Lab Members

Rachel Helston

Research Specialist I

Rachel is a Research Specialist and acts as lab manager for the team. Rachel grew up in England, earning her BSc in Biomedical Science from the University of Manchester and her Ph.D. at the University of Newcastle-upon-Tyne, where she studied the effects of zinc deficiency during pregnancy in mice. In 2008, she joined the Stowers Institute, working with a variety of model organisms, including fission yeast and mammalian cell lines, to understand telomerase enzyme biogenesis. She transferred to the Zanders lab in 2018 and enjoys learning about mating behaviors in fission yeast.

When not in the lab Rachel enjoys spending time with her family exploring Kansas City and the surrounding areas. You may contact Rachel at



Diverse mating phenotypes impact the spread of wtf meiotic drivers in Schizosaccharomyces pombe
López Hernández JF, Helston RM, Lange JJ, Billmyre RB, Schaffner SH, Eickbush MT, McCroskey S, Zanders SE. Elife. 2021 Dec 13;10:e70812. doi: 10.7554/eLife.70812. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 34895466. 

Genome-wide identification of sexual-reproduction genes in fission yeast via transposon-insertion sequencing
Billmyre RB, Eickbush MT, Craig CJ, Lange JJ, Wood C, Helston RM, Zanders SE. bioRxiv. 2021.08.31.458362; doi:

Diverse mechanisms for spliceosome-mediated 3' end processing of telomerase RNA
Kannan R, Helston RM, Dannebaum RO, Baumann P. Nat Commun. 2015;6:6104. Published 2015 Jan 19. doi:10.1038/ncomms7104.

Schizosaccharomyces cryophilus sp. nov., a new species of fission yeast.
Helston RM, Box JA, Tang W, Baumann P. FEMS Yeast Res. 2010;10(6):779-786. doi:10.1111/j.1567-1364.2010.00657.x.

Role for copper in the cellular and regulatory effects of heme-hemopexin.
Smith A, Rish KR, Lovelace R, Hackney JF, Helston RM. Biometals. 2009;22(3):421-437.

Heme oxygenase-1 protein localizes to the nucleus and activates transcription factors important in oxidative stress.
Lin Q, Weis S, Yang G, Weng YH, Helston R, Rish K, Smith A, Bordner J, Polte T, Gaunitz F and Dennery PA.  J Biol Chem. 2007;282(28):20621-20633. doi:10.1074/jbc.M607954200.

Splice variants of the human zinc transporter ZnT5 (SLC30A5) are differentially localized and regulated by zinc through transcription and mRNA stability.
Jackson KA, Helston RM, McKay JA, O'Neill ED, Mathers JC and Ford D.  J Biol Chem. 2007;282(14):10423-10431. doi:10.1074/jbc.M610535200

Zinc transporters in the mouse placenta show a coordinated regulatory response to changes in dietary zinc intake.
Helston RM, Phillips SR, McKay JA, Jackson KA, Mathers JC and Ford D. Placenta. 2007;28(5-6):437-444. doi:10.1016/j.placenta.2006.07.002.

A novel zinc-regulated human zinc transporter, hZTL1, is localised to the enterocyte apical membrane.
Cragg RA, Christie GR, Phillips SR, Russi RM, Kury S, Mathers JC, Taylor PH, Ford D. J Biol Chem. 2002;277(25):22789-22797. doi:10.1074/jbc.M200577200.