Andrew South

+44 (0)1382 383295
Honorary Senior Lecturer


Dr Andrew South is a genetics graduate from the University of Leeds, who obtained his PhD from the University of London in 1999 whilst working on the human genome project with Dean Nizetic.

Following this from 1999?2002 he was a postdoctoral research fellow at St John’s Institute of Dermatology, St Thomas’ Hospital in London with John McGrath. He then worked as a research associate with Ian Hart and subsequently as a lecturer in Irene Leigh’s department at Bart’s and the London from 2002 to 2007. Currently he is a Senior Lecturer with the University of Dundee, based at Ninewells Hospital in the Division of Cancer Research whose laboratory interests centre on determining and dissecting basic mechanisms implicated in the underlying pathogenesis of skin disorders such as recessive dystrophic epidermolysis bullosa and cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma (SCC).


Squamous cell carcinomas (SCC) collectively are the most common ectodermal cancers, resulting in >300,000 deaths per year. SCCs arise from renewable squamous epithelial cells that serve to create a barrier to the external environment in the skin, esophagus, lung and cervix. An early feature of squamous neoplasia is disruption of programmed differentiation, typically associated with thickening of the epithelium and increased proliferation. My laboratory focuses primarily on cutaneous SCC (cSCC) which is the most frequent skin cancer with malignant potential and contributes to greater than 1 in 4 skin cancer deaths in Scotland. Patient groups with a high propensity to develop these tumours face a significant risk of mortality. One such group is the genetic skin blistering condition recessive dystrophic epidermolysis bullosa (RDEB) which is a devastating disease caused by mutations in a single gene, COL7A1. COL7A1 encodes for a protein called type VII collagen that forms connective fibrils linking the outer layer of the skin to the underlying tissue. My laboratory has a long standing interesting in trying to understand why mutations in this single gene lead to frequent and multiple life-threatening skin cancers.

PhD supervision

Yok Zuan Lim, Assessing the role of dermal architecture in wound healing and tumour differentiation, 2013.

Kim Robinson, Assessing therapeutic targets in aggressive cutaneous cell carcinoma, 2013.

Yi Zhen Ng, The role of Type VII Collagen mutations in wound healing and cancer, 2013.

Group members

  • Dr. Celine Pourreyron
  • Mrs. Sheila C Wright
  • Mr. Yok Zuan Vincent Lim
  • Dr. Stephen A Watt

Lectures and conferences

Recent Invited lectures:

Institute of Medical Biology, A*STAR, Singapore. Dermatology Department and North East Cancer Institute, Newcastle University. Keynote Speaker, Skin Cancer in Organ Transplant Patients (SCOPE) 11th Annual Meeting, Dundee. Department of Dermatology, Kurume University School of Medicine, Kurume, Japan. Mexican Academy of Dermatology Biannual Meeting, Monterrey, Mexico. EB2009 meeting, Vienna, Austria.


My teaching within the University includes lecturing and supervising project students on the masters in cancer research course and on a number of intercalated bachelor of science courses for medical students. I am active supporter of outreach projects within the local community. A PhD student in my lab, YiZhen Ng, set up the successful “Light up the lab” program which takes researchers into local high schools to talk about scientific research. High school students are then placed into the lab to get hands on experience. In addition I have given science talks to primary school pupils in the Tayside region.


