Sir Henry Dale Fellowships

Sir Henry Dale Fellowships: people we've funded


Dr Tanmay Bharat

University of Oxford

Structural cell biology of bacterial biofilm formation 

Bacterial cells can attach to surfaces and form large communities known as biofilms. Cells in a biofilm community are tolerant to a wide variety of environmental stresses. Most notably they can become tolerant to antibiotics. Two such bacteria are Escherichia coli and Pseudomonas aeruginosa. Both of these bacteria can enter the human body, form a biofilm in the infected tissue and lead to disease. Understanding how bacterial biofilms are built is therefore important to understand the infection process of these pathogenic bacteria. 

Recent developments in microscopic imaging methods, that use electrons rather than light, have provided an important alternative method for researchers to investigate biological material. It is Tanmay’s goal to apply the latest electron microscopy imaging technology to study bacterial biofilms. 

I will use electron microscopy imaging to produce high-resolution pictures of bacterial biofilms in 3D. I will use these pictures to work out where key molecules that mediate biofilm formation are located. I will use electron microscopy methods to solve the atomic structures of these key molecules in order to understand how they influence biofilm formation. Together, these experiments may lead to ideas on how to disrupt bacterial biofilms and help infected individuals.

Dr Stephen Burgess

University of Cambridge

Genetics and causality: towards more accessible and more reliable Mendelian randomisation investigations

Dr Kyra Campbell

University of Sheffield

The molecular mechanisms underlying epithelial cell plasticity

Dr Nick Casewell

Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine

Developing a universal antivenom to treat snake venom-induced consumption coagulopathy 

Snakebite is a neglected tropical disease that kills around 100,000 people each year. Different snakes have different venoms, and for this reason antivenom therapies are limited to treating patients bitten by certain snakes. One of the most common pathologies caused by snakebite is incoagulable blood. 

I will aim to develop a single antivenom that can be used anywhere in the world to treat snakebite patients suffering with incoagulable blood. This new antivenom will be the first of its kind – a purposely designed ‘pathology-specific’ antivenom that will only require low doses and be much safer than existing antivenoms. I will use modern technologies for its development, first using ‘proteomics’ to determine which venom toxins in different snakes cause incoagulable blood and then targeting these components by making monoclonal antibodies that neutralise them.

Dr Jenna Cash

University of Edinburgh

Understanding macrophage phenotypes in normal and pathological healing: harnessing pro-resolving pathways to drive repair

When skin is injured, a repair response commences that involves an inflammatory phase in which white blood cells, including macrophages, are recruited to the wound site to support the repair process. Wounds typically heal within days or weeks, but a growing number are failing to heal. This inflicts debilitating personal costs on patients and a burden on healthcare systems. Wounds that are chronically inflamed with their macrophages are often described as dysfunctional. Pathways which regulate the balance between acute wound inflammation resolution versus chronic wound inflammation persistence represent potential therapeutic targets to alleviate aberrant healing.

I am interested in studying normal and pathological healing to ascertain what kinds of macrophages are present throughout the diverse phases of normal repair. I want will study how they behave, how they change in wounds that fail to heal and how this impacts the repair outcome. I will also study pathways that help terminate the inflammatory response to determine whether we can harness them to accelerate wound repair or rescue chronic wounds that have become ‘stuck’ in the inflammatory phase.

The overall goal of my research is to achieve an improved understanding of the events that determine whether a skin wound heals acutely or develops into a chronic wound.

Dr Leifu Chang

University of Leeds

Structure and molecular mechanism of the Augmin complex in mitotic spindle assembly

Dr Matthew Child

Imperial College London

A chemical biology investigation of hydrogen peroxide signalling in Toxoplasma

When viruses infect a cell they often display structures that are sensed as foreign. After detection, signalling pathways result in the production of proteins called interferons. These proteins induce the production of hundreds of other proteins called interferon-stimulated genes in the infected and neighbouring cells to fend off the viral infection.

I have shown that the interferon-induced protein with tetratricopeptide repeats-1 (IFIT1) preferentially binds RNA with improperly processed ends and blocks the production of protein from this RNA. However, the role of IFIT1 in the antiviral response is still not clear since the only viruses affected by this RNA binding activity are those genetically engineered to be susceptible. There is also evidence to suggest that IFIT1 can bind fully processed RNAs. My hypothesis is that IFIT1 can interact with cellular RNA and that this interaction is important for the antiviral response. I will use multiple cutting-edge RNA/protein analysis approaches to determine what RNAs IFIT1 binds and their fate, how RNA binding regulates IFIT1 protein-protein interactions and what affect IFIT1 has on translation in the whole cell.

By understanding the impact of IFIT1 on the cell we will gain an insight into its role in the host antiviral response.

Dr Edward Chouchani

University of Cambridge

Defining mechanisms of mitochondrial redox control over adipose function for treatment of metabolic disorders

Obesity is a global epidemic fuelled by ageing populations and poor dietary habits. The health consequences of obesity are widespread and escalating as it’s a major risk factor for leading causes of death including diabetes, cardiovascular disease and cancer. The results are ever-expanding numbers of chronically ill individuals, unsustainable healthcare expenses, and the prediction that the current generation will have a shorter lifespan than those previous.

Accumulation of white fat drives obesity. We now know that a second type of healthy ‘brown’ fat can counteract obesity and diabetes. Recently, I showed that the anti-obesity effects of this healthy brown fat can be stimulated by metabolic signals called mitochondrial reactive oxygen species (mtROS). Different mtROS signals are also thought to be important for the deadly consequences of unhealthy white fat. If we understand how these critical signals act differently in healthy versus unhealthy adipose, we can manipulate them as a new way of treating metabolic disease.

My research focus is to understand how mtROS signals in fat can be manipulated. This will provide new strategies for treating obesity and related metabolic disorders.

Dr Calliope Dendrou

University of Oxford

Investigating the functional basis of shared genetic aetiology across autoimmune diseases

Dr Elena Dreosti

University College London

The neural circuits of social preference

Humans are fundamentally social beings. Our ability to consider the thoughts of others and communicate with them is unparalleled. However, even the most complex social skill requires a basic drive to approach other members of our species. This essential social preference is hard-wired into our brain. For example, newborns immediately prefer to look at faces. If this preference is somehow lost, then our entire social development will be affected.

I want to know how this basic social drive is built into the brain so that we can understand how it might be impaired. This is difficult to study in humans because the brain circuits involved are established before we are born. Brains that develop ex utero can be studied in much more detail.

One such brain is that of the zebrafish. These small fish are transparent when young and develop from a single cell into a social organism in just a few weeks. They provide a unique opportunity to watch the circuitry that creates social preference form, and to see what goes wrong in developmental diseases like autism.

Dr Nuno Faria

University of Oxford

Real-time genetic cartography of viral epidemics

Dr Pawel Grzechnik

University of Birmingham

RNA Polymerase II CTD readers in gene expression regulation

Gene expression is the most strictly controlled process in a living cell. It involves transcription of genetic information encoded in DNA to RNA. This is followed by RNA processing or degradation. Any defect in this process may lead to developmental defects, ineffective stress responses, premature ageing, carcinogenesis and ultimately cell death.

