I am currently Associate Professor of Cancer Biology.
I have previously lectured on molecular mechanisms in leukaemia and cancer biology to third year undergraduates on the Stem Cell option and to students investigating New Targets in Cancer.
I currently teach on the MSc Cell and Developmental Biology and on BSc Cancer Sciences in gene expression and epigenetics. I am also Module Convenor for the third year Cancer Sciences course on Cancer Biology and Molecular Therapeutics.
Gene regulation in cancer and vascular biology
Understanding the molecular mechanisms that control gene expression is central to understanding tumourigenesis and has laid the foundations for targeted cancer therapies. The Proline Rich Homeodomain protein (PRH/a.k.a. HHEX) is a transcription factor that regulates cell proliferation and cell migration in multiple contexts. Changes in PRH localisation and activity are associated with several solid cancers and some types of leukaemia. Intriguingly the PRH protein can function as a tumour suppressor or an oncoprotein depending on context. We are investigating the functions and mechanisms of activity of the PRH protein that promote tumourigenesis and metastatic spread using molecular approaches next generation RNA sequencing and chromatin immunoprecipitation sequencing as well as biophysical approaches, cell biology, and whole animal models.
Neo-Angiogenesis and intimal thickening in the vasculature
We also investigate the mechanisms used by the Proline Rich Homeodomain protein (PRH/HHEX) transcription factor to regulate pathogenic neo-angiogenesis in cancer and the pathogenic intimal thickening of veins by vascular smooth muscle cells that contributes to vein graft failure.
I previously worked on the PHO4/PHO80 phosphate regulon in yeast at the Marie Curie Research Institute to understand protein protein interactions and gene regulation.
I initially worked on transcriptional regulation by the FNR protein to regulate anaerobic growth of bacteria at the University of Birmingham.
My future research will seek to understand the role of PRH in breast, prostate and bile duct cancers and the vasculature. My interest is to understand the interplay between signalling and chromatin biology that leads to phenotype changes.