Shona Kerr

Project Manager at MRC Human Genetics Unit, Edinburgh

Shona Kerr has more than 20 years of experience in the management of basic scientific research in academia. Her primary interest is in the genetics of quantitative traits using human population and family-based biobanks and linked electronic health record data.

She has spent the last six years at the University of Edinburgh as project manager of the QTL in Health & Disease programme. The QTL (Quantitative Trait Locus) programme leverages the special population structures in Scottish and Croatian cohorts to deliver biological understanding of the causes of variation in complex traits.

Shona sits on the Generation Scotland Access Committee, which has reviewed more than 300 research proposals to ensure that they are scientifically sound, can be supported by the Generation Scotland resource, comply with the aims of biobank and the original consent given by participants. She promotes and helps to implement this data and sample sharing within a managed access framework.

Prior to joining MRC HGU, Shona was the laboratory integration manager for Generation Scotland and directed the implementation of a Laboratory Integration Management System (LIMS) to control sample management from ~24,000 participants across the four Scottish Medical Schools.

Shona graduated from King’s College London with a PhD in Biochemistry. She carried out postdoctoral research at the University of Cambridge, University of Oxford and MRC Human Genetics Unit, Edinburgh before moving into technology transfer with MRCT (now LifeArc).


Title: Balancing the local and the universal in maintaining ethical access to a genomics biobank

  • Genomics analyses of quantitative traits and electronic health records in consented population-based studies
  • Governing biobanks: data and sample sharing and managed access
  • Are smaller biobanks still useful (and sustainable) in the era of 500,000 plus cohorts?