In eukaryotic cells, major RNA metabolism regulatory mechanisms are mediated by the RNA Polymerase II C-terminal domain (CTD). Phosphorylation of CTD constitutes ‘the CTD code’, which is believed to define the recruitment of specific factors (‘CTD readers’) mediating all steps in the transcriptional cycle as well as RNA processing and degradation. In human cells, deregulations of processes mediated by CTD readers are directly associated with cancer and other genetic disorders. Although CTD readers have emerged as central players regulating nuclear RNA metabolism, their functions are still not fully uncovered.

My goal is to elucidate how these fundamental factors ‘police’ RNA by regulating the transcriptional cycle, transcription termination and the stress response. This knowledge will contribute to our understanding of fundamental processes facilitating normal cellular lifespan at the molecular level.


Dr Timotheus Halim

University of Cambridge

Immune-regulatory functions of group 2 innate lymphoid cells in cancer

Dr Zuzana Licenikova Horejsi

Queen Mary, University of London

Identification of novel protein interactions within DNA damage pathways regulated by non-canonical and novel DNA damage kinases

Exposing DNA to agents such as UV light or products of cellular metabolism can result in damage, leading to mutations in the DNA, which can transform normal cells into tumours.

Normal cells are protected from these mutations by DNA damage repair (DDR) mechanisms. The DDR mechanisms are regulated by kinases – enzymes that modify other proteins through a process called phosphorylation. 

The kinases that mainly take part in DDR are called the canonical DDR kinases. The kinases that mainly regulate other cellular processes, but have some involvement in DDR, are called the non-canonical DDR kinases. Surprisingly little is known about the role of these non-canonical kinases in DDR.

My project aims to identify the novel protein-protein interactions within DDR which are dependent on phosphorylation carried out by the non-canonical kinases. It also aims to identify the kinases responsible for the phosphorylation. Ultimately, understanding how DNA damage repair is carried out and regulated will help identify and develop more efficient ways of treating cancer.

Dr Henrik Kløverpris

University College London

The role of innate lymphoid cells in the gut to understand HIV pathology

One important aspect of HIV infection is the direct impact on the gut. The gut barrier maintains separation between commensal bacteria and the host. HIV breaks down the ability of the gut to separate bacteria from entering the host. This results in activation of the immune system, which is the best predictor of time to AIDS. Even HIV patients under successful antiretroviral treatment have viral growth within their lymphoid organs and have elevated immune activation.

A component of the immune system, innate lymphoid cells (ILCs), has recently been discovered. ILCs are essential for the ability of the gut to prevent bacteria from entering the host system. We have shown that ILCs are eradicated from the blood of HIV-infected subjects during early stages of HIV infection.

The specific goal of this research is to understand the role of ILCs in the gut during HIV infection. I will use this information to understand the mechanism of gut break down and develop new treatment strategies to prevent AIDS.

Dr Anna Kuppuswamy

University College London

Psychophysics of predictive motor control: a novel model of post-stroke fatigue

Many stroke survivors complain of a tiredness or fatigue that is different from normal tiredness, and sometimes lasts for months or years. 

A key feature of this fatigue is the feeling of high effort while performing simple actions. Normally, performing simple actions feels effortless because the brain anticipates the sensation associated with force production in muscles and supresses these sensations.

My hypothesis is that the brain system that suppresses the sensations produced from simple movements is faulty in people with fatigue. This means that even simple movements feel effortful. As part of my research, I will temporarily improve the brain’s ability to suppress sensations and investigate if this alleviates fatigue. I will use a number of techniques, including electroencephalograph to record brain activity directly, self-reported questionnaires and brain stimulation techniques. The study will explore neurological fatigue from a completely new perspective and provide a potential therapy for fatigue.

Dr Hansong Ma

University of Cambridge

The genetics of the Drosophila mitochondrial DNA and its influence on evolution and disease

In addition to the nuclear genome, all animals have another genome packed inside the mitochondrion called mtDNA. This maternally inherited genome encodes important proteins for energy production. Mutations in mtDNA are responsible for over 50 mitochondrial diseases, affecting 1 in 4,300 of the UK population. 

Given that there are multiple copies of mtDNA in each cell, pathogenic mitochondrial mutations often arise among thousands of wild-type genomes. Once their percentage exceeds a certain threshold, it causes a phenotypic manifestation of the genetic defects. Selectivity in the transmission of functional versus pathogenic genomes in somatic cells affects the expression of disease phenotype as we age. Selective transmission in germline governs the inheritance of mtDNA mutations from mother to progeny, and in this way its evolution. 

I have developed some genetic tools for mitochondrial studies in Drosophila, which have a mitochondrial genome that is very similar to humans. By artificially mixing different genomes and following their transmission over generations, I will use Drosophila to investigate how mitochondrial mutations are inherited. I will also investigate how differences in mitochondrial genotypes contribute to broad-scale organismal phenotypes, such as longevity and fertility. These studies will advance our understanding of mitochondrial genetics and provide new insights into mitochondrial disease.

Dr Chris MacDonald

University of York

Mechanisms of cell surface recycling pathways

Dr Naomi McGovern

University of Cambridge

Characterisation of the human extra-embryonic macrophage population, Hofbauer cells, phenotype and function

Dr Gemma Modinos

King's College London

Stress and GABA in the pathogenesis of psychosis

Psychosis is the fourth leading cause of disability in the world. The first symptoms, such as hearing voices that aren't there, appear in adolescence. These symptoms result from interactions between genes and environmental risk factors like stress. Current treatments do not work for about 50 per cent of patients, and have little impact on prevention.

Psychosis is associated with producing too much of the brain chemical dopamine, but little is known about what causes this. Research in experimental animals shows that problems in regulating the response to stress lead to deficits in another brain chemical called GABA. This produces an excess of dopamine in the brain. When adolescent rats are given a drug that improves GABA function, the response to stress is reduced. This prevents an excess of dopamine.

I will use neuroimaging to study the relationship between stress, GABA and psychosis in three related studies. These studies will involve the animal model, patients with psychosis, and people at high risk of the disorder. These studies will help us to use the stress response to identify people who are most at risk of psychosis, and new ways of preventing psychosis by reducing the response to stress.

Dr Katarzyna Modrzynska

University of Glasgow

During its life cycle, the malaria parasite passes through a succession of over ten different life forms. These transitions involve extensive remodelling of the parasite cell and require changes in the expression of many genes. Recently a group of potential key regulators of this process called apicomplexa AP2 proteins (apiAP2) was discovered. The role of different members of this family across the life cycle remains to be investigated.

Here I propose to analyse the function of the apiAP2 genes during one of the major bottlenecks of the malaria life cycle - the initial stage of development in the mosquito. By identifying apiAP2 genes essential for this transition and analysing the function, I aim to construct a comprehensive model of this transition. 

Such a model would lead to a better understanding of the parasite biology, potentially leading to the development of new drugs.

