Dr Una Fairbrother

Dr Una Fairbrother is the Interim Head of the School of Human Sciences.  The School consists of three subject areas: Health Sciences, Biosciences and Molecular and Pharmaceutical Science. Dr Fairbrother is also a specialist in Genetics and Genomics at undergraduate, postgraduate and PhD level.

Female academic Una Fairbrother stands against a railing and a potted plant as she smiles to camera.

Dr Una Fairbrother

Current position

  • Interim Head of School of Human Sciences, London Metropolitan University 2019-20
  • Head of Biosciences, London Metropolitan University, 2016 to 2019
  • Academic leader for Applied Biological Science, London Metropolitan University, 2013-2016
  • Principal lecturer for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, 2009-2013
  • Senior lecturer for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, 2006-2009

Membership of professional bodies


  • PhD: ‘DMDL, an autosomal homologue of X linked dystrophin; gene expression and cDNA cloning' Human Biochemical Genetics Unit / UCL (1989-1993)
  • BSc Biochemistry, King's College, University of London (1984-1987)

Recent research awards

  • £12,000 award from London Met to purchase Agilent qPCR machine (2018)
  • £2,500 award from London Met to present at the ESHG Milan (2018)
  • £3,000 award from London Met for collaboration with FOSCAL:Colombian Children’s hospital ‘Obesity and children’ DNA collection (2012)
  • £3,000 award from London Met for collaboration with UCL and St Georges 'Telomere length in health and disease of Colombian children' (2014)

Dr Fairbrother undertakes genetics and genomics specialist teaching at undergraduate and postgraduate levels.

Recent research

Dr Fairbrother's primary interest is how genetics and the environment interact with each other. Specific research includes:

  • the tracking and monitoring of environmental interactions using biomarkers (such as telomere length) allowing simple interventions to improve life expectancy. Collaborators include Dr A Walley, St Georges Hospital Medical School, University of London, Professor Patricio Jaramillio and Fundación Oftalmológica De Santander.
  • the genetics of obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular complications and diseases related to ageing: telomere length in health and disease. Collaborators include Dr A Walley, St George's Hospital Medical School, London, Dr Jessica Buxton and University College London (UCL).
  • the genetics of the formation of microvesicles and their role in host susceptibility to intracellular infection. Collaborators include Professor Jameel Inal, London Met, Dr Sheelagh Heugh and London Met.
  • the role in inter-individual differences in body mass and bone density and interaction with smoking. Collaborators include Professor Alex Blakemore and Brunel University.
  • investigating telomere length as a biomarker for socio-economic disadvantages in Irish immigrant populations in Britain with Prof Don MacRaild, London Met.

Dr Fairbrother is a also a member of London Met's research centre, the Molecular Systems for Health Research Group.  This is a multi-disciplinary group with expertise in chemistry, phytochemistry, pharmacology, molecular biology and genetics, and is focused on strategic areas of analytical, diagnostic and therapeutic applications in biomedical science. 

  • Fairbrother U, Kidd ED, MalagamuwaT, Walley A, (2018): Genetics of Severe Obesity. Current Diabetes Reports

  • Fairbrother U, Kidd ED, Buxton JL, Le Page-Pezet J, Cohen DD, P. Lopez-Jaramillo P, Blakemore AIF, Walley A (2018) ‘Blood glucose, BMI and telomere length in a cohort of Colombian schoolchildren’(Control No. 2018-A-737-ESHG)

  • Kidd ED, Walley A, Buxton JL, Le Page-Pezet J, Cohen DD, Lopez-Jaramillo P, Blakemore AIFFairbrother U, (2018) Impact of diet, household income and stress on telomere length in a cohort of Colombian schoolchildren.’(Control No. 2018-A-746-ESHG)

  • Inal JM, Fairbrother U, Heugh S (2013) Microvesiculation and disease Biochem SocTrans 41:237-240

  • Laura K Towns, Marlene Attard, Dr Andrew J Walley, Dr Una L Fairbrother (2011) HHEX is associated with T2D in a South Asian Population. ESHG

  • Laura K Towns, Marlene Attard, Dr Andrew J Walley, Dr Una L Fairbrother(2010) HHEX-IDE genotype is associated with birth weight in South Asians ESHG

  • De Smith, A, Walters, R, Ellis, R, Holder, S, Van Haelst, M, Brady, A, Fairbrother, U,Dattani, M, Keogh, J,  Henning, E,  Yeo, G, O’Rahilly, S, Froguel, P, Farooqi, I. S, Blakemore, A. (2009) A Deletion of the HBII-85 Class of Small Nucleolar RNAs (snoRNAs) is Associated with Hyperphagia, Obesity and Hypogonadism. Hum Mol Genet.2009 18:3257-65

  • Laura K Towns, Marlene Attard, Dr Andrew J Walley, Dr Una L Fairbrother(2009) HHEX-IDE genotype is a risk factor for IUGR in South Asians. BSHG

  • de Smith A, Purmann C, Walters RG, Ellis RJ, Holder SE, Van Haelst MM, Brady AF, Fairbrother UL, Dattani M, Keogh JM,  Henning E, Yeo GH, O’Rahilly S, Froguel P, Farooqi SI, F. Blakemore AIF (2009) Elucidating the aetiology of Prader-Willi syndrome – deletion of the HBII-85 class of snoRNA is associated with hyperphagia, obesity and hypogonadism BSHG

Email: u.fairbrother@londonmet.ac.uk

Telephone: +44 (0)20 7133 4334

Room: T12-03, Tower Building