Principal Research Fellowships: people we've funded

This list includes current and past grantholders.

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Professor (Ismaa) Sadaf Farooqi  

University of Cambridge

Fundamental mechanisms controlling human energy homeostasis  

We want to find out why some people gain weight more easily than others so that we can find treatments for conditions such as diabetes.

Our aim is to find the genes that contribute to weight problems and the genes that allow some people to stay thin. We have identified quite a few of these genes and they all act on the same pathway. We are now trying to piece together some of the finer details about this pathway. We predict that there will be groups of genes that work together to control our eating patterns and the way we burn calories. We want to test the new genes we discover in nerve cells that can be made from stem cells as this will give us a window into how the brain works. We will invite people to do this by contribute to clinical studies to help us find out how certain genes act by measuring various hormones and metabolism.

This study will contribute to the design of treatments that will benefit people who struggle with their weight and this will reduce the burden of conditions such as diabetes.

Professor Masud Husain

University of Oxford

Memory and motivation in human health and disease

Common disabling brain diseases such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s or stroke, often lead to changes in thinking or behaviour. We don’t understand many of these well and current treatments are not very effective. 

My aim is to examine two common problems that patients with brain disease can experience: deficits in short-term memory and in their motivation to do things. By using carefully designed tests, we can assess specific aspects  of short-term memory or of motivation. Then by scanning patients in different ways using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) we can see if a particular component of short-term memory or motivation is associated with changes in structure or function in a particular brain network. By doing this for Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and stroke we can determine whether there are common changes in brain networks associated with specific components across diseases. 

This will provide a potential target for treatments. We’ll also examine whether our tests can pick up early signs in people who are at high risk of developing a brain disease. We will then test drugs that affect two brain chemicals to see whether they can improve components of short-term memory and motivation.

Professor David Owen

University of Cambridge

Structural cell biology of transport vesicle and organelle biogenesis

Every one of the trillions of cells in the human body are surrounded by a lipid membrane and contain membrane-bound compartments. Proteins embedded in these membranes mediate cell interactions with the blood and the immune system. They also permit signals and small molecules to cross these membrane barriers. These embedded proteins are moved in the right quantities at the right times to the right membranes in transport vesicles. These are formed when a portion of a donor membrane, into which the correct embedded proteins have been sorted, is pinched off, transported to and fused with its target membrane. Failures in vesicle transport can result in cell death or malfunction leading to diseases including Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and cancer. The transport vesicle system can be ‘hijacked’ by pathogens to facilitate their entry into host cells.

We aim to determine, at atomic resolution, the structures of various protein nano-machines that are recruited onto membranes from inside the cell to drive a transport vesicle’s formation, transport and fusion.

Our findings will allow us to explain how these proteins function correctly and how they can go wrong. It will also allow us to design highly specific mutant forms to help test theories of vesicle formation/destruction in cells.

Professor Daniel St Johnston 

University of Cambridge

Mechanisms of epithelial polarity in flies and mammals               

Most of our organs are composed of sheets of epithelial cells that function as barriers between compartments or between the inside and outside of the body. The formation of epithelial sheets depends on the coordinated polarisation of the cells, so that all have their apical surfaces facing the outside. This polarity is disrupted in cancer.

We will determine the mechanisms that polarise epithelial cells. There are at least two types of epithelia that polarise by different mechanisms and we will study an example of each type in the fruit fly. We will perform genetic screens to identify mutants in polarity factors and combine advanced imaging with genetic manipulations to analyse their functions. We will then use mouse intestinal organoids to test whether these polarity factors play conserved roles in mammals.


Professor Neil Burgess 

University College London

Neural mechanisms of spatial and episodic memory

Our memories define us and their loss in diseases like Alzheimer's can be devastating. Research into the neural mechanisms of memory is hindered by a gap between knowledge of the biology of individual neurons and the experience of memory.

