Ellen Birgitte Lane


Professor Birgitte Lane is Executive Director of A*STAR’s Institute of Medical Biology, and Co-Executive Director (Scientific) of the Skin Research Institute of Singapore. She came to Singapore in 2005 after working at the University of Dundee, where she held the Cox Chair of Anatomy & Cell Biology until 2009.  She obtained her BSc and PhD degrees in Zoology at University College London. Thereafter she held postdoctoral fellowships at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, Imperial College (London) and Imperial Cancer Research Fund (now Cancer Research UK) Laboratories at Lincoln’s Inn Fields (where she obtained a staff position and started her own research team), and later Clare Hall Laboratories before moving to Dundee. Her research career has focused on epithelial biology, particularly in genetic skin diseases, the keratin filament cytoskeleton, skin cancer and recently wound healing, and she has over 240 publications.  

 Professor Birgitte Lane is distinguished for her contribution to the understanding of the epithelial cell cytoskeleton in tissue structure and pathology. She has been a major player in establishing the links between mutations in keratin genes and human skin diseases, determining the basis of more than 15 distinct inherited genetic skin diseases. She led her research team to becoming a central reference point in the field and a leading laboratory for generating and supplying monoclonal antibodies to keratins and epithelial cell lines to the broader community. Her research team has made many important contributions to understanding the central role of filament protein networks in the function of epithelial sheet tissues of the body, and her recent studies on the cellular effects of keratin mutations are generating novel approaches to therapy for these rare and incurable conditions. Birgit Lane has contributed to the wider UK national scientific community through her involvement in significant committees (Research Assessment Exercise, Wellcome Trust, Lister Institute, Cancer Research UK). She played an important part in the early stages of setting up the Wellcome Trust Biocentre at the University of Dundee and led the formation of the Division of Cell and Developmental Biology at Dundee in the 1990s.  She successfully trained and mentored internationally prominent scientists including Professor Xin Lu, FMedSci. (Ludwig Institute Director, Oxford) and Professor Irwin McLean FRS, FMedSci  (Dundee).

Since 2005, she has been helping to build the Biomedical Sciences Initiative in Singapore, leading the Centre for Molecular Medicine, before founding A*STAR’s Institute of Medical Biology in 2007, and later the Skin Research Institute of Singapore in 2013. Her success in this work is characterized by her achievement of radical reshaping and restructuring of a young scientific community to meet government objectives whilst maintaining growth in volume, morale and scientific reputation.