Professor Mark Birch-Machin
(1) Professor of Molecular Dermatology (2) Deputy Degree Programme Director MRes (Biotechnology) (3) Co-Founder:Genesis Genomics (now Mitomics) Inc (4) Co-Founder Powerhouse Biologics Ltd

Roles and Responsibilities

Teaching and Administration

As Degree Programme Director, I have designed, created and manage the team which administers the MRes in Medical and Molecular Biosciences which in 2 years has become the largest postgraduate taught programme in the Faculty of Medical Sciences.

In addition, I have regularly and extensively contributed to the national education of sun-awareness using the popular media (see below). I have also given a mini-roadshow on sun-awareness to local schools, a regular Invited Public Speaker at the Discovery Museum Science Show (Newcastle), an ‘expert’ speaker at the European Union Excellence in Cities- Specialist Bioscience Summer School (EU funded).


A) School/Faculty Responsibilities
• 2003-current: Member of Graduate School Executive Group
• 2003-current: Graduate School Committee
• 2003-current: School Teaching Committee
• 2002-current: Chair of MRes Curriculum and Staff-Student committee
• 2003-current: Chair of MRes Exam Board
• 2004: School Biological Safety Supervisor
• 2004: School GM Chair
• 1997-current: Organise/Sponsorship Dermatology (RVI+Univ.) seminar series

B) Service at University Level
• 2004: Member of the University's Learning and Teaching Strategy Review (Chair: Prof Katharine Perera, University of Manchester)
• 2004-current: Lay Member of Academic Selection Committee
• 2003: University Teaching and Learning Panel Member to assess the viability of a new programme i.e. MRes in Bioinfomatics.

C) University and External bodies
• 2002- Current: Director on the North Eastern Skin Research Fund
• 2002- Current: Chair of the International Scientific Advisory Board for Genesis Genomics, Canada
• 2001:2006: Treasurer of the British Society of Investigative Dermatology
• 2002-2004: Press spokesperson for CRUK, Sunsmart campaign

I also teach, assess and contribute to curriculum development on undergraduate degree courses (Biomedical Sciences BSc. and the MBBS)


July 1983 B.Sc. (Hons) II(i) Biological Sciences
specialising in biochemistry. University of East Anglia

July 1987 Ph.D. in biochemistry, University of East Anglia.

June 1997 Certificate in Learning and Teaching in Higher Education
(Faculty of Education), University of Newcastle upon Tyne

Previous Positions

August 2005: Professor in Molecular Dermatology
2003-2005: Reader in Molecular Dermatology
2001-2003: Senior Lecturer, Department of Dermatology, University of Newcastle upon Tyne
1995 - 2001: Lecturer, Department of Dermatology, University of Newcastle upon Tyne
1994 - 1995: Senior INSERM scientist (1 year appt.) Hôpital Necker, Paris, France
1992 - 1994: Lecturer, Department of Biochemistry and Genetics, University of Newcastle upon Tyne
1986 - 1992: Post-Doctoral Research Associate, Division of Clinical Neuroscience, School of Neurosciences, University of Newcastle upon Tyne. (including 4 months during 1989 at the University of Oregon, USA.


· Elected Committee member and Treasurer of the British Society of Investigative Dermatology 1999-2006(BSID),
· Chair of the International Scientific Advisory Board Member for Genesis Genomics Inc.
· Director on the North Eastern Skin Research Fund.
· Advisory panel member for the Science Media Centre (London)
. Advisor for the ASA

Research Interests

The work in my research group focuses on the cutaneous response to ultraviolet radiation (UVR) in terms of skin ageing and cancer and the molecular genetics of skin cancer. Specific areas of research are:
· Mitochondria and UVR; in particular the novel approach of using mitochondrial DNA, rather than nuclear DNA, as a biomarker of cumulative UVR exposure.
· Molecular genetics of skin cancer; in particular the role of mitochondrial DNA mutations in the development of human non-melanoma skin cancer.
· The cutaneous response to ultraviolet radiation, including signalling mechanisms and the therapeutic use of UVR in skin disease.
· The role of mitochondria in the therapeutic action of dithranol in psoriasis
· The role of mitochondria in UV-induced oxidative stress.
· The relationship between oxidative stress, ageing and nutritional status.
· The role of mitochondrial DNA mutations in the ageing process
· Melanoma Therapy
· Mitochondrial DNA damage and Oral Cancer
· Anti-Oxidants (dietary and cosmetic (topical))

Other Expertise

·Mitochondrial DNA and ageing.
·Mitochondrial DNA and cancer (e.g prostate cancer).
·Sunscreen Testing
·Sun Awareness

Esteem Indicators

1. International keynote speaker: 

·         European Thyroid Cancer Research meeting, Warsaw, POLAND (August, 2001).

