Helen McRobie

Helen McRobie

Senior Lecturer

Office: OPT 028
Tel: 0845 196 5083
Email: helen.mcrobie@anglia.ac.uk


Senior Lecturer in Biomedical Science


Module Leader
Principles of Genetics

Other modules
Foundation Biology
Core Biology
Human Anatomy and Physiology
Preparation for Research
Laboratory Techniques for the Biomedical Sciences
Undergraduate Research Project

Research interests

  • Pharmacological characterisation of the MC1R in the melanistic and wild-type grey squirrel.
  • The genetic basis of melanism in the grey, fox, red and palm squirrels. (The Black Squirrel Project website)
  • Pleiotropy of the MC1R gene.
  • Genetic diversity of the grey squirrel as an invasive species in Great Britain.

Media work

BBC 1 The One Show
BBC 1 Inside Out
BBC 2 Countryfile
BBC 2 Country Tracks
BBC 1 Breakfast
BBC 1 Look East
ITV Anglia News
Channel 4 Foxes Live: Wild in the City

BBC Radio 4 Shared Earth
BBC Radio 4 Material World
BBC Radio Cambridgeshire, West Midlands, 3 Counties (Beds, Bucks, Herts)
BBC Radio Five Live

Black Squirrels
Black Fox
Material World podcast


McRobie, H., King L., Symmons M., Fanutti C., and Coussons, P. (2014) Agouti signalling protein is an inverse agonist to the wildtype and agonist to the melanic variant of the melanocortin- 1 receptor in the grey squirrel (Sciurus carolinensis). FEBS Letters, 588 pp. 2335-2343. Doi: 10.1016/j.febslet.2014.05.032

McRobie, H., King, L., Fanutti, C., Coussons, P., Moncrief, N., and Thomas, A. (2014) Melanocortin 1 receptor (MC1R) gene sequence variation and melanism in the grey (Sciurus carolinensis), fox (Sciurus niger) and red (Sciurus vulgaris) squirrel. Journal of Heredity, 105 pp.423-8. Doi: 10.1093/jhered/esu006.

McRobie, H., King, L., Symmons, M., Fanutti, C., and Coussons, P. (2013). An Eight Amino Acid Deletion in the Melanocortin-1 Receptor Leads to a Constitutively Active Receptor in the Grey Squirrel (Sciurus carolinensis). Biochemical Society, York, UK.

McRobie, H., Fanutti, C., Symmons, M., and Coussons, P. (2012). A Model of the Deletion Mutant of Melanocortin 1 Receptor (MC1RD24) Derived from a Melanic Form of the Grey Squirrel (Sciurus carolinensis) Biochemical Society, Prato, Italy.

McRobie, H. (2012). Black Squirrels: Genetics and Distribution. Quarterly Journal of Forestry, 106 (2), pp 137-141.
McRobie, H., Thomas, A., Kelly, J. (2009). The genetic basis of melanism in the grey squirrel (Sciurus carolinensis). Journal of Heredity,100(6), pp709-714.
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