  • South AP, Purdie KJ, Watt SA, Haldenby S, den Breems NY, Dimon M, Arron ST, Kluk MJ, Aster JC, McHugh A, Xue DJ, Dayal JH, Robinson KS, Rizvi SM, Proby CM, Harwood CA, Leigh IM. NOTCH1 Mutations Occur Early during Cutaneous Squamous Cell Carcinogenesis. J Invest Dermatol. 2014 Mar 24. doi: 10.1038/jid.2014.154. [Epub ahead of print]
  • Ng YZ, South AP. Tissue engineering of tumour stromal microenvironment with application to cancer cell invasion. J Vis Exp. 2014 Mar 18;(85).
  • Michael M, Begum R, Fong K, Pourreyrone C, South AP, McGrath JA, Parsons M. BPAG1-e restricts keratinocyte migration through control of adhesion stability. J Invest Dermatol. 2014 Mar;134(3):773-82. doi: 10.1038/jid.2013.382. Epub 2013 Sep 11.
  • Sokolovski, SG; Zolotovskaya, SA; Goltsov, A; Pourreyron, C; South, AP; Infrared laser pulse triggers increased singlet oxygen production in tumour cells; Scientific Reports; 2013 December 12; 3; 3484.
  • Koller, U; Gruber, C; Murauer, EM; Hainzl, S; Huttner, C; Kocher, T; South, AP; Hintner, H; Bauer, JW; A screening system accelerates the design of RNA trans-splicing molecules for skin cancer therapy ; Human Gene Therapy; 2013 December 1; 24(12) A129-A129.
  • Dayal JHS, Cole CL, Pourreyron C, Watt SA, Lim YZ, Salas-Alanis JC, Murrell DF, McGrath JA, Stieger B, Jahoda C, Leigh IM, South AP. Type VII collagen regulates tumour expression of organic anion transporting polypeptide OATP1B3, promotes front to rear polarity and increases structural organisation in 3D spheroid cultures of recessive dystrophic epidermolysis bullosa tumour keratinocytes. J Cell Sci. 2013 in press
  • Pourreyron C, Chen M, McGrath JA, Salas-Alanis JC, South AP and Leigh IM. High levels of type VII Collagen expression in RDEB cSCC Keratinocytes increases PI3K and MAPK Signalling, Cell Migration and Invasion. Br J Dermatol. 2013 in press
  • Garza-Gómez J, Cerda-Flores RM, Gómez Flores M, Salas-Alanís J, Ocampo-Candiani J, Martínez-Garza LE, South AP, and Gallardo-Blanco HL. An investigation into the MMP1 gene promoter region polymorphism -1607 2G with Recessive Dystrophic Epidermolysis Bullosa disease severity in Northeastern Mexican patients. Int J Dermatol. 2013 in press
  • Michael M, Begum R, Fong K, Pourreyron C, South AP, McGrath JA, and Parsons M. BPAG1-e restricts keratinocyte migration through control of adhesion stability. J Invest Dermatol. 2013 in press
  • Ng YZ and South AP. Tissue engineering of tumour stromal microenvironment with application to cancer cell invasion. J Vis Exp. 2013 in press
  • Gruber C, Koller U, Murauer EM, Hainzl S, Hüttner C, Kocher T, South AP, Hintner H and Bauer JW. The design of RNA trans-splicing molecules for skin cancer therapy. Mol Oncology 2013 in press
  • Blaydon DC, Lind L, Plagnol V, Linton KJ, Smith F, South AP, Leigh IM, O'Toole EA, Lundstrom A, Kelsell DP. Aquaporin 5 (AQP5), a water channel protein, is mutated in autosomal dominant diffuse non-epidermolytic palmoplantar keratoderma. Am J Hum Genet. 2013 93(2):330-5.
  • Kluk MJ, Ashworth T, Wang H, Knoechel B, Mason EF, Morgan EA, Dorfman D, Pinkus G, Weigert O, Hornick JL, Chirieac L, Hirsch M, Oh DJ, South AP, Leigh IM, Pourreyron C, Cassidy AJ, DeAngelo DJ, Weinstock DM, Krop I, Dillon D, Lazar AJF, Peto M, Cho R, Stoeck A, Haines B, Sathayanrayanan S, Rodig S, and Aster JC. Gauging NOTCH1 Activation in Cancer Using Immunohistochemistry PLOS One. 2013 8(6):e67306.
  • McGrath JA, Stone KL, Begum R, Simpson MA, Dopping-Hepenstal PJ, Liu L, McMillan JR, South AP, Pourreyron C, McLean WH, Martinez AE, Mellerio JE, Parsons M. Germline Mutation in EXPH5 Implicates the Rab27B Effector Protein Slac2-b in Inherited Skin Fragility. Am J Hum Genet. 2012 91(6):1115-21.
  • Ng YZ, Pourreyron C, Salas-Alanis JC, Dayal JH, Cepeda-Valdes R, Yan W, Wright S, Chen M, Fine JD, Hogg FJ, McGrath JA, Murrell DF, Leigh IM, Lane EB, South AP. Fibroblast-derived dermal matrix drives development of aggressive cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma in patients with recessive dystrophic epidermolysis bullosa. Cancer Res. 2012 72(14): 3522-34.
