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Obituary: Denise P. Barlow (1950 to 2017)

23 Oct 2017
Denise Barlow at the IMP in the early 1990ies.

With great sadness, we have learned that Prof. Dr. Denise P. Barlow, a former IMP Group Leader, passed away after severe illness at the age of 67 on 21 October 2017. Denise retired two years ago as a principal investigator at the Center for Molecular Medicine (CeMM) in Vienna.

Denise joined the newly founded IMP in 1988 and worked as a Group Leader until 1996. She was a passionate young scientist with a strong desire to understand genomic imprinting. After only three years at the IMP, she made a major breakthrough discovery by identifying the first mammalian imprinted gene, coding for the insulin-like growth factor type-2 receptor (Barlow et al., 1991 Nature 349, 84-87). Ever since, she continued to make important contributions to our current understanding on how imprinting through the expression of long-noncoding RNA regulates gene activity in normal physiological and disease conditions. Denise became a world-renowned epigeneticist, who strongly impacted her field.  

Denise worked as a state-registered nurse in the United Kingdom before she started and completed her PhD studies at the University of Warwick. Subsequently, she performed postdoctoral research at the Imperial Cancer Research Fund (ICRF) Laboratories in London and at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) in Heidelberg before being recruited to the IMP. 

After her successful stay at the IMP, she moved on to group leader positions at the Netherlands Cancer Institute (NKI) in Amsterdam and the Institute of Molecular Biology of the Austrian Academy of Sciences in Salzburg. In 2003, she joined CeMM as a founding member, where she continued her epigenetic research at the highest level until her recent retirement.

Denise was elected as an EMBO member in 1995 and became an honorary professor of genetics at the University of Vienna. In 2014, Denise Barlow received the Erwin Schrödinger Prize of the Austrian Academy of Sciences and the EMBO/EMBL Austrian Chapter Achievement Award Medal for her lifetime achievements. 

We will sadly miss Denise as a friend and great scientist.

Further Reading 

Denise Barlow, a career in epigenetics:

Barlow et al., The mouse insulin-like growth factor type-2 receptor is imprinted and closely linked to the Tme locus. Nature.