sequence properties that predict susceptibility to epiallelic switching. The EMBO Journal. 36 (5), 617-628

Sanchez, D., Gaubert, H., Drost, HG., Zabet, NR. and Paszkowski, J., (2017). High-frequency recombination between members of an LTR retrotransposon family during transposition bursts. Nature Communications. 8 (1), 1283-

Zabet, NR. and Adryan, B., (2015). Estimating binding properties of transcription factors from genome-wide binding profiles. Nucleic Acids Research. 43 (1), 84-94

Ezer, D., Zabet, NR. and Adryan, B., (2014). Homotypic clusters of transcription factor binding sites: A model system for understanding the physical mechanics of gene expression. Computational and Structural Biotechnology Journal. 10 (17), 63-69

Ezer, D., Zabet, NR. and Adryan, B., (2014). Physical constraints determine the logic of bacterial promoter architectures. Nucleic Acids Research. 42 (7), 4196-4207

Schoech, AP. and Zabet, NR., (2014). Facilitated diffusion buffers noise in gene expression. Physical Review E. 90 (3), 032701-

Zabet, NR., Foy, R. and Adryan, B., (2013). The Influence of Transcription Factor Competition on the Relationship between Occupancy and Affinity. PLoS ONE. 8 (9), e73714-e73714

Zabet, NR. and Adryan, B., (2013). The effects of transcription factor competition on gene regulation. Frontiers in Genetics. 4 (OCT), 197-

Zabet, NR. and Adryan, B., (2012). GRiP: a computational tool to simulate transcription factor binding in prokaryotes. Bioinformatics. 28 (9), 1287-1289

Zabet, NR. and Adryan, B., (2012). A comprehensive computational model of facilitated diffusion in prokaryotes. Bioinformatics. 28 (11), 1517-1524

Zabet, NR. and Adryan, B., (2012). Computational models for large-scale simulations of facilitated diffusion. Molecular BioSystems. 8 (11), 2815-2815

Zabet, NR., (2012). System size reduction in stochastic simulations of the facilitated diffusion mechanism. BMC Systems Biology. 6 (1), 121-121

Chu, D., Zabet, NR. and von der Haar, T., (2012). A novel and versatile computational tool to model translation. Bioinformatics. 28 (2), 292-293

Chu, DF., Zabet, NR. and Hone, ANW., (2011). Optimal parameter settings for information processing in gene regulatory networks. Biosystems. 104 (2-3), 99-108

Zabet, NR., (2011). Negative feedback and physical limits of genes. Journal of Theoretical Biology. 284 (1), 82-91

Zabet, NR. and Chu, DF., (2010). Computational limits to binary genes. Journal of The Royal Society Interface. 7 (47), 945-954

Chu, D., Zabet, NR. and Mitavskiy, B., (2009). Models of transcription factor binding: Sensitivity of activation functions to model assumptions. Journal of Theoretical Biology. 257 (3), 419-429

Conferences (3)

Zabet, NR. and Adryan, B., (2012). A Comprehensive Computational Model to Simulate Transcription Factor Binding in Prokaryotes

Zabet, NR., Hone, ANW. and Chu, DF., (2010). Design principles of transcriptional logic circuits

Zabet, NR. and Chu, DF., (2010). Stochasticity and Robustness in Bi-Stable Systems

Grants and funding


Investigating the effects of chromatin architecture on gene regulation

Wellcome Trust

+44 (0) 1206 872630


3SW.3.16, Colchester Campus