Dr Gavin Horsburgh

Facility Assistant


Contact Details
Telephone: +44 (0)114 2220115 Email : g.horsburgh@sheffield.ac.uk


2005 to present Research Assistant, NERC Biomolecular Analysis Facility, University of Sheffield.
2001 to 2005 Research Associate, Division of Genomic Medicine, Medical School, University of Sheffield.
1997 to 2001 PhD, Department of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology, University of Sheffield.
1993 to 1997 BSc Hons. Medical Microbiology, University of Edinburgh.


NERC Biomolecular Analysis Facility (NBAF-S)

My role involves the development and application of sets of genetic markers for use in population genetics and behavioural ecology. I also support studies involving next generation sequencing to study diet using DNA extracted from faecal samples and to investigate the species diversity present in environmental DNA samples, such as soil and water samples.

I provide the in-lab assistance and teaching to NBAF-S supported visitors under the guidance of Dr Deborah Dawson and Professor Terry Burke.

We are continually developing methodologies for marker development, genotyping and metabarcoding to keep our training and the Facility at the cutting edge.

Current Research

Metabarcoding - We are supporting many projects involving next generation sequencing including studies of diet,  biodiversity in environmental DNA, studies of bacterial communities and parasites.

- We are currently supporting studies of population structure in the pine marten and monk parakeet by genotyping using multiplex microsatellite marker sets, bird and rodent species using SNPs and studies of an endangered ass species using ddRAD.

Development of new markers - In 2018, microsatellite-enriched libraries will be constructed for the ramshorn snail, golden wolf and snow leopard. We have isolated microsatellite and SNP markers for over 70 species and have the optimised the techniques used to enrich fragment libraries for microsatellite repeat regions. We use high-throughput sequencing on a MiSeq sequencer which enables us to isolate high numbers of microsatellite sequences that then allows the selection of optimal sequences for marker design.

Genetic sex-typing of birds - We support several projects involving genetic bird sex-typing throughout the year. For more information go to the bird sex-typing webpage.

Research & Development - We have optimised the methods used at the Facility. We have also developed enhanced markers for sexing birds and microsatellite markers of the highest cross-species utility currently available for any set of microsatellite markers (see Publications).