Neil Hunter, PhD

Neil Hunter

Position Title

Department of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics
College of Biological Sciences
Department of Cell Biology and Human Anatomy
School of Medicine


Area of Research

  • Dr. Hunter's research aims to understand the mechanism and regulation of homologous recombination, and the influence of genetics and the environment on this essential process. Recombination is essential for genome integrity, facilitates accurate chromosome segregation at the first division of meiosis and produces new combinations of gene alleles upon which natural selection can act. Cancer and recurrent genetic diseases (resulting from de novo chromosome rearrangements) are associated with defects in recombination in somatic cells. Infertility, pregnancy miscarriage, aneuploid diseases (such as Down Syndrome) and de novo chromosome rearrangements are associated with defects in recombination in the germline. Thus, defective recombination is a leading cause of cancer, of pregnancy loss and congenital disease in humans. Successful meiotic recombination is also an important determinant of the ovarian reserve (the size and quality of the oocyte pool), which dictates reproductive lifespan in females. Genetic and environmental factors are important yet understudied modifiers of meiotic recombination.