·         Universidad de Los Andes, Bogota, COLOMBIA (January 2004)

·         7th International Symposium, Predictive Oncology Strategies, Nice, France,  (Feb. 2004)

·         European Society of Dermatological Research (ESDR), Vienna, Austria, (Sept. 2004)

·         Sun Protection conference, Royal Society, London (2005)

·         Proctor and Gamble International Science Symposium, UK (2005)

·         European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology (EADV), Rhodes, Greece (2006)

·         European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology,Vienna (2007) (two invited keynote lectures)

·         Unilever Anti-aging symposium, Trumbull, USA (February 2008)

·         Dermatology update, Whistler, Canada (April 2008)

·         Anti-ageing skin care conference, Royal College of Physicians, London, UK, June 2008

·         Innovative anti-cancer drugs  and strategies, 1st symposium, UK 2010

·         Targeting Mitochondria, Berlin 2011

·         European Society for Photobiology, Geneva 2011

·         ESDR, Barcelona, 2011

·         Mitochondria symposium, Luebeck, Universitätsklinikum Schleswig-Holstein, Germany 2011

·         Irish Radiation Research Society Conference 2011, Sligo, Ireland

·         Targeting Mitochondria 2011 International Conference, Berlin, Germany 2011

·          5th Skin academy symposium, challenges in Skin disease management, Barcelona, Spain 2012

·         Tomatoes and Health, Royal Society of Medicine, London, UK 2012

·         American Society for Dermatologic Surgery, Atlanta, 2012

·         European Radiation Research, Dublin 2013

·         6th Asia and Oceania conference on photobiology, Sydney 2013 

(b) National keynote speaker:

·         Biogerontology Research Symposium, June 2002.

·         Cancer Research UK Sunsmart Campaign launch, London, Feb. 2003.

·         Practical Update in Dermatology, Lumley Castle, Durham, March 2004.

·         Practical Update in Dermatology, Lumley Castle, Durham, February 2006

·         British Association of Cosmetic Doctors, March 2006

·         Health Protection Agency (Toxicology), University of Surrey, May 2006

·         70th Anniversary Oral Surgery Association of Great Britain, November 2006

·         The Academy of Pharmaceutical Sciences, London, April 2007

·         British Association of Dermatologists annual conference (BPG symposium), Birmingham 2007

·         United Kingdom Environmental Mutagen Society, Newcastle, June 2008

·         CPTA (cosmetic, toiletry, and perfumery association) meeting, London (April 2009)

·         Almirall annual meeting, Telford, May 2009

·         British Society for Research on Ageing, Manchester (June 2009)

·         British Cosmetic Dermatology Group, Manchester 2010

·         Public Lecture, Royal Institution, London 2011

·         Primary Care Dermatology Society, Oxford 2011

·         Cosmetics Toiletry and Perfumery Association (CPTA), London 2012

2. Co-editor/editorial Board of International Journals:
Clinical and Experimental Dermatology (2004-2007), Experimental Dermatology (2009-current).

3. International Advisory/editorial Boards:
• Chair of the International Scientific Advisory Board of Genesis Genomics Inc. (includes researchers who collectively have worked with four Nobel Prize Scientists), Canada (2003-current)
• Expert Advisor for the Complaints and Investigations Board of the UK Advertising Standards Authority (2006-current)
• Member of the Editorial board of Experimental Dermatology (2010-current)
• Invited Member of the SunSmart Advisory Board, Cancer Research UK, April 2010-current

4. National Dermatology:
Member of the British Skin Foundation small grants award committee (2010-current)
Elected Treasurer (2002-2006) and Member of the organising and abstract selection committee of the British Society of Investigative Dermatology (BSID)which is the national body for investigative dermatology research in the UK.

Other esteem indicators

•Invited member on NESTA (July 2011) to inform the Labour party policy review led by Chi Onwurah MP, Shadow Minister for Innovation and Science,

 • Regular Reviewer for International Journals: e.g. Biochim Biophys Acta, European Journal of Human Genetics, British Journal of Cancer, European Journal of Biochemistry, the International Journal of Biochemistry, the Journal of Investigative Dermatology, the British Journal of Dermatology, Clinical Endocrinology, International Journal of Experimental Pathology, Clinical and Experimental Dermatology, Aging Cell, Clin Chim Acta, Experimental Dermatology, British Journal of Nutrition, Photochemistry and Photobiological sciences and International Journal of Cosmetic science.
• Peer Review Assistant for SickKids Foundation, Toronto, Canada
• Expert reviewer for the The Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC)
• Review of National Grants: MRC,BBSRC, British Skin Foundation, AICR, Hospitals Charitable Trusts in Sheffield and Oxford.
• Chair of International Science Advisory Board, Genesis Genomics, Thunder Bay, CANADA
• Director of Genesis Genomics Inc., Canada and UK
• A Director of the North Eastern Skin Research Fund.
• Member of Graduate School Executive Committee, Faculty of Medical Sciences,
• Academic Selection Committee Lay member, Faculty of Medical Sciences (2003-2004)
• PhD and MD external thesis examiner
• International and National Conference Organisation:

