Andreas Werner

Andreas Werner

Institute for Cell and Molecular Biosciences; Newcastle University

Andreas Werner is a trained journalist, language teacher, biochemist and molecular biologist. He works as an associate professor at Newcastle University in RNA biology and pioneered the field of non-protein coding RNAs, in particular natural antisense transcripts. 

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Andreas Werner was trained in Zurich, Switzerland where he received his teaching degree and his BSc/MSc in Biochemistry. He continued his training with a PhD in Physiology at the University of Zurich and moved via Mount Desert Island Biological Laboratory and the Max-Planck-Institute for Molecular Physiology to his current position at Newcastle University. Andreas Werner started working on natural antisense transcripts in the mid nineties -long before the dawn of the genomic area.

He advocats a role for natural antisense in genomic quality control during sperm development. This control, he argues, is an essential step in evolution to mitigate  the potentially deleterious effects of transposon shuffling which takes place twice during human spermatogenesis. This fine balance between random innovation and stringent quality control will allow complex organisms to thrive, despite low progeny numbers and long generation times.

Andreas Werner has been invited to speak at numerous conferences on regulatory RNAs, epigentics and evolution. He has organised a number of pioneering scientific meetings with the aim of combining efforts to decipher a biological role for natural antisense transcripts.

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"There must be a selective advantage not just for new adaptive traits per se, but also, and more generally and potentially more powerfully, for mechanisms to optimize the search for evolutionary innovation and advantage."

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