Dr Ignacio Moraga

University of Dundee

Mapping cytokine signalling networks using engineered surrogate ligands

Cells sense their environment through surface molecules known as receptors. Engagement of these receptors by factors present in the cellular milieu triggers a series of molecular events inside the cells. This leads to activation of specific gene expression programs and modification of cellular responses. How environmental information is transmitted through these intracellular signalling wires remains one of the longest-standing questions in biology. Deregulation of this process often results in disease, making its molecular understanding very relevant for human health.

I propose to obtain a detailed characterisation of the components that form these intracellular wires and their dynamics in response to alterations in the environmental conditions. I plan to engineer soluble factors that are able to engage surface receptors with different binding topologies and alter the activation of intracellular signalling networks.

By combining these engineered factors with quantitative methodologies that allow the characterisation of the signalling state of a given cell in time, I will obtain a precise understanding of how the intracellular signalling networks are formed and shaped in response to cellular stress. I believe that this will translate into a better comprehension of the functional plasticity exhibited by cells and the development of more specific and less toxic therapies.

Dr Manuel Mueller

King's College London

Function of post-translational modifications of protein backbones in signalling and molecular ageing

The majority of tasks inside living cells are performed by tiny molecular machines, called proteins. Most proteins are regulated by chemical on/off switches. Malfunction of these switches can have disastrous consequences for the wellbeing of individual cells and entire organisms.

I am fascinated by a class of protein switches that respond to molecular wear and tear to signal for repair processes. However, investigating such processes is extremely challenging due to a lack of means to efficiently detect which of over 30,000 different proteins in a cell are affected by ageing, and our inability to age proteins in a controlled manner.

I propose to develop a suite of chemical biology technologies to illuminate how molecular wear and tear impacts senescence of cells and entire organisms. I will design molecular scalpels that precisely cut proteins only at sites of ablation. This will allow me to identify proteins that are susceptible to ageing. I will chemically install artificially aged components into otherwise young proteins and measure how old components affect the structure and function of molecular machines.

I aim to identify senescence sensors and delineate how they operate in healthy cells and might malfunction in diseases.

Dr Timothy Nott

University of Oxford

Compartmentalisation via liquid-liquid phase separation in cells

A central organising principle of eukaryotic cells is the compartmentalisation of biochemical reactions by membrane boundaries into organelles. However, not all processes are organised in this fashion. Organelles, such as nucleoli, Cajal bodies and P-granules are cellular compartments that lack a membrane boundary. Often spherical in appearance and readily observable with a light microscope, membraneless organelles are highly dynamic and can rapidly assemble and dissolve with changes to the cellular environment. They are predominantly associated with DNA and RNA processing, and have been linked with neurodegenerative diseases and viral infection. Membraneless compartments typically display the properties of liquid droplets. They form by the condensation of material in the cell, in a similar way to how water condenses to form rain drops. Their droplet-like nature makes membraneless organelles particularly challenging to work with and study.

By creating model membraneless organelles, I have shown that their interior is a unique solvent environment, geared towards making certain biochemical reactions involving DNA and RNA more efficient.

I propose to use an approach spanning physics and biology to explain how the liquid properties of membraneless organelles provide a general organising principle in cells, and to understand why cells perform certain reactions inside them.

Dr Daniel Neill

University of Liverpool

Identification of niche-specific virulence factors via experimental evolution of Streptococcus pneumoniae

Dr Hanneke den Ouden

University of Cambridge

How to get things done: unravelling the neurobiology of adaptive decision-making

Our brains use at least two different ‘modes’ to make decisions. One mode is fast and almost automatic, but prone to mistakes. The other is more accurate, but takes a lot of time and mental effort. We don’t understand why, how and when we switch between these different modes. This is an important question because people who continuously try to achieve perfection have a high risk of burn-out. Perfectionism is also associated with psychiatric disorders like anxiety and depression.

We will investigate how people make imperfect decisions. We will analyse people’s brain activity while they perform various computer tasks in which they choose whether to use a ‘perfect’ or a ‘fast’ strategy. We will investigate how the brain chemicals dopamine and serotonin help to balance the costs and benefits of each strategy. Finally, we will ask people outside the lab to play our tasks online. Here we will investigate whether their task performance allows us to predict who can thrive in a work environment where there is no time to find a 100 per cent correct answer, and who might need a little help to avoid burn-out.

Dr Adam Packer

University of Oxford

All-optical interrogation of neural circuits during behaviour

Dr Lorenzo Pellis

University of Warwick

Epidemiological and evolutionary consequences of coinfection: a multi-scale modelling approach

Co-infections of multiple pathogens, such as HIV and tuberculosis, are a huge healthcare burden, worsening outcomes for patients and generating epidemics that fuel each other. Co-infections with multiple variants of the same pathogen can also be problematic: co-existence of drug-susceptible and drug-resistant strains can lead to treatment failure and cause resistance to spread among individuals.

The explosion in the amount of genetic data being generated has significantly improved our understanding of the complex processes occurring during co-infection. However, implications for population-level spread, and for the predicted impact of different control policies, remain difficult to assess. Specifically, there is a lack of suitably flexible mathematical models. I will develop novel modelling tools that can capture, in a unified framework, both detailed within-host processes and realistic features of epidemic spread. I will use this approach to study the spread of antimicrobial resistance; the evolution and spread of HIV; and the co-circulation of multiple pathogens. Importantly, I will assess the impact that co-infection has on predicted outcomes of different interventions.

This project will address one of the major modelling challenges that critically limits the predictive power of current models in epidemiology and evolutionary biology.

Dr Saravana Ramasamy

Imperial College London

Aetiology and consequences of vascular ageing in the skeletal system

Ageing is associated with a loss of bone density. This increases the risk of fractures and poor fracture repair, and other musculoskeletal disorders. Understanding the regulation of bone turnover to re-establish bone formation may lead to new strategies to treat bone loss and associated bone disorders. 

Blood vessels – collectively referred to as the vasculature – supply bone with oxygen and nutrients and provide cell surface or secreted signals that regulate skeletal tissue. Age-related changes in bone are associated with changes in the bone vasculature, but it is still largely unknown which physiological factors regulate these changes. 

My study will show blood flow to bone as a critical factor controlling blood vessel growth. The project aims to gain insights into the relationship between blood flow and the bone microenvironment using mice as a model system. I will use a combination of advanced high-resolution imaging, live animal imaging, mouse genetics and transcriptome analysis. The study has the potential to unravel key mechanisms behind bone ageing and identify novel therapeutic strategies for managing age-related bone and blood diseases.

Dr Aman Saleem

University College London

Transforming visual images into cognitive maps

Memory is a fundamental aspect of our selves, defining who we are and where we have been. The seemingly inevitable impairment of memory, due to pathologies such as Alzheimers disease, or normally during ageing, afflicts large segments of the population. Therefore, understanding how memories are created and used represents a major frontier of neuroscience research.

Spatial memory has been the subject of intense research. It is both the knowledge of an environment and sensing where we are while we navigate. How does the brain use external visual images to create an internal spatial memory for navigation? While brain regions involved in vision and memory have independently been the subjects of research, we do not know how they work together.