My project aims to close this gap by understanding how large circuits of neurons in the brain enable memory. I have developed a computational model of how this happens when remembering the spatial context of an event. This model will be refined and extended by observing multiple levels of data, from single neurons and small circuits to brain systems and behaviour in humans and mice when performing tasks. In mice, the activity of large numbers of neurons will be observed and switched on or off. In humans, large-scale metabolic and electromagnetic activity will be measured, electrical activity recorded during treatment for epilepsy, and predictions of the model for patients with memory disorders will be tested.

Key goals include a neural-level understanding of how information is either stored as new memories or recognised as part of familiar ones, how entire events are (re)constructed from partial cues, and how mental imagery is generated for what happened or what might happen in the future.

Professor John O'Keefe

University College London

Dissecting the neural components of the hippocampal cognitive map

The rodent hippocampus contains cells which tell the animal where it is, which direction it is pointing, how close it is to large landmarks and how far it has travelled in familiar environments. These cells act together to provide the animal with a cognitive map, a kind of GPS in the brain which enables it to identify its current location and to find its way towards good locations and away from bad ones.

My research involves teaching the animal different spatial tasks such as finding an unmarked location in a familiar environment to see how they learn this task. I will use physiological techniques to record brain activity during these behaviours in order to understand more about the role of the different spatial cells in constructing the animal’s representation of the environment and how it navigates.

In addition to providing fundamental information about this part of the hippocampus, the results will provide the foundation for future research into how these cells become dysfunctional in animal models of dementia.

Professor Robin Angus Silver 

University College London

The cellular basis of information processing in a cerebellar microcircuit

Knowlege about how the brain represents, processes and stores information about the body and its surroundings and how it coordinates movements is important for understanding neurological disorders and developing strategies to cure them. Our understanding of information processing within neuronal circuits is poor, because of the technical difficulty of studying them.

We have recently invented a 3D microscope that can measure signals as they rapidly flow through complex neural circuits deep in the brain. We will use this technology to measure signalling in identified neuronal circuits in the cerebellar cortex, a brain region involved in the control of movement. By relating sensory inputs and limb movements to neuronal population activity we will determine how sensory and motor information is represented, distinguished and transformed in this circuit. We will also study the synaptic and cellular mechanisms that underlie signalling by using electrophysiological and optical techniques. These measurements will be used to build mathematical models of the cerebellar circuit, enabling us to understand how they underlie information processing.

This research will lead to new discoveries and scientific knowledge that will be valuable in its own right and will provide a framework for understanding what goes wrong in neurological disorders.

Professor Scott Waddell

University of Oxford

Neural mechanisms of memory, motivation and individuality

Learning allows animals to convert innate reflexive behavioural responses into meaningful actions that are guided by stimuli.

I will investigate how sensory-motor transformations are implemented and altered in the nervous system. I will use genetic, genomic, anatomical, physiological and behavioural approaches to study these neural mechanisms in the fruit fly. I will look at dopaminergic control of reward learning, behaviour motivated by hunger and thirst, and memory re-evaluation. I will also investigate whether transposon sequences in the genome contribute to functional heterogeneity in neurons and behavioural individuality.

Our findings will improve our knowledge about neural mechanisms behind memory, motivation and individuality.


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Professor Robin Allshire

University of Edinburgh

How centromeres are specified: the interplay between heterochromatin, CENP-A chromatin and kinetochore assembly

The central theme of Robin’s research is to understand mechanisms of epigenetic regulation: how specialised chromatin states are established and maintained through cell divisions. Robin’s current focus is on heterochromatin and CENP-A chromatin at regional centromeres, primarily using fission yeast as a model system. One aim of his research is to determine how centromeric heterochromatin, driven by methylation of histone H3 on lysine 9, is maintained and how it influences CENP-A chromatin assembly on adjacent sequences. Another aim is to uncover the cues in centromeric DNA that influence the assembly and retention of CENP-A chromatin at particular chromosomal locations.


