My main research interests are in the field of cancer epigenetics and epigenetic epidemiology.

My postdoctoral work at Universitatsklinikum Freiburg (Germany) and Brigham and Women's Hospital (Boston, MA) focussed upon epigenetic changes in solid tumours, such as loss of genomic imprinting in breast cancer (Int J Cancer 137(3): 537-47) and smoking-associated hypermethylation of the APC tumour suppressor gene in colorectal cancer (J Pathol 243(3): 366-75).

Methylation of the APC promoter 1A in colorectal cancer by smoking status (J Pathol 243(3): 366-75).

At the Northern Institute for Cancer Research (Newcastle University, UK) I developed an interest in the chronic lymphocytic leukaemia (CLL) epigenome. My work has focused on epigenetic changes during disease progression that modulate drug sensitivity, and analysis of retrotransposon (LINE-1 and Alu) methylation.

I also have an interest in epigenetic changes in response to environmental exposures, especially with regard to how these are implicated in carcinogenesis. My collaborative work has included examining the impact of morphine exposure on nuclear and mitochondrial DNA methylation in different regions of the rat brain (Epigenetics 12(12): 1038-47) and demonstrating, for the first time, that exposure to carcinogenic compounds and endocrine disruptors can modify RNA m6A methylation (Environ Res 175: 228-34).

Global 5-hydroxymethylcytosine levels following acute and chronic morphine exposure in different regions of the rat brain

(Epigenetics 12(12): 1038-47)

Research Publications



Barrow TM, Wong Doo N, Milne RL, Giles GG, Willmore E, Strathdee G, Byun HM. Analysis of retrotransposon subfamily DNA methylation reveals novel early epigenetic changes in chronic lymphocytic leukaemia. Haematologica. 2020 Jan 9. pii: haematol.2019.228478. doi: 10.3324/haematol.2019.228478. 

PMID: 31919093



Cayir A, Barrow TM, Guo L, Byun HM. Exposure to environmental toxicants reduces global N6-methyladenosine RNA methylation and alters expression of RNA methylation modulator genes.

Environ Res. 2019 Aug;175:228-234. doi: 10.1016/j.envres.2019.05.011. Epub 2019 May 14. PMID: 31146095

Barrow TM, Peng C, Wilson A, Wang H, Liu H, Shen L, Tang NJ, Sae-Lee C, Li PH, Guo L, Byun HM. Psychosocial stress is associated with benign breast disease in young Chinese women: results from Project ELEFANT. Breast Cancer Res Treat. 2019 Jan;173(1):217-224. doi: 10.1007/s10549-018-4979-4. Epub 2018 Sep 25. PMID: 30255453



Sae-Lee C, Corsi S, Barrow TM, Kuhnle GGC, Bollati V, Mathers JC, Byun HM. Dietary Intervention Modifies DNA Methylation Age Assessed by the Epigenetic Clock. Mol Nutr Food Res. 2018 Dec;62(23):e1800092. doi: 10.1002/mnfr.201800092. Epub 2018 Nov 2. PMID: 30350398

Barrow TM, Byun HM, Li X, Smart C, Wang YX, Zhang Y, Baccarelli AA, Guo L. The effect of morphine upon DNA methylation in ten regions of the rat brain. Epigenetics. 2017;12(12):1038-1047. doi: 10.1080/15592294.2017.1398296. Epub 2018 Jan 22. PMID: 29111854

Cayir A, Barrow TM, Wang H, Liu H, Li C, Ding N, Li Y, Kang CM, Guo L, Li PH, Byun HM. Occupational noise exposure is associated with hypertension in China: Results from project ELEFANT. PLoS One. 2018 Dec 31;13(12):e0209041. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0209041. eCollection 2018. PMID: 30596670


Xu H, Li PH, Barrow TM, Colicino E, Li C, Song R, Liu H, Tang NJ, Liu S, Guo L, Byun HM. Obesity as an effect modifier of the association between menstrual abnormalities and hypertension in young adult women: Results from Project ELEFANT. PLoS One. 2018 Nov 28;13(11):e0207929. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0207929. eCollection 2018. PMID: 30485368

Guo L, Peng C, Xu H, Wilson A, Li PH, Wang H, Liu H, Shen L, Chen X, Qi X, Tang NJ, Barrow TM, Byun HM. Age at menarche and prevention of hypertension through lifestyle in young Chinese adult women: result from project ELEFANT. BMC Womens Health. 2018 Nov 9;18(1):182. doi: 10.1186/s12905-018-0677-y. PMID: 30413197



Barrow TM, Klett H, Toth R, Böhm J, Gigic B, Habermann N, Scherer D, Schrotz-King P, Skender S, Abbenhardt-Martin C, Zielske L, Schneider M, Ulrich A, Schirmacher P, Herpel E, Brenner H, Busch H, Boerries M, Ulrich CM, Michels KB. Smoking is associated with hypermethylation of the APC 1A promoter in colorectal cancer: the ColoCare Study. J Pathol. 2017 Nov;243(3):366-375. doi: 10.1002/path.4955. Epub 2017 Sep 29. PMID: 28791728



Guo L, Li PH, Li H, Colicino E, Colicino S, Wen Y, Zhang R, Feng X, Barrow TM, Cayir A, Baccarelli AA, Byun HM. Effects of environmental noise exposure on DNA methylation in the brain and metabolic health. Environ Res. 2017 Feb;153:73-82. doi: 10.1016/j.envres.2016.11.017. Epub 2016 Nov 30.

