Featherstone, Mark


Please note that Prof Featherstone will soon be leaving NTU and is therefore not recruiting new personnel.

Featherstone, Mark 

  Featherstone, Mark

  Office: 03n-41
  Telephone: +65 6514 1007
  Email: MSFeatherstone@ntu.edu.sg



  • Ph.D., McGill University, Montreal, Canada

Professional Experience

  • BSc(Hon), University of Ottawa, Canada
  • M.Sc., University of Ottawa, Canada
  • Ph.D., McGill University, Montreal, Canada
  • Postdoctoral studies, IGBMC, Strasbourg, France
  • Staff Scientist, McGill Cancer Centre
  • Professor, Department of Oncology, McGill University

Research Interest



The theme guiding the research directions of the Featherstone lab is the control of developmental programs via regulated gene expression in eukaryotes. We have a longstanding interest in the role of homeoprotein transcription factors, especially Hox proteins and their partners, in regulating developmental programs during vertebrate embryogenesis. Using the zebrafish as a model of vertebrate development, our studies have implicated Hoxd4a, the Meis1 homeoprotein, the Mll1 oncoprotein and the Crtc transcriptional coactivators in primitive hematopoiesis, vasculogenesis, neural crest function and eye development (e.g. Amali 2012). Ongoing work seeks to understand the mechanistic basis for these roles, including the ability of these regulators to influence and be influenced by signal transduction events in the BMP and hedgehog signaling pathways. 



In addition, we have a major research effort directed at understanding the control of gene expression during the red blood cell stage in the human malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum. Our focus has been on distinguishing the extent to which transcriptional regulation controls the highly orchestrated rise and fall of mRNA transcripts during the 48 hours required to infect and replicate within a host red blood cell. To achieve this goal, we have focused on the genome-wide occupancy by RNA polymerase II. Our results reveal distinct early versus late phases in RNA polymerase II occupancy (Rai 2014). Our results further suggest that post-transcriptional regulation plays a major role in the control of mRNA levels during red blood cell infection. Ongoing studies seek to clarify the contributions of transcriptional versus post-transcriptional mechanisms in the red blood cell stage of the parasite’s developmental program.

Amali, A. A., Sie, L., Winkler, C. & Featherstone, M. 2012. Zebrafish hoxd4a acts upstream of meis1.1 to direct vasculogenesis, angiogenesis and hematopoiesis. PLoS ONE 8, e58857.

Rai, R., L., Z., Chen, H., Gupta, A. P., Sze, S. K., Zheng, J., Ruedl, C., Bozdech, Z. & Featherstone, M. 2014. Genome-wide analysis in Plasmodium falciparum reveals early and late phases of RNA polymerase II occupancy during the infectious cycle. BMC Genomics 15, 959.​​​​​