Professor Dorothy Bishop

University of Oxford

Genetic, neurological and cognitive determinants of success and failure in learning a first language

Professor Neil Brockdorff

University of Oxford

Molecular mechanisms governing X chromosome inactivation: a model for understanding epigenetic regulation of the genome in differentiation and development

Professor Neil Burgess

University College London

Neural mechanisms of spatial memory

Neil investigates the neural mechanisms of memory using a combination of methods, including computational modelling, human neuropsychology, and functional neuroimaging and single-unit recordings in freely moving rodents. His main goal is to understand how the actions of networks of neurons in our brains allow us to remember events and the spatial locations where they occurred. This basic mechanistic understanding at the neural level can hopefully serve as a starting point for interpreting a variety of data, from psychology, psychiatry and neuropsychology, concerning how memory works and how it can go wrong.


Professor Doreen Cantrell

University of Dundee

Serine kinase pathways that determine T-lymphocyte activation and cell fate choices

Doreen is an immunologist based at the College of Life Sciences, University of Dundee. Her research explores how antigen receptors and cytokines control the development and immune activation of cytotoxic T lymphocytes, key cells in the adaptive immune system. A current focus is how T lymphocytes use networks of serine/threonine kinases to interpret information from antigens and cytokines to make appropriate responses that control peripheral T-cell function. The laboratory has identified essential regulators of T-cell metabolism, cytotoxic T-cell effector function and CD8 T-cell migration/trafficking.


Professor Michael Dustin

University of Oxford

Translation of the immunological synapse

Michael studies immunological mechanisms that lead to autoimmune diseases like rheumatoid arthritis. His focus is on the immunological synapse - the major conduit of information transfer between T lymphocytes and their partners. Correct function of the immunological synapse protects us from infection and many cancers, but dysfunction of the immunological synapse results in pathogen escape at one extreme and autoimmunity at the other. T lymphocytes from patients with autoimmune disease have defective immunological synapses, so the objective of Michael’s PRF is to build a platform for high-throughput analysis of immunological synapses to discover better treatments.


Professor William Earnshaw

University of Edinburgh

The role of non-histone proteins in chromosome structure and function during mitosis

William began his PRF in Edinburgh in 1996. His studies focus on the packaging and segregation of chromosomes during cell division. Achievements during his PRF include identification of the chromosomal passenger complex, construction of the first human synthetic artificial chromosome and its use to study the epigenetic regulation of kinetochore assembly, proteomics/systems analysis of the mitotic chromosome proteome, and advances in understanding the role of non-histone proteins in mitotic chromosome structure and function.

Professor Anke Ehlers

University of Oxford

Cognitive therapy and processes in posttraumatic stress disorder and social anxiety disorder


Professor Christopher Fairburn

University of Oxford

The global dissemination of psychological treatments

While effective psychological treatments have been developed for a range of mental health problems, there is good evidence that few people receive them. The overarching aim of Christopher's research is to develop and evaluate new methods for improving global access to evidence-based psychological interventions. The work includes creating scalable ways of delivering psychological interventions direct to users through the internet and, for those who require face-to-face treatment, novel ways of training large numbers of therapists simultaneously (web-centred training).

Professor Alan Fairlamb

University of Dundee

Characterisation and validation of drug targets in the Kinetoplastida

Alan is a clinician scientist working in the Division of Biological Chemistry and Drug Discovery in Dundee. His research goals are to identify better safer drugs for the treatment of visceral leishmaniasis, Chagas’ disease and African trypanosomiasis. His team identifies, characterises and validates novel targets in many areas of intermediary metabolism using genetic and chemical methods for entry into the drug discovery pipeline in the Division. Alan’s research also involves identifying the modes of action of existing drugs or experimental compounds using chemical-genetic and chemical-biological strategies. Similar approaches are employed to elucidate the mechanisms by which parasites acquire resistance to drugs.