PMID: 27914298


Barrow TM, Barault L, Ellsworth RE, Harris HR, Binder AM, Valente AL, Shriver CD, Michels KB. Aberrant methylation of imprinted genes is associated with negative hormone receptor status in invasive breast cancer. Int J Cancer. 2015 Aug 1;137(3):537-47. doi: 10.1002/ijc.29419. Epub 2015 Jan 21. PMID: 25560175


Barrow TM, Byun HM. Single nucleotide polymorphisms on DNA methylation microarrays: precautions against confounding. Epigenomics. 2014;6(6):577-9. doi: 10.2217/epi.14.55. No abstract available. PMID: 25531251

Barrow TM, Michels KB. Epigenetic epidemiology of cancer. Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2014 Dec 5;455(1-2):70-83. doi: 10.1016/j.bbrc.2014.08.002. Epub 2014 Aug 11. Review. PMID: 25124661


Joosen AM, Kuhnle GG, Aspinall SM, Barrow TM, Lecommandeur E, Azqueta A, Collins AR, Bingham SA. Effect of processed and red meat on endogenous nitrosation and DNA damage. Carcinogenesis. 2009 Aug;30(8):1402-7. doi: 10.1093/carcin/bgp130. Epub 2009 Jun 4. PMID: 19498009


Book Section

Barrow TM. Epigenetic epidemiology of cancer risk. In: Epigenetic Mechanisms in Cancer. Elsevier. 2017 ISBN 978-0-12-809552-2

Byun HM, Barrow TM. Analysis of pollutant-induced changes in mitochondrial DNA methylation.

Methods Mol Biol. 2015;1265:271-83. doi: 10.1007/978-1-4939-2288-8_19. PMID: 25634281


Tabish AM, Baccarelli AA, Godderis L, Barrow TM, Hoet P, Byun HM. Assessment of Changes in Global DNA Methylation Levels by Pyrosequencing® of Repetitive Elements. Methods Mol Biol. 2015;1315:201-7. doi: 10.1007/978-1-4939-2715-9_15. PMID: 26103901

Conference or Workshop Item

Barrow, Timothy, Wong Doo, Nicole, Milne, Roger, Giles, Graham, Willmore, Elaine, Strathdee, Gordon and Byun, Hyang-Min (2018) Analysis of Locus-specific LINE-1 and Alu Element DNA Methylation Reveals Novel Early Epigenetic Changes in Chronic Lymphocytic Leukaemia. In: 23rd Congress of the European Hematology Association, 14-17 Jun 2018, Stockholm, Sweden.

Peer Review


Ad hoc reviewer for Carcinogenesis, Cancer Epidemiology Biomarkers & Prevention, Cancer Research, Environmental Health, Environmental Research, International Journal of Epidemiology, Pediatric Research, and PeerJ.

Grant review for the Health Research Board (Ireland).




Barrow TM. ISES-ISEE 2018 Joint Annual Meeting (29th August 2018). The Effect of Maternal PM2.5 Exposure on the Risk of Pre-term Births: Results from Project ELEFANT. Ottawa, Canada.

Barrow TM. 2018 Public Health England Annual UK Review Meeting on Outdoor and Indoor Air Pollution Research (23rd May 2018). The Effect of Maternal PM2.5 Exposure on the Risk of Pre-term Births: Results from Project ELEFANT. London, UK.

Barrow TM. Spotlight on Public Health Event (19th May 2018). Project ELEFANT – Impact of Environmental Exposures and Lifestyle Factors. Sunderland, UK.

Barrow TM. Research in Progress talk, Northern Institute for Cancer Research (24th February 2017). The role of HOXA4 in chronic lymphocytic leukaemia progression and response to therapy. Newcastle upon Tyne, UK.


Barrow TM. Research in Progress talk, Northern Institute for Cancer Research (18th March 2016). The role of HOXA4 in chronic lymphocytic leukaemia progression and response to therapy. Newcastle upon Tyne, UK.


Barrow TM. 2nd Scientific Retreat of the German Cancer Consortium (13th May 2014). The Association between Smoking and DNA Methylation in Colorectal Cancer – the ColoCare Study. Heidelberg, Germany.

Barrow TM. Harvard School of Public Health Epigenetics Working Group (30th January 2013). Aberrant Methylation of Imprinted Genes in Breast Cancer. Boston, USA.

Barrow, TM. National Association for Colitis and Crohn’s Disease: Cambridge and West Suffolk Group AGM (23rd April 2008). Using Material Isolated from Stool in Studying Disease. Addenbrooke’s Hospital, Cambridge, UK.

Timothy M. Barrow, PhD

Senior Lecturer

University of Sunderland


Pasteur 169, Sciences Complex

Faculty of Health Sciences and Wellbeing

Edinburgh Building, Chester Road, Sunderland SR1 3SD

United Kingdom

Tel: 0191 515 2444

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