My goal is to understand how images of visual scenes are transformed into a spatial memory. To investigate this, I will take advantage of new experimental tools: rodent virtual-reality, large-scale electrical recordings and optogenetic interventions of neural circuits. I will investigate the circuits and computations that transform visual signals into spatial signals. I will also investigate how the hippocampus combines visual information with other inputs.

Dr Trevor Sweeney

University of Cambridge

Understanding the translation landscape at the host pathogen interface

When viruses infect a cell they often display structures that are sensed as foreign. After detection, signalling pathways result in the production of proteins called interferons. These proteins induce the production of hundreds of other proteins called interferon-stimulated genes in the infected and neighbouring cells to fend off the viral infection.

I have shown that the interferon-induced protein with tetratricopeptide repeats-1 (IFIT1) preferentially binds RNA with improperly processed ends and blocks the production of protein from this RNA. However, the role of IFIT1 in the antiviral response is still not clear since the only viruses affected by this RNA binding activity are those genetically engineered to be susceptible. There is also evidence to suggest that IFIT1 can bind fully processed RNAs. My hypothesis is that IFIT1 can interact with cellular RNA and that this interaction is important for the antiviral response. I will use multiple cutting-edge RNA/protein analysis approaches to determine what RNAs IFIT1 binds and their fate, how RNA binding regulates IFIT1 protein-protein interactions and what affect IFIT1 has on translation in the whole cell.

By understanding the impact of IFIT1 on the cell we will gain an insight into its role in the host antiviral response.

Dr Jack Wells

University College London

Imaging and activation of glymphatic clearance: a novel strategy for Alzheimer's disease

Dr Elton Zeqiraj

University of Leeds

Assembly, activation and function of JAMM/MPN deubiquitinating complexes

The small protein ubiquitin can alter the fate of a cell’s life. It is attached to other proteins as a tag that carries specific signals and important instructions. Enzymes that perform the protein tagging process (ubiquitylation) are called ligases and those that remove the ubiquitin tag are called deubiquitylases (DUBs). The cell has evolved in many ways to control the activity of DUBs because these are often mutated in cancer, neurodegeneration and autoimmune disease.

I’m interested in a specific DUB family called JAMM/MPN. These proteins often do not act alone, but interact and form large complexes with other regulatory proteins. I want to understand how one such DUB, BRCC36, forms large molecular machines and how it becomes active when the cell requires its services to remove ubiquitin tags. This is important because BRCC36 serves as a safeguard to ensure that immune signals are passed on to clear a viral infection. On other occasions, BRCC36 provides a sitting platform for proteins to repair a damaged strand of DNA.

An important aspect of my research is to identify small molecules that can help us understand how BRCC36 works and perhaps provide a starting point for future therapeutic agents.



Dr Liam Browne

University College London

Functional dissection of neural circuitry underlying pain signalling

Liam is a neuroscientist who is interested in the fundamental mechanisms of nociception and pain. He uses advanced optical and genetic tools with electrophysiology to address how stimuli are encoded and processed by the spinal cord. During this Fellowship he aims to establish how specific cells guide protective behaviours and examine how these processes are transformed in disease.

Dr Rebecca Burton

University of Oxford

Optical interrogation of sub-cellular cardiac signalling in atrial and sino-atrial node arrhythmias at high spatiotemporal resolution

Rebecca is a physiologist with an interest in applying bioengineering methods to answer questions about causes and consequences of arrhythmias. Atrial fibrillation (AF) is the most frequently encountered arrhythmia, associated with increased morbidity and mortality. There are approximately 4.5 million Europeans suffering from AF. Research has suggested an important role for calcium dysregulation in AF. To improve our mechanistic understanding, Rebecca proposes a multidisciplinary approach, ranging from conventional electrophysiology to state-of-the-art tissue engineering and optogenetics and development of novel high-speed optical microscopy techniques. The results will allow a better understanding of the basic biological mechanisms of sub-cellular calcium signalling and the aetiology of AF directly relevant in the development of new treatment therapies.

Dr Helge Dorfmueller

University of Dundee

Functional and structural studies of the streptococcal virulence factor Group A carbohydrate biosynthesis pathway

Helge is a glycobiologist who focuses on exploring how carbohydrates are synthesised by the human-exclusive pathogen Streptococcus pyogenes. These bacteria cause common infections such as tonsillitis ('strep throat'). Importantly, mild infections can develop into life-threating diseases and current antibiotics are not sufficient to eradicate all mild and severe infections. Helge's research is aimed at uncovering the molecular mechanism underlying the biosynthesis of a novel bacterial virulence factor. He uses a multidisciplinary approach, combining molecular microbiology, enzymology, structural biology and inhibitor screening. This research forms the basis to ultimately develop inhibitors to prevent severe streptococcal infections in humans.

Dr Paul Fogg

University of York

Gene transfer agents: prevalence, biology and impact on bacterial genetic diversity

Rapid bacterial evolution is a major public health concern, and limiting the exchange of virulence or antimicrobial-resistant genes between bacteria is an acute challenge for modern medicine. Paul is interested in the molecular mechanisms of horizontal gene transfer, in particular gene transfer agents (GTAs). GTAs are unusual viruses of bacteria with the potential to move any gene from one bacterium to another at extraordinary frequencies, yet there are huge gaps in our knowledge of GTA biology. Paul's research aims to determine the fundamental mechanisms of GTA biology, their prevalence in pathogens and their impact on bacterial evolution.

Dr Ben Longdon

University of Exeter

The evolutionary and mechanistic basis of virus host shifts

Ben's research aims to understand what allows a virus to jump into a new host species and therefore potentially lead to the emergence of a new disease. Ben is based at the University of Exeter's Cornwall campus, where he uses insects and viruses as models to address fundamental questions about pathogen host shifts. He is investigating the factors that determine why viruses can infect some hosts but not others, and is examining how host adaptation and host range can affect the propensity of a virus to host shift.

Dr Andrew MacAskill

University College London

Encoding emotion in neural circuitry

Andrew's work aims to understand how different neurons in the brain communicate with each other to allow them to encode emotional behaviours. Problems with this communication underlie the vast majority of neurodegenerative and neuropsychiatric disorders, and so his aim is to find novel ways to combat these disorders by gaining a greater understanding of the processes that they destroy. To achieve this, Andrew uses a combination of in vivo and in vitro viral expression, two-photon microscopy, optogenetics, electrophysiology and behavioural assays to identify and characterise the synaptic, cellular and circuit mechanisms underlying the generation of emotional behaviour.

Dr Marta Polak

University of Southampton

Targeting human Langerhans cells to induce long-lasting tolerance in allergy

Marta is an immunologist interested in how immune responses to allergens are initiated and regulated in human skin. Allergy is a chronic disease that is expected to affect more than 40 per cent of all Europeans in 10 years' time. Recent studies demonstrate that skin can be successfully used as a gateway for therapeutic interventions aimed at improving the body's immune defences. Marta will combine high-power computing with extensive laboratory analysis of patient samples to answer two important questions: how does the skin allergy develop in early life, and how can we use transcutaneous therapy to deliver allergy treatment and prevention?