Professor Jonathan Flint

University of Oxford

Genetic analysis of major depression

Professor Karl Friston

University College London

Functional architectures in the brain


Professor Gillian Griffiths

University of Cambridge

Molecular mechanisms controlling polarised secretion at the immunological synapse

Gillian has pioneered the use of cytotoxic T lymphocytes from patients with genetic disorders to study cell biology in a specialised cell type. Through an integrated approach combining genetic, biochemical and imaging approaches, her lab has shown that immune cells use lysosomes as secretory organelles, that the centrosome has a unique role in driving formation of the immune synapse, and that Hedgehog signalling is important for this. Her long-term vision is to understand the molecular mechanisms that control polarised secretion from cytotoxic T lymphocytes, and how these fit together to ensure accurate delivery to the immunological synapse.


Professor Michael Häusser

University College London

The elements of cerebellar computation

Michael’s work aims to identify the fundamental units of computation in a well-organised neural circuit in the mammalian brain, the cerebellar cortex. This requires identifying motifs of connectivity within the neural circuit that define their functional properties and provide computational building blocks that are engaged during sensation and generation of movement. To address these challenges, Michael’s lab is using in vivo and in vitro electrophysiological, imaging and anatomical techniques in combination with behavioural approaches. The findings provide crucial constraints for constructing models of cerebellar cortex and targets for manipulation that have potential translational relevance for the many movement disorders that have a cerebellar origin.


Professor Randall Johnson

University of Cambridge

The physiology of hypoxic response

Randall’s research for the PRF is focused on the relationship between fluctuations in oxygenation in tissues and cells, and the behaviours that result. Hypoxia, or low levels of physiologic oxygenation, drives changes in cell and tissue metabolism and survival, and can change the very structure of the tissues that experience it. Hypoxia occurs in cancer and in a wide range of tissue damage and disease, and influences both progression and prognosis. Randall’s PRF is allowing him to determine how the response to hypoxia influences tissue damage and how to manipulate this response to alter disease progression, and ultimately make better therapeutic choices in hypoxia-induced injury.


Professor Andrew King

University of Oxford

Adaptive coding and plasticity in the auditory system

Andrew is a neuroscientist who heads the Auditory Neuroscience Group in the Department of Physiology, Anatomy and Genetics at the University of Oxford. His research employs an interdisciplinary approach to investigate the neural basis of auditory perception and multisensory integration. He is particularly interested in the adaptive processes that take place in the brain to allow accurate hearing to be maintained in different acoustical conditions. This involves studying both short-term changes that help to compensate for the presence of background sounds and the longer-term plasticity induced at higher levels of the auditory system as a result of learning or by hearing loss.


Professor Angus Lamond

University of Dundee

Structure and function of the mammalian cell nucleus

Angus’s group studies gene expression and the functional organisation of cell nuclei using mass spectrometry based proteomics, live cell fluorescence microscopy, chemical biology and molecular cell biology. They have characterised the functions and composition of nucleoli and analysed the compaction of chromatin in live cells using FLIM-FRET microscopy. They have developed new proteomic approaches for studying subcellular protein localisation and dynamics and for reliably identifying specific protein-protein interaction partners and characterising protein complexes. They are studying how gene expression is regulated during cell cycle progression and cell transformation and are developing new computational tools for data management, analysis and sharing.

Professor Paul Lehner

University of Cambridge

Viral and endogenous regulation of cellular immunoreceptors

Paul uses novel functional genetic and proteomic technologies to study how viruses evade the immune system. His aims are to identify cellular receptors manipulated by viruses and understand how and why these receptors are targeted. His group developed unbiased functional SILAC/TMT-based proteomic approaches, called plasma membrane profiling, to identify novel cell surface receptors manipulated by viruses. Complementary to this approach is the use of fluorescent-based genetic selection screens in haploid human cells to map genetic pathways which control receptor expression. Together these technologies provide a protein and gene discovery platform to identify novel genes and pathways required for viral and endogenous receptor regulation.