• International Invited keynote speaker e.g
European Thyroid Cancer Research meeting, Warsaw, POLAND,
Universidad de Los Andes, Dept. of Genetics, Bogota, COLOMBIA,
7th Int. Symposium on Predictive Oncology and Intervention Strategies, Nice, France, Canada (Whistler)
European Society of Dermatological Research (ESDR), Vienna, Austria,
Sun Protection conference, Royal Society, London

Dissemination of knowledge/research to the general public

Television. National:
o This Morning ITV, May 2006, 10 minute live interview by Philip Schofield and Fern Britten
o Truth About Food, BBC2.
o Discovery Health Satellite Channel, Health issues.
o ITN Tonight with Trevor McDonald, July 2003 (full 30 min. programme)
o ITN News at Ten feature on my ‘Sunburnt DNA’ research,.
o Makeovers from Hell, prime time ITV1.
o Live expert interviews on BBC News 24 and Sky News
o BBC Look North Live Studio Interviews
o Tyne Tees TV Interviews,
- This Morning ITV- 10 minute live studio interview, Schofield and Britten,2006
- Truth About Food, BBC2 (2007)
- Tomato/Lycopene story- Look North and Tyne Tees, May 2008
- Northern Eye, Stay Young Forever, Tyne Tees, ITV1, August 2008

- Look North news items, throughout 2009 and 2010

- Bang goes the Theory BBC1, Autumn 2010 
- BBC ONE show 2010

o Swiss National TV documentary
o Medstar TV: North America’s leading Medical and Health News
o Discovery Channel USA
o Launch of Genesis Genomics UK, ITN news and local BBC TV

• National Press Spokesperson on ‘Sunburnt DNA’, DNA damage and Skin Cancer Risk for Cancer Research UK and its Sunsmart campaign
• International and National Radio. Approx. 100 radio interviews over the last 2 years. Highlights are: BBC Radio 4 (Today Programme and The Material World), World Service; The International Media Line Service; BBC Radio 5 Live, BBC Radio Scotland, BBC Radio Newcastle, LBC (London), IRN (circulated to 250 radio stations).
• Online Advice/News: BBC online, Channel 4 Teletext, BBC teletext, Daily Mail online (, Hero (Higher Education and Resource Opportunities in the UK).
• Over 120 National and Local Newspaper articles. Articles featuring my research + quotes on sun awareness have appeared regularly in The Sunday Telegraph, The Times, Independent, Guardian, The Daily Mail, Daily Mirror, Evening Chronicle, Journal, The Northern Echo.
• Over 95 Popular Magazine articles: Marie Claire, NOW, Good House Keeping, Saga, Zest, Woman’s Own, Readers Digest, Eve, Bliss, More and Company.
• Science Media Centre, London. Member of the panel of experts to interface with the press.


Research (including consultancy research contracts) have been funded over the years by:
Cancer Research UK
Cancer Research Technology
The Wellcome Trust
British Skin Foundation
Royal Society
University of Newcastle
Procter and Gamble
Genesis Genomics
North Star Investments
One North East
Department of Trade and Industry
RVI trustees
Technology Strategy Board


Alliance Boots 

Industrial Relevance

Founder:Genesis Genomics UK (now called Mitomics) 

Founder: Powerhouse Biologics Ltd 


• Co-Inventor of the world-wide umbrella patent for Genesis Genomics (GGI) (2003) ((PCT: wo 02101086) complete mitochondrial genome sequences as a diagnostic tool for the health sciences)
• Co-inventor for 2 recent (Oct 2005) GGI patents (US patent office) on Mitochondrial Rearrangements to Diagnose Sun exposure and Cancer a mtDNA deletion (2004) (Number 31726-2017) and The Use of a 3895 BP Mitochondrial DNA Deletion as a Marker for Sunlight Exposure in Human Skin (serial no. is 2,480,184 and the file no: 102222-02).
• Co-inventor : MITOCHONDRIAL SITES AND GENES ASSOCIATED WITH PROSTATE CANCER,United States of America patent office Serial Number: 11/339,751.
• University of Newcastle upon Tyne patent no GB 0600903.9. The use of at least one agent which induces ER stress together with at least one agent which gives rise to protein disulfide isomerase inhibition for the preparation of a medicament for the treatment of cancer.
Secured Jan 2006 Inventors: PE Lovat, CPF Redfern, MA Birch-Machin

Postgraduate Teaching

Deputy Programme Director for the MRes in Medical and Molecular Biosciences.
Strand Leader for the Mres Biotechnology and Business Enterprise.
Module Leader for Medical Biotechnology and Enterprise (MRes)