Dr Amy Saunders

University of Manchester

The role of CD200R1 signalling in regulating skin inflammation

Amy is an immunologist studying inflammatory skin diseases such as psoriasis. Her research investigates mechanisms that prevent a healthy skin immune system from responding to harmless environmental substances. Her hypothesis is that a failure of such regulatory mechanisms underlies inflammatory skin diseases. CD200R1 is a regulatory protein on the surface of many types of immune cells. Amy's work has shown that this protein plays an important role in regulating immune responses in skin and her current research aims to understand how this regulation occurs, and whether manipulating this protein represents a beneficial therapeutic strategy for inflammatory skin disease.

Dr Hayley Sharpe

University of Cambridge

Receptor tyrosine phosphatases in physiology and disease

Hayley is a cell biologist based at the Cambridge Institute for Medical Research. Her aim is to investigate the function and regulation of the receptor family of tyrosine phosphatases (RPTPs). Dysregulation of protein tyrosine phosphorylation is linked to developmental abnormalities and diseases such as cancer. Her research will focus on revealing the role of plasma membrane RPTPs in sensing the extracellular environment to influence cell behaviour. She uses genetics, functional proteomics and cell-based assays to reveal substrates and signalling pathways controlled by RPTPs in physiology and disease.

Dr Benjamin Steventon

University of Cambridge

Gene expression heterogeneity in the maintenance and coordinated differentiation of neuromesodermal progenitors in vivo

Ben is interested in how the embryo develops from a round ball of cells into an elongated body axis. In vertebrates, stem cells called neuromesodermal progenitors continually self-renew and differentiate to provide a continued source of spinal cord and muscle progenitor cells. How the processes of self-renewal and differentiation are precisely balanced during development and growth is an essential question in biology. Ben aims to understand the mechanisms that control this balance by studying the dynamics of neuromesodermal cells across a range of organisms that display differences in the amount of growth which occurs together with axis elongation.

Dr Lucy Weinert

University of Cambridge

Investigating the link between genome reduction and pathogenicity using an emerging zoonotic pathogen

Lucy is an evolutionary biologist whose research aims to understand why and how bacteria become pathogens. One longstanding observation is that bacterial pathogens often have smaller genomes and fewer genes than their nearest non-pathogenic relatives. Using the bacterium Streptococcus suis as a model system, Lucy's laboratory will sample whole genomes of global populations, develop new statistical models and collate functional data in order to conduct the first large-scale tests of the various hypotheses linking genome reduction and pathogenicity. The long-term goals of this research are to forecast pathogen emergence, to develop preventative strategies, and to improve treatments.


Dr Krishnan Bhaskaran

London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine

BEYOND cancer: using big data to identify opportunities for cardiovascular disease prevention after cancer

Krishnan is a statistical epidemiologist interested in harnessing large-scale electronic healthcare data to answer questions about causes and consequences of cancer. There are more than 2 million cancer survivors in the UK and tens of millions worldwide. The long-term cardiovascular health of these individuals is of concern, given potential cardiotoxicities of cancer treatments. Krishnan aims to bring together multiple 'big data' sources containing information on cancer diagnoses and treatments and long-term health outcomes. He will quantify excess risks of cardiovascular diseases among cancer survivors, develop prediction tools to identify those at highest risk, and investigate opportunities for better use of preventative therapies.

Dr Thomas Clarke

Imperial College London

Defining the members of the microbiota that regulate systemic immunity and promote host resistance to infection

Thomas's research aims to determine how the microbiota regulates the immune system and how this promotes host resistance to infection. Multicellular organisms are colonised by large communities of symbiotic bacteria (the microbiota), which are a major regulator of host immunity. Microbiota disruption has been linked to diseases and conditions including cancer, autoimmunity, and reduced host defence to infection. Thomas is aiming to decipher the language of communication between the immune system and microbiota, which is currently poorly understood. The goal of this is to harness the power of the microbiota as a novel way to combat infections.

Dr Jesmond Dalli

Queen Mary, University of London

Statin-triggered novel resolvins as innovative resolution-based therapeutics in arthritis

Jesmond's research efforts are focused on the structural elucidation of omega-3 fatty acid-derived bioactive mediators, assessing their cellular targets and the molecular mechanisms they activate in the resolution of inflammation. Of particular interest is a new family of mediators that he has identified and termed thirteen series resolvins. These mediators potently regulate the immune response limiting unwanted side effects. Jesmond's aim is to determine how the production of these protective molecules becomes dysregulated in chronic inflammatory diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis. Additionally, he aims to develop ways to replenish their endogenous levels as well as to use these molecules as biotemplates for the development of new therapeutics.

Dr Rhian Daniel

London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine

Statistical methods for studying multidimensional mediators of genetic associations with chronic diseases

Rhian is a statistician with a particular interest in methods for making inferences about cause-effect relationships. Recent advances in omics technologies, which have dramatically changed the nature and scale of observational data, require corresponding developments in statistical methods in order to make sense of this new wealth of information. By focusing on methods for causal mediation analysis and extending them to handle the dimensionality and complexity of proteomic and metabolomic mediators, Rhian aims to be able to answer questions such as: which of the metabolic subtypes of LDL cholesterol lie on the strongest causal pathways from established CVD genes to disease?

Dr Chiara Francavilla

University of Manchester

Exploring how endocytic recycling of receptor tyrosine kinases specifies cellular responses

Chiara is a cell biologist who focuses on exploring how the trafficking of receptor tyrosine kinases (RTKs) from and to the plasma membrane can elicit specific cellular responses. She uses functional proteomics, which integrates quantitative mass-spectrometry-based proteomics, bioinformatics analysis, functional assays and imaging techniques. Her research is aimed at uncovering the molecular mechanisms underlying the intracellular trafficking of RTKs, resultant signalling specificity, and downstream outputs during development and cancer progression. The final goal is to identify and characterise proteins with key roles in RTK signalling and trafficking that can be targeted for intervention in human diseases.

Dr Christos Gkogkas

University of Edinburgh

Translational control of neuronal mRNAs in autism spectrum disorders

Christos is a molecular neurobiologist based at the Centre for Integrative Physiology and the Patrick Wild Centre at the University of Edinburgh. His research focuses on determining how regulation of gene expression, at the level of protein synthesis, in different neuronal cell types can impinge upon neurodevelopmental and neuropsychiatric disorders, such as autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Christos's group applies diverse biochemical and electrophysiological imaging and behavioural approaches in transgenic rodents to elucidate the neurobiological basis of 'autism-like' phenotypes. By studying the neurobiological underpinnings of ASD, Christos aims to identify novel therapeutic avenues for ASD.

Dr Joe Grove

University College London

Characterising viral antibody evasion by conformational masking

For a virus to maintain infection it must spread from one cell to another. Our immune system produces antibodies that bind to viruses and prevent this. However, viruses have evolved strategies to evade antibodies, allowing them to prevail despite our immune response. Joe is investigating conformational masking – an evasion strategy that essentially cloaks viruses from recognition by antibodies. He is using basic virology, patient samples and super-resolution microscopy to study conformational masking by hepatitis C and HIV. Through an understanding of such immune countermeasures we may be able to design therapeutic or vaccine-based interventions that empower the human immune response.