  • Cabral RM*, Tattersall D*, Patel V, McPhail GD, Hatzimasoura E, Abrams DJ, South AP, Kelsell DP. The DSPII splice variant is critical for desmosome-mediated HaCaT keratinocyte adhesion. J Cell Sci. 2012. 125(12): 2853-61.
  • Pourreyron C, Reilly L, Proby C, Panteleyev A, Fleming C, McLean K, South AP, Foerster J. Wnt5a Is Strongly Expressed at the Leading Edge in Non-Melanoma Skin Cancer, Forming Active Gradients, while Canonical Wnt Signalling Is Repressed. PLoS One. 2012 7(2):e31827. Epub 2012 Feb 22.
  • Clements SE, Techanukul T, Lai-Cheong JE, Mee JB, South AP, Pourreyron C, Burrows NP, Mellerio JE, McGrath JA. Mutations in AEC syndrome skin reveal a role for p63 in basement membrane adhesion, skin barrier integrity and hair follicle biology. Br J Dermatol. 2012 167(1): 134-44.
  • Blaydon DC, Etheridge EL, Risk JM, Hennies HC, Gay LJ, Carroll R, Plagnol V, McRonald FE, Stevens HP, Spurr NK, Bishop DT, Ellis A, Jankowski J, Field JK, Leigh IM, South AP*, and Kelsell DP*. RHBDF2 Mutations Are Associated with Tylosis, a Familial Esophageal Cancer Syndrome. Am J Hum Genet. 2012 in press. * contributed equally to this work
  • Wang NJ, Sanborn Z, Arnett KL, Bayston LJ, Liao W, Proby CM, Leigh IM, Collisson EA, Gordon PB, Jakkula L, Pennypacker S, Zou Y, Sharma M, North JP, Vemula SS, Mauro TM, Neuhaus IM, Leboit PE, Hur JS, Park K, Huh N, Kwok PY, Arron ST, Massion PP, Bale AE, Haussler D, Cleaver JE, Gray JW, Spellman PT, South AP, Aster JC, Blacklow SC, Cho RJ. Loss-of-function mutations in Notch receptors in cutaneous and lung squamous cell carcinoma. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2011 Oct 25;108(43):17761-6. Epub 2011 Oct 17.
  • Watt SA, Pourreyron C, Purdie K, Hogan C, Cole CL, Foster N, Pratt N, Bourdon JC, Appleyard V, Murray K, Thompson AM, Mao X, Mein C, Bruckner-Tuderman L, Evans A, McGrath JA, Proby CM, Foerster J, Leigh IM, and South AP. Integrative mRNA profiling comparing cultured primary cells with clinical samples reveals PLK1 and C20orf20 as therapeutic targets in cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma. Oncogene. 2011 May 23. [Epub ahead of print]
  • Andasari V, Gerisch A, Lolas G, South AP, Chaplain MA. Mathematical modelling of cancer cell invasion of tissue: biological insight from mathematical analysis and computational simulation. J Math Biol. 2011. 63(1): 141-171.
  • Purdie KJ, Pourreyron C, Fassihi H, Cepeda-Valdes R, Frew J, Volz A, Weissenborn SJ, Pfister H, Proby CM, Bruckner-Tuderman L, Murrell D, Salas-Alanis JC, McGrath JA, Leigh IM, Harwood CA and South AP. No evidence that Human papillomavirus is responsible for the aggressive nature of recessive dystrophic epidermolysis bullosa-associated squamous cell carcinoma. J Invest. Dermatol. 2010. 130(12):2853-5.
  • Cabral RM, Wan H, Cole CL, Abrams DJ, Kelsell DP, South AP. Identification and characterization of DSPIa, a novel isoform of human desmoplakin. Cell Tiss. Res. 2010. 341(1):121-9.
  • Cabral RM, Liu L, Hogan C, Dopping-Hepenstal PJC, Winik BC, Asial RA, Dobson R, Mein CA, Baselaga P, Mellerio JE, Nanda A, Boente MdelC, Kelsell DP, McGrath JA, South AP. Homozygous mutations in the 5’ region of the JUP gene result in cutaneous disease but normal heart development in children. J Invest. Dermatol. 2010. 130(6):1543-50.
  • Lai-Cheong J, Parsons M, Tanaka A, Ussar S, South AP, Gomathy S, Kumar R, Mee JB, Barbaroux JB, Hawche G, Almaani N, Clements SE, Hart IR, McGrath JA. Loss-of-function FERMT1 mutations in Kindler syndrome implicate a role for fermitin family homolog-1 in integrin activation. Am J Path. 2009 175(4):1431-41.
  • Martins VL, Vyas JJ, Chen M, Purdie K, Mein CA, South AP, Storey A, McGrath JA, O'Toole EA. Increased invasive behaviour in cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma with loss of basement-membrane type VII collagen. J Cell Sci. 2009 122(11):1788-99.
  • Arita K, South AP, Hans-Filho G, Sakuma TH, Lai-Cheong J, Clements S, Odashiro M, Odashiro DN, Hans-Neto G, Hans NR, Holder MV, Bhogal BS, Hartshorne ST, Akiyama M, Shimizu H, McGrath JA. Oncostatin M receptor-beta mutations underlie familial primary localized cutaneous amyloidosis. Am J Hum Genet. 2008 82(1):73-80.