Professor Eleanor Maguire

University College London

Scenes, space and the neural basis of memory

Eleanor’s research has three main goals. The first is to provide a unified and mechanistic account of how the human hippocampus, deep in the brain’s temporal lobes, supports episodic memory, imagining the future and spatial navigation. Her second goal is to determine the exact timescale of hippocampal involvement in episodic memory. Her third goal is to establish what aspects of hippocampal processing are distinct from other brain areas, including parahippocampal, retrosplenial and ventromedial prefrontal cortices. Overall, she aims to provide a theoretically enriched understanding of hippocampal function in everyday cognition that in turn elucidates how its dysfunction leads to pathological states.

Professor Read Montague

University College London

Computational neuroscience of social behaviour and psychopathology

Read’s research seeks to uncover the computational and neural mechanisms underlying social cognition in humans and its derangement in response to disease and injury. Social exchange is a core capacity necessary for interacting with other humans, alone and in groups. Read’s research applies functional magnetic resonance imaging, computational modelling and real-time neurotransmitter recordings as associated experimental approaches to the neural underpinnings of social exchange in humans.


Professor John O'Keefe

University College London

Dissecting the neural components of the hippocampal cognitive map

Professor David Owen

University of Cambridge

Structural cell biology of transport vesicle and organelle biogenesis


Professor Cathy Price

University College London

Predicting language outcome and recovery after stroke

Cathy’s goal is to generate a new neurological model of language that predicts language outcome and recovery after stroke. Her work uses: structural neuroimaging and behavioural assessments, to identify lesion and non-lesion factors that are most and least likely to cause long-term communication difficulties; functional neuroimaging and dynamic causal modelling, to provide a mechanistic understanding of the language pathways that support recovery after damage to the normal system; and machine learning algorithms, to generate the most accurate data-led predictions of language outcome and recovery without requiring a full understanding of the language model.


Professor Lalita Ramakrishnan

University of Cambridge

Fundamental and therapeutic insights into tuberculosis from the zebrafish and its application to humans

Lalita studies the pathogenesis of tuberculosis, primarily using the zebrafish model that she and her colleagues have developed. The zebrafish’s optical transparency and genetic tractability allow for the stepwise dissection of pathogenesis. Her research has revealed surprising new insights into pathogenesis that have potential therapeutic implications. She aims to continue to identify and characterise host determinants that alter the outcome of infection, using both forward and reverse genetic approaches. The goal of this work is to identify therapeutic targets for tuberculosis.

Professor Randy Read

University of Cambridge

Protein crystallography: development of new methods, and application to the study of pathogenesis

Randy is a structural biologist with a particular interest in the methods used to determine the 3D structures of biological macromolecules using X-ray crystallography. By developing new methods based on the statistical concept of likelihood, his group has helped to accelerate and optimise the process of structure determination, so that better structures can be determined more quickly. He has also applied crystallography to the study of a number of medically relevant systems, including bacterial toxins, proteins that carry hormones in the blood, and enzymes mutated in inherited metabolic diseases.

Professor Elizabeth Robertson

University of Oxford

Genetic control of cell fate decisions in the developing mouse embryo

Liz exploits mouse genetics to investigate the key signalling cues and transcriptional regulators governing mammalian development. She initially focused on Nodal/Smad activities responsible for establishment of the anterior-posterior or ‘head-tail’ axis and subsequently discovered BMP/Smad signals essential for germ cell specification. Current work aims to elucidate how downstream target gene expression is controlled in diverse tissue contexts. How does the transcription factor Eomes orchestrate cell fate decisions during gastrulation? How does the repressor Blimp-1/PRDM1 globally regulate cell-type-specific transcriptional programmes? She is also characterising the cis-acting regulatory elements that direct dynamic gene expression patterns in the early embryo.

