Skip to main content

University of Exeter Medical School

 Ailsa MacCalman

Ailsa MacCalman

PhD Student


 RILD Building 


University of Exeter Medical School, RILD Building, RD&E Hospital Wonford, Barrack Road, Exeter, EX2 5DW, UK


Ailsa was awarded a PhD studentship at the University of Exeter in 2019, under the supervision of Professor Jon Mill, Dr Elisa De Franco, and Dr Aaron Jeffries with collaboration from Professor Noel Morgan, and Professor Andrew Hattersley. Ailsa graduated with her Masters degree in Biomedical Science in 2018 from the University of Lincoln, where she researched autoimmune responses in Type 1 diabetes patients and HLA-DR4/DQ8 transgenic mice. With a keen interest in diabetes research, Ailsa took on the role of a research technician with the Diabetes and Metabolism group at the University of Bristol, before accepting her PhD studentship.
Ailsa’s project is focused on genomic regulation in the development of the human pancreas. Her project will evaluate the epigenetic and transcriptional changes which occur in the pancreas as it develops in utero, and compare this to patterns of gene regulation in the fully developed adult pancreas- facilitating a systematic exploration of hypotheses related to the developmental origins of diseases affecting the pancreas.


  • MBio (integrated Masters) in Biomedical Science (2018)

Back to top


Research interests

Previous research interests involved antibody epitope recognition of the autoantigen IA-2 in patients with Type 1 Diabetes and in HLA-DR4/DQ8 transgenic mice, and the effects of altering major epitopes on antibody binding.

Current research involves using cutting-edge genomic methods and statistical tools to examine patterns of gene regulation pancreatic tissue samples spanning the period of prenatal development to adult tissue. To first examine which genes become activated in the development of the pancreas, and assess the molecular (epigenetic) 'switches' that are involved in their activation. Second, to use novel long-read sequencing approaches to explore how different forms of each gene are activated across development and compare this with activated genes in the adult pancreas. Third, to explore how genetic variation may impact upon patterns of gene activation before and after birth. 

Research projects

Current Projects:

  • Characterising genomic regulation in human pancreatic development

Back to top

Edit Profile