Professor Caroline Relton
Prof of Gen & Epigenetic Epidemiology

  • Email:
  • Telephone: +44 (0) 191 2418623
  • Address: Institute of Genetic Medicine
    Newcastle University
    Bioscience Centre
    Central Parkway
    Newcastle upon Tyne
    NE1 3BZ


1989 BSc(Hons), Applied Biology and Nutritional Science
1990 PGCE, Science (11-18)
1998 PhD, Molecular Genetics of Insulin Resistance

Previous Positions

1999-2003 Scientist/Senior Scientist, Westlakes Research Institute

2003-2006 Senior Research Associate, Newcastle University 

2006-2009 Lecturer, Genetic Epidemiology, Newcastle University 

Research Interests

Epigenetic variation in common complex disease

Other Expertise

Genetic epidemiology

Current Work

My primary research interest is in understanding the role of epigenetic variation on health. Epigenetic modifications to the genome have a major influence on gene expression but little is known about how epigenetic patterns vary at a population level. We are applying DNA methylation microarray and high-throughput quantitative methods (Pyrosequencing and Sequenom MassArray) for the large scale analysis of epigenetic patterns to investigate both the determinants of epigenetic variation (genetic and environmental) and the consequences with respect to common complex diseases.

Current research activities include;

(a) The investigation of changes in epigenetic patterns and gene expression profiles in children with different postnatal growth trajectories to establish the role of epigenetic mechanisms in early life programming

(b) The role of epigenetic mechanisms in the development and consequences of obesity

(c) The role of epigenetic variation in ageing and type 2 diabetes, with particular reference to underlying DNA sequence variation

(d) Inter-ethnic (Indo-European) comparison of DNA methylation signatures

(e) The role of DNA methylation in mitochondrial disorders

(f) The identification of dynamic epigenetic signatures in fetal development

(g) The identification of epigenetic biomarkers in post stroke dementia

(h) The role of epigenetic variation in relation to healthy ageing in women across the menopausal transition

(i) A programme of epigenetic research in the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children relating to a wide range of early life exposures and subsequent influences on development

(j) Development and application of a ‘genetical epigenomics’ approach, applying the principle of Mendelian randomization to the analysis of epigenetic data to strengthen causal inference.

(k) Management of a large EUFP7 International Research Staff Exchange programme in Genomic and Epigenomic Complex Disease Epidemiology (GEoCoDE)

(l) The establishment of an Accessible Resource for Integrated Epigenomic Studies (ARIES)

Postgraduate Supervision

MD Student supervision
MRes student supervision
PhD student supervision


BDF Newlife
EU FP6 & FP7
Children's Foundation
March of Dimes

Newcastle Healthcare Charity
JGW Patterson Foundation
NIHR Biomedical Research Centre for Ageing and Age-Related Research

Wellcome Trust


Undergraduate Teaching

ACE3051 Human Nutrition and Health

BM3014 Biology of Ageing 

Postgraduate Teaching

MRes Medical and Molecular Biosciences: Clinical Epidemiology

MSc Public Health and Health Services Research: Applied Epidemiology