Dr Heather Owen

Scientific Manager (GM Team)

Telephone Number
+44(0)131 244 6353


Research Interests/Areas of expertise

  • Regulation of the deliberate release and contained use of Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) in Scotland.
  • Detection and quantification of GMOs using molecular techniques.
  • Scottish Government assessor for the UK Advisory Committee for releases to the environment (ACRE). This committee is responsible for the environmental and health risk assessment of releasing GMOs into the environment.
  • Member of the European Network of GM testing laboratories (ENGL).
  • Developing molecular tests to support core SASA (e.g. barley genotyping.


  • Joined SASA in 2011 as the GM analyst. I designed and implemented a qPCR screen to detect low levels of GM DNA in plant material.  Now working as the Scientific Manager in the GM team which involves managing the GM testing unit, regulating GMOs in Scotland and providing scientific advice about all aspects of GM and new breeding techniques.
  • 2007-2011. Postdoctoral research fellow in epigenetics at the Wellcome Trust Centre for Cell Biology, Edinburgh University. Investigation of the protein MBD2 and its role in gene expression and intestinal tumorigenesis.
  • 2002 - 2006. PhD in gene regulation at Zurich University, Switzerland. Cell type enriched cofactors of NF-kappa B dependent transcription.
  • 2001. Volunteer research assistant at Botswana University (Africa). Contribution of microbe respiration in total soil respiration in Savanna.
  • 2000-2001. MSci (Biochemistry) and Research assistant at Cambridge University. The biochemical and structural characterisation of a transcription factor (OCT1) and cofactor (BOB1) higher order transcription activation complex.