Professor Sang received a degree in Natural Sciences, specialising in Genetics, from the University of Cambridge. She followed this with a PhD, also at Cambridge, studying the mechanism of genetic recombination. Professor Sang was then awarded a SERC-NATO fellowship to investigate the mechanisms of mismatch repair in E. coli at Harvard University.
She returned to the UK on an MRC Training Fellowship and joined David Finnegan’s lab at the University of Edinburgh’s department of Molecular Biology, where she was involved in identifying the transposon responsible for IR hybrid dysgenesis in Drosophila. Professor Sang was then appointed as a Principal Investigator at the AFRC Poultry Research Centre, now the Roslin Institute of the University of Edinburgh. Professor Helen Sang has recently been appointed Personal Chair in Vertebrate Molecular Development.
Professor Sang’s main research focus at The Roslin Institute has been the development of a technology for genetic modification of the chicken. A method involving the use of lentiviral vectors, originally developed for gene therapy applications, has proven successful. This technology has been used in several areas of research, including the demonstration that biologically active, therapeutic proteins can be synthesised as a component of egg white in transgenic hens. The technology is also being applied to studies using the chick as a model for vertebrate development.
Professor Sang’s research is currently funded by the BBSRC and industry.