Professor Margaret (Scottie) Robinson

University of Cambridge

Coated vesicle adaptors

Scottie is a cell biologist who is interested in membrane traffic: how proteins find their way to the right part of the cell. Her lab works on adaptors, components of vesicle coats that determine which proteins are packaged as cargo in the vesicles, for transport to a different subcellular compartment, and which proteins remain behind. Adaptors are frequently hijacked by pathogens, and used either to invade the cell or to change the protein composition of the plasma membrane. There are also several examples of mutations in adaptors giving rise to genetic disorders.

Professor David Ron

University of Cambridge

The physiology and pathophysiology of unfolded protein responses

David is a physician-scientist based at the Cambridge Institute for Medical Research, University of Cambridge. His research seeks to understand how eukaryotic cells adapt to changing levels in the load of unfolded proteins that are presented to the folding machinery in the endoplasmic reticulum, the gateway to the secretory pathway. This problem extends from the molecular basis of the intracellular signal transduction pathways to the biological consequences of endoplasmic reticulum stress in whole organisms. The latter is relevant to our emerging understanding of the links between protein misfolding and diseases of ageing and the importance of protein-folding homeostasis to health.

Professor David Rubinsztein

University of Cambridge

Autophagy in health and disease

David’s laboratory is based at the Cambridge Institute for Medical Research, University of Cambridge. Their work is increasingly focused on studying autophagy and neurodegeneration after they discovered that this pathway could clear intracytoplasmic aggregate proteins causing conditions like Huntington’s disease, Parkinson’s disease and tauopathies. David’s research aims to understand the machinery and signalling pathways that regulate autophagy. Using cell biology and animal modelling, his laboratory is currently elucidating how autophagy perturbations may impact on the pathogenesis of various neurodegenerative diseases. His group also have a major interest in developing therapeutic approaches to such diseases by finding safe drugs that upregulate autophagy, an area that they have pioneered.

Professor Dmitri Rusakov

University College London

Neural coding with the tripartite synapse


Professor Wolfram Schultz

University of Cambridge

Neuronal reward mechanisms

Wolfram’s group is interested in relating the mechanics of brain activity to measurable behaviour. They combine behavioural, neurophysiological and neuroimaging (fMRI) methods to investigate the neural mechanisms of learning and economic decision making at the level of single neurons and individual brain structures. They use behavioural concepts from animal learning theory and economic decision theory to study neural reward signals in specific brain regions, including the dopamine system, striatum, orbitofrontal cortex and amygdala. Wolfram’s research currently investigates basic reward and risk decision variables, reward prediction errors, learning, irrational decisions, and social interactions.

Professor Angus Silver

University College London

Synaptic and neuronal determinants of network function: application of new optical and computational tools

Angus’s research focuses on information processing in the brain. He combines both experimental and theoretical approaches to study the mechanisms underlying synaptic transmission, neuronal integration and signal processing in cerebellar and neocortical networks. He also develops new optical and neuroinformatics tools for studying brain function. These include an acousto-optic lens microscope for high-speed two-photon imaging of neuronal signalling in 3D space and software tools for building and analysing biologically detailed models of neurons and networks. He leads the international team that develops NeuroML, a language for defining models in computational neuroscience, and the Open Source Brain initiative, a web-based repository of standardised models and a framework for collaborative modelling that is based on open source software development.

Professor Geoffrey Smith

University of Cambridge

Poxvirus immune evasion strategies

Geoffrey’s laboratory studies the mechanisms by which vaccinia virus (VACV), the live vaccine that was used to eradicate smallpox, inhibits innate immunity and thereby affects virus virulence and immunogenicity. VACV is a DNA virus that replicates in the cytoplasm and encodes scores of proteins to suppress innate immunity. The Wellcome Trust has supported this lab with a PRF for the last 14 years. Current work includes structural and functional studies of a family of small intracellular VACV proteins with structural similarity to Bcl-2 proteins and which inhibit activation of intracellular signalling pathways that lead to activation of pro-inflammatory transcription factors.