Dr Svetlana Khoronenkova

University of Cambridge

Signalling of DNA single-strand breaks and links to neurodegeneration

Svetlana is a biochemist with interests in DNA damage signalling and repair, also known as the DNA damage response. The cellular response to DNA damage is crucial in living cells that need to repair thousands of DNA lesions each day. The majority of these lesions arise from the intrinsic chemical instability of DNA, and defects in repair lead to human diseases such as cancers and neurodegeneration. Svetlana will use a wide variety of biochemical and molecular biological techniques to expand our understanding of the links between deficiencies in the DNA damage response and the molecular nature of progressive neurological diseases.

Dr Elisa Laurenti

University of Cambridge

Characterisation of inflammation-driven responses in human haematopoietic stem and progenitor cells

Elisa is a molecular and cellular biologist who studies how blood is formed in humans. Her main focus is to understand the molecular regulation of haematopoietic stem cells, the cells responsible for the continuous production of blood throughout a lifetime. After having described the molecular circuitry of these cells in normal steady-state conditions, she now aims to determine how they react to stress, in particular to inflammation. Determining which inflammatory signals act directly on human haematopoietic stem cells, and how, will be important for developing new therapies aimed at palliating the impaired blood production seen in chronic inflammation.

Dr Joo-Hyeon Lee

University of Cambridge

Regulatory signalling networks between stem and niche cells in lung regeneration

Joo-Hyeon's research aims to understand the interplay between stem and niche cells for lineage specification of adult stem cells in normal and diseased lungs. Signalling between stem cells and stromal cells is essential for organogenesis and adult tissue maintenance, but is poorly understood in the context of lung repair and regeneration. She will focus on identifying the key stem-stromal cell interactions and regulatory networks that allow for proper lung cell differentiation and injury repair using in vivo genetic mouse models and an in vitro organoid co-culture system that she has developed. This work will shed light on the repair mechanisms responding to regional damages along the pulmonary axis.

Dr Katrina Lythgoe

University of Oxford

From molecules to pandemics: multi-level adaptation of human chronic viruses

Katrina works on the evolutionary epidemiology of chronic viral infections such as HIV and hepatitis C. She is particularly interested in disentangling the often-conflicting selection pressures that occur at the within- and among-host scales, and how these pressures impact the evolution of these viruses in the face of different intervention strategies. She uses a range of methods including mathematical modelling, stochastic simulations, and the analysis of deep-sequencing data. Previously, Katrina held a Wellcome Trust Career Re-entry Fellowship, and prior to her return to research she was the Editor of Trends in Ecology & Evolution for seven years.

Dr Sara Macias-Ribela

University of Edinburgh

Antiviral defence mechanisms: small RNAs versus interferon pathway

Sara is an RNA biologist who focuses on understanding the control of the innate immune response in mammalian cells, particularly the cellular responses to dsRNA, which is a common intermediate of viral replication. Sara's main interests are to understand from the molecular and cellular level how differentiated and pluripotent cells employ different mechanisms to fight viral infections. These different cellular models will be used to study the cross-talk between the interferon and the small RNA pathway as two alternative antiviral mechanisms.

Dr Tom McAdams

King's College London

Elucidating the aetiology of psychopathology: taking a multigenerational approach to genetically informative data

Tom's research falls into the fields of developmental psychopathology, quantitative genetics, and psychiatric epidemiology. He is interested in the use of genetically informative datasets to understand the intergenerational transmission of psychopathology – how and why mental health problems run in families. Previously Tom has used children-of-twins datasets to study the impact of parental depression and anxiety on child emotional development. During his Fellowship Tom will be further developing the statistical models used to analyse such data. He will also extend his work into population databases and multigenerational genomic datasets in order to better understand the mechanisms underlying intergenerational transmission.

Dr Maike de la Roche

University of Cambridge

Hedgehog signalling in T cell effector and memory function in vivo

Maike is a vet and immunologist based at the Cancer Research UK Cambridge Institute. She is interested in CD8 T cells, which protect the body against infection with intracellular pathogens and tumours. Maike's research aims to elucidate the role of the developmental Hedgehog signalling pathway in CD8 T-cell effector and memory cell differentiation, maintenance and function during infection and tumorigenesis. Advances in this field will greatly benefit therapeutic approaches against infection as well as immunotherapy in cancer patients.

Dr Philip Spence

University of Edinburgh

Monocyte and macrophage function in malaria disease severity

Phil is a malariologist who wants to understand how children acquire immunity to severe malaria early in life. Resistance to severe disease is frequently observed after just one or two infections, and does not correlate with a child's ability to control parasite density. Immunity to severe malaria is therefore an acquired mechanism of disease tolerance. Phil's group at the University of Edinburgh are asking whether malaria can rewire the innate immune system to reduce inflammation and generate disease resistance. By studying mechanisms of innate immunity to malaria, the group aim to develop novel anti-disease vaccines.

Dr Bernhard Staresina

University of Birmingham

Episodic memory during offline periods

Bernhard's research focuses on episodic memory, our intriguing ability to mentally travel back in time and re-experience past events and experiences in great detail. Situated at the interface of neuroscience and experimental psychology, Bernhard uses functional neuroimaging in conjunction with electrophysiological recording techniques such as intracranial electroencephalography to elucidate the neural mechanisms underlying episodic memory formation and retrieval. Bernhard’s current projects aim to better understand how the brain solidifies previous experiences while we sleep. Gaining experimental control over such 'offline periods' holds great promise for opening a new window to targeted memory enhancement and therapeutic intervention.

Dr Timothy Witney

University College London

Detecting tumour resistance to treatment with positron emission tomography

Tim's research focuses on the discovery and development of novel imaging methods to measure tumour resistance to therapy. The majority of cancer deaths result from ineffective treatment of metastatic disease due to either acquired or innate resistance to anti-cancer drugs. There is therefore an urgent unmet clinical need to develop biomarkers that can sensitively detect resistance to therapy early in a patient's treatment cycle. The early detection of treatment failure by noninvasive imaging will hopefully enable the selection of different drugs and more effective treatments, with the potential to substantially improve outcomes in this disease.

Dr Tzviya Zeev-Ben-Mordehai

University of Oxford

Molecular understanding of protein-mediated cell-cell fusion in fertilisation, development and viral spread using structural hybrid approach

Tzviya is a structural biologist interested in proteins that mediate the merging of membranes. Membrane fusion is a central process for all eukaryotic cells. Extracellular fusion that is cell-cell fusion is a crucial step in the initiation and development of multicellular organisms as well as maintaining homeostasis. Tzviya's project objective is an integrative structural characterisation of cell-cell fusion. The core technique to be applied is cryo-electron microscopy complemented by super-resolution fluorescence microscopy and crystallography. Her study aims to pave the way for molecular intervention in plasma membrane fusion, eg for designing new infertility treatments and contraception.


Dr Maria Alcolea

University of Cambridge

Stem cell fate and plasticity in oesophageal wound healing

Maria is a cell biologist who focuses on understanding the behaviour of epithelial stem and progenitor cells. She uses the mouse oesophagus as a model to unveil the basic rules governing cell fate. Maria's work in the field has revealed how normal cell behaviour is drastically altered in response to injury. More recently she has shown how progenitor cells alter and adapt their dynamics as a result of pre-carcinogenic mutations, reflecting a remarkable epithelial plasticity. Maria’s main interests are in investigating the cellular and molecular mechanisms underlying this plastic cell behaviour, and the potential implications for early cancer development.

Dr Oliver Bannard

University of Oxford

Exploring how the germinal centre cellular programme promotes efficient affinity maturation

Oliver is a cellular immunologist based at the Weatherall Institute of Molecular Medicine at the University of Oxford. His research is aimed at determining some of the biological mechanisms employed by germinal centre B cells for promoting efficient antibody affinity maturation. Germinal centres are highly-dynamic, tightly-regulated environments in which B cells repeatedly mutate their immunoglobulin genes and undergo selection based upon the encoded membrane antibody’s ability to bind and capture antigen. Oliver aims to learn how these processes are controlled. It is hoped that advances in this field will facilitate the rational design of better vaccines and immunotherapies.

Dr Jimena Berni

University of Cambridge

Hox genes and the diversification of neuronal circuits

Jimena's research focuses on the general area of developmental neuroscience. In particular she investigates the relationship between neuronal circuits and behaviour, with emphasis on the diversification of circuits that control region-specific movements along the body axis. Specifically, Jimena studies the role of evolutionarily conserved Hox genes in specifying different neuronal networks and their assembly during development. This work will shed light on the mechanism and processes that generate regional specialisation of structure and function in the central nervous system.

Dr Kok-Lung (Chris) Chan

University of Sussex

Molecular basis of inheritable DNA lesions on genome transformation

Chris is a cell biologist whose group is based in the MRC Genome Damage and Stability Centre at the University of Sussex. His research focuses on understanding how genome integrity is maintained and restored under replication stress. Replication stress not only causes DNA damage during replication but also interferes with the timely completion of replication, which may result in the transmission of damaged genetic material into offspring cells. His main goal is to elucidate the mechanism(s) of genome rearrangements caused by replication stress induced DNA lesions, and ultimately develop preventative medicine and targeting therapy for cancers.

Dr Maria Christophorou

University of Edinburgh

Protein citrullination in cell physiology and disease

Maria is a biomedical scientist who has previously worked on tumour suppression, pluripotency and chromatin biology. She is interested in understanding protein regulation by post-translational modification, and her current research focuses on citrullination, a poorly-studied post-translational amino acid conversion. Abnormal citrullination is a pathological feature of diseases such as autoimmunity, neurodegeneration and cancer. Maria is using her Fellowship to set up an independent laboratory at the MRC Institute of Genetics and Molecular Medicine to study the molecular events that control citrullination, how it modulates protein function, and its impact on cell physiology and disease.

Dr Paul Conduit

University of Cambridge

Investigating the spatiotemporal regulation of microtubule nucleation in Drosophila

Paul is a cell biologist based in the Department of Zoology at the University of Cambridge, who wants to understand how microtubule formation is regulated in space and time. Microtubules are polarised polymers that have a wide range of important roles in cells, including organising and transporting intracellular particles, vesicles and organelles, and separating duplicated chromosomes during mitosis. Paul uses a combination of Drosophila genetics and live cell imaging to study microtubule formation at different microtubule organising centres (MTOCs) in different cell types. He aims to determine how MTOCs form and how they recruit the protein complexes required to catalyse microtubule formation.

Dr Julia Cordero

University of Glasgow

Regulation of stem cell function during tissue homeostasis and transformation

Julia is a developmental biologist and geneticist who combines work on the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster and mammalian model systems to understand the regulation of stem cells during tissue homeostasis and transformation. Using the adult Drosophila midgut, Julia wants to understand how cell-autonomous and niche-derived signals integrate to regulate stem cell proliferation in response to damage, as well as during tumorigenesis of adult self-renewing epithelia. By translating results from the fly into suitable mammalian paradigms, Julia aims to identify conserved mechanisms involved in the regulation of tissue homeostasis, which will be of broad benefit to our understanding of human health and disease.

Dr Rebecca Corrigan

University of Sheffield

Functional characterisation of (p)ppGpp in Staphylococcus aureus: essential messengers required for stress adaption and survival

Rebecca is a molecular microbiologist interested in the study of the cell-signalling and virulence mechanisms of the Gram-positive pathogen Staphylococcus aureus. Her recent work has led to the development of a genome-wide approach to analyse nucleotide-protein interactions. Rebecca aims to use this methodology, in conjunction with biochemical assays, to identify binding targets for (p)ppGpp, nucleotides that are involved in promoting persistent and recurrent infections. The mapping of the (p)ppGpp signalling network will provide a greater understanding of how S. aureus can persist in the human host, enabling rational drug design.

Dr Nick Croucher

Imperial College London

Evolutionary dynamics underlying pneumococcal genomic diversity

Nick is a microbiologist interested in pneumococcus, a bacterium usually harmlessly carried in the nasopharynx of many children that is also a common cause of pneumonia, sepsis and meningitis in infants and the elderly. These bacteria vary extensively in the frequency with which they cause disease and their susceptibility to antibiotics and vaccine-induced immunity. Nick's project aims to understand the evolutionary processes that create this diversity through combining information from genomics, molecular microbiology and mathematical modelling. The ultimate goal is to understand how bacterial pathogens are likely to respond to changes in the way we treat or prevent disease.

Dr Owen Davies

Newcastle University

The molecular structure and function of the human synaptonemal complex in meiosis

Owen's research aims to uncover the molecular basis of chromosome synapsis and genetic exchange during mammalian meiosis. In the first meiotic division, homologous chromosome pairs are 'zipped' tightly together along their entire length by the synaptonemal complex, a large protein assembly that provides the three-dimensional framework for meiotic recombination and crossing over. Through a biochemical and structural biology approach, Owen aims to solve the molecular structure of the synaptonemal complex and establish how it interacts with and directs the recombination machinery. This work will reveal the molecular details of meiotic chromosome synapsis and crossing over, and ultimately how defects in these processes lead to infertility, miscarriage and aneuploidy.

Dr Philip Elks

University of Sheffield

Manipulation of host hypoxia signalling as a therapeutic strategy for mycobacterial infection

Phil's research aims to understand the host innate immune response to mycobacterial infection (the causative bacteria of tuberculosis), in order to identify novel therapeutic strategies that may be effective against emerging drug-resistant strains. Specifically, he has focused on host-derived hypoxia signalling and has demonstrated that manipulation of this signalling system can help the host tackle infection. His lab uses a zebrafish model of mycobacterial infection to gain in vivo insights into the underlying mechanisms of hypoxia signalling regulation during infection. Phil's goal is to determine whether targeting hypoxia signalling could be used as an effective future TB therapy.

Dr Sarah Flanagan

University of Exeter

Applying the power of genetics to increase knowledge of underlying mechanisms of recessively-inherited congenital hyperinsulinism

Sarah is a molecular geneticist whose research focuses on monogenic disorders of insulin secretion. Her primary interest is in understanding the genetic basis of congenital hyperinsulinism, a severe, potentially devastating disorder characterised by the inappropriate secretion of insulin despite hypoglycaemia. Using a combination of homozygosity mapping studies and next-generation sequencing, Sarah aims to identify novel disease genes for congenital hyperinsulinism in the 60 per cent of patients currently without a genetic diagnosis. Understanding the underlying mechanisms of this disease will provide vital novel insights into beta-cell physiology and insulin secretion.

Dr Rachel Freathy

University of Exeter

Using genetics to understand how the maternal intrauterine environment influences fetal growth

Rachel aims to understand why some babies grow very large in utero while others are born very small. Her research uses information on genetic variations in large studies of mothers and their babies to separate true causal effects of the maternal environment from mere correlations. A better understanding of the factors that influence birth weight should enable targeted intervention to improve pregnancy management for healthy fetal growth.

Dr Elizabeth Fullam

University of Warwick

Understanding the role of sugar transporters in Mycobacterium tuberculosis

Liz is currently working in the School of Life Sciences at the University of Warwick. Her research focuses on understanding nutrient uptake and metabolism in Mycobacterium tuberculosis with the hope that this will lead to the development of novel therapeutic or diagnostic strategies. To achieve this, her lab is bringing together a range of biochemical, chemical and genetic approaches to determine the molecular mechanisms involved in the transport processes of essential nutrients by this pathogenic organism.

Dr Matthew Gold

University College London

Local cyclic AMP signalling in synaptic plasticity

Matthew is a structural neurobiologist who is interested in understanding how second messengers control changes in synaptic connections between neurons that are fundamental to learning. Second messengers, including cyclic AMP, can alter synaptic strength in different ways within a single neuron depending on the primary stimulus. Matthew's laboratory uses methods from structural biology, synthetic biology and electrophysiology to understand how neuronal proteins are organised at the molecular level to respond to local rises in second messengers. In this way, his laboratory aims to fill fundamental gaps in knowledge at a molecular level that is informative for pharmaceutical development.

Dr John Grainger

University of Manchester

Understanding the role and consequences of systemic monocyte conditioning during infection

John is an immunologist interested in mechanisms regulating inflammatory cells, in particular monocytes. Based at the Manchester Collaborative Centre for Inflammation Research (MCCIR), University of Manchester, his group uses disease models alongside patient samples to explore inflammatory cell education during infection. Recently John’s work has focused on understanding how signals from the gut and lung instruct developing monocytes in the bone marrow following pathogen challenge and the consequences of this ‘systemic’ training. By identifying novel factors involved in this dialogue John aims to identify targets to modulate aberrantly activated inflammatory cells in chronic diseases such as inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD) or allergies.

Dr Matthew Hepworth

University of Manchester

Innate immune regulation of pathologic CD4+ T-cell responses in inflammatory disease

Matt is an immunologist who aims to understand how inflammation and immunity are orchestrated at mucosal barrier sites such as the gastrointestinal tract and lung. At the University of Manchester his group uses disease models and patient-derived samples to determine how a rare population of immune cells, known as innate lymphoid cells, act to control the magnitude of inflammatory immune responses towards foreign organisms and allergens. A greater understanding of how innate immune pathways regulate inflammation at mucosal barrier sites will inform the development of novel therapeutics to treat chronic human diseases such as inflammatory bowel disease and asthma.

Dr Clare Howarth

University of Sheffield

The role of astrocytes in neurovascular coupling in health and ageing

Clare is a neuroscientist with an interest in neurovascular coupling. It is critical for normal brain function that neural energy demands are met. Neural activity leads to a local increase in cerebral blood flow, a relationship termed neurovascular coupling. The mechanisms underlying this relationship are incompletely understood but involve many cell types including neurons, glia, and vascular cells. Based at the University of Sheffield, Clare's laboratory uses imaging techniques ranging from the cellular level (multiphoton laser-scanning microscopy) to the whole brain (fMRI) to investigate how astrocytes are involved in neurovascular coupling and how this relationship changes in ageing.

Dr Meritxell Huch

University of Cambridge

Understanding the molecular mechanisms of adult live regeneration

Meritxell is a stem cell biologist with a background in cancer and tissue regeneration. Stem cells are required for tissue homeostasis and tissue repair. At the Gurdon Institute, University of Cambridge, Meritxell and her team are focused on gaining further understanding of the molecular mechanism by which stem cells sense tissue damage and start proliferating to repair the injured tissue. By gaining further insight into these repair mechanisms, Meritxell aims to better understand the basics of cancer, because during tumour initiation, similar processes have to be activated to instruct the resting cells to start proliferating.

Dr Daniel Lawson

University of Bristol

Statistical methodology for population genetics inference from massive datasets with applications in epidemiology

Daniel's research focuses on problems arising from the volume of genetics data currently available. He uses and develops tools in statistics and machine learning to apply powerful genetics models at scale. His research examines population structure and its interaction with genomic selection. This provides insight into both the genetic history of people and the functional roles that genes may play in populations experiencing different environments. His research helps us to understand the information provided by massive-scale analyses, such as genome-wide association studies, as well as trying to identify genetic variants causing disease.

Dr Gloria Lopez-Castejon

University of Manchester

How regulation of deubiquitination by danger signals modulates and orchestrates inflammasome activation

Gloria is a molecular immunologist studying fundamental mechanisms of inflammation. Her group is based at the Manchester Collaborative Centre for Inflammation Research and she is interested in the regulation of the inflammasome, a molecular complex required for the release of potent pro-inflammatory mediators, such as interleukin-1β. Her research investigates the relationship between danger signals, deubiquitinases (DUBs) and inflammasome activation in macrophages to establish novel roles for DUBs in the inflammatory process and, consequently, in inflammatory pathologies.

Dr Tamar Makin

University of Oxford

Pushing the boundaries of human brain plasticity through sensory deprivation and learning

Tamar is based at the FMRIB, the University of Oxford’s neuroimaging centre. Her ultimate aim is to characterise and extend the boundaries of plasticity in the adult human brain, by combining experimental approaches from neuroscience, experimental psychology and rehabilitation. Her work addresses both scientific and clinical needs to better understand the relationship between two drivers of brain plasticity: input loss and altered behaviour. Her main clinical model is arm amputation, which introduces sensory deprivation, adaptive motor behaviour and phantom pain. Based on her experimental work, Tamar hopes to harness these drivers to enhance adaptive plasticity and reverse maladaptive processes in the clinic.

Dr Victoria Male

University College London

Natural killer cell subsets in the liver: phenotype, function and role in obesity-induced liver disease

Victoria is an immunologist who is interested in the development and functions of natural killer (NK) cells and their relatives. A