Assistant Professor, Faculty of Medicine & Health Sciences
I grew up in Scotland where I studied Biochemistry as an undergraduate at the University of Dundee. I then moved to the University of Sussex for my PhD studies in Biochemistry I working under the supervision of John Armstrong and investigating the molecular basis of intracellular trafficking and the role of Rab GTPases (ypts) using the fission yeast S.pombe as a model. In 1998 I moved to Imperial College London where I worked as a Post-Doctoral Research Associate with Miguel Seabra investigating the role of Rab27a in cell signaling and disease using a variety of mammalian model systems including skin pigment cells (melanocytes).
In 2010 I was appointed Assistant Professor in Molecular Biology in the School of Biomedical Sciences (now Life Sciences) at the University of Nottingham. Our research group focuses on understanding how Rab GTPases and their interacting partners regulate cellular signalling and trafficking and how defects in these process is linked with disease. I also contribute to the School's Biochemistry undergraduate teaching convening and contributing to modules focused on protein transport and the cytoskeleton. I also convene undergraduate Biochemistry research project modules.
Cells are fundamental units of the body and their correct function is vital for our health and survival. My research focuses on understanding how cells organise the complex array of internal… read more
Cells are fundamental units of the body and their correct function is vital for our health and survival. My research focuses on understanding how cells organise the complex array of internal structures (organelles) whose activities are vital for their function and how defects in these processes cause disease. In particular I am interested in the mechanism by which organelles are transported within the cell and the role played by motor proteins, that move organelles along intracellular protein tracks known as the cytoskeleton, and molecular switches (Rab proteins) that recruit motors to organelles. To address these issues I use melanosomes in skin melanocytes as a model. Several characteristics make this an ideal system for the study of intracellular transport. Firstly melanosomes are large highly motile organelles easily visible by bright-field microscopy. Secondly melanocytes are large, flat, adherent cells that are easily derived and maintained, and transfectable with plasmids and siRNA. Finally a large number of immortal mouse melanocyte cell lines are available that differ in melanosome colour, size and motility. Current interests include: The identification of molecular motors regulating melanosome transport. Understanding the mechanism(s) targeting Rab GTPases to organelle membranes. The development of Rab inhibitors. The contribution of receptor trafficking defects in disease.
PhD opportunities October 2013. A BBSRC funded 4 year PhD studentship entitled 'Understanding the regulation of cancer associated protein Rab27' will be available within the group. This project aims to understand the role played the Rab27-specific GDP/GTP exchange factor in regulating both the activation and subcellular targeting of Rab27. Further details of the project are available on request.
University of NottinghamMedical School
Queen's Medical CentreNottingham NG7 2UH
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