Professor Robert Snow

University of Oxford

The malaria transition in East Africa

Africa has witnessed a malaria transition since 2000, in part as a result of unprecedented increases in overseas development assistance to fund the delivery of vector control and improved clinical management of the disease. In East Africa, there is evidence that the decline in malaria transmission and disease began before the scaled delivery of insecticide-treated nets, indoor residual house-spraying and changing drug policy; furthermore, the epidemiological transition has not been equivalent everywhere, with some areas remaining resistant to current control strategies. Robert’s PRF aims to unpack the complex dynamics underlying long- and short-term cycles of malaria transmission, while simultaneously working in close collaboration with governments in the sub-region to use evidence to design the future of control.

Professor Brian Spratt

University of Oxford 

Bacterial epidemiology, evolution and bioinformatics for public health

Professor Peter St George-Hyslop

University of Cambridge

Deciphering the fundamental roles of two proteins involved in neurodegenerative disease

Professor Daniel St Johnston

University of Cambridge

Mechanisms of cell polarity and mRNA localisation in the Drosophila oocyte


Professor Tomoyuki Tanaka

University of Dundee

Molecular mechanisms regulating the kinetochore-microtubule interaction in mitosis

Tomo’s research goal is to understand how cells ensure proper chromosome segregation prior to cell division. Proper chromosome segregation is required for cells to maintain their genetic integrity. Failure in this process can lead to cell death or various human diseases, such as cancers and congenital disorders, which are characterised by chromosome instability and aneuploidy. Revealing the mechanisms for high-fidelity chromosome segregation should provide clues to understanding how various human diseases develop. Tomo’s group currently investigates how kinetochores initially interact with spindle microtubules, how this interaction develops, and how any error could be corrected to ensure proper chromosome segregation.

Professor Adrian Thrasher

University College London

Refinement of gene and cell therapies for inherited immunodeficiencies based on human interventions and developing technologies

Adrian is Professor of Paediatric Immunology at the Institute of Child Health, University College London, and Honorary Consultant Paediatric Immunologist at Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children NHS Foundation Trust. His current PRF programme is focused on the following themes: development of human stem cell (HSC) gene therapy for primary immunodeficiencies (PID) as a medical need; utilising PIDs as a paradigm for HSC gene therapy; identification of mechanisms leading to toxicities; redesign of and pre-clinical evaluation of transgene additive vectors; development of refined technologies to target genetic modifications; and evaluation of reduced-intensity conditioning strategies for engraftment of gene-corrected cells.

Professor David Tollervey

University of Edinburgh

Nuclear RNA processing and surveillance

The aim of David’s group is to understand the nuclear pathways that process newly transcribed RNAs and assemble the RNA-protein complexes. They are also interested in the mechanisms that regulate these pathways and the surveillance activities that monitor their fidelity. To allow mechanistic insights, the group has developed techniques for transcriptome-wide analyses of RNA-protein interactions (CRAC) and RNA-RNA interactions (CLASH). These techniques are currently being used to define the in vivo targets of nuclear surveillance systems, determine how the many non-protein-coding RNAs (ncRNAs) are distinguished from messenger RNAs (mRNAs) and identify direct mRNA targets for ncRNAs including microRNAs, long-ncRNAs and small nucleolar RNAs.


Professor Andrew Waters

University of Glasgow

Conditional translation repression: a core regulatory mechanism of gene expression during development of the malaria parasite – study and applications

Professor Nick White

University of Oxford

Improving the treatment of malaria

Nick’s PRF aims to improve the treatment of malaria and thereby contribute to malaria elimination. Building on extensive studies of antimalarial pharmacokinetics, pharmacokinetic-pharmacodynamic relationships will be characterised for efficacy and toxicity. This involves development of field-adapted assay methodologies, optimal design population pharmacokinetic studies, and clinical studies in severe and uncomplicated falciparum and vivax malaria. Dose modification in important sub-groups such as young children, pregnant women, and HIV and tuberculosis co-infected patients should improve therapeutic responses and reduce selective pressures to the emergence of resistance.

People we've funded

Many of our grantholders carry out research in Africa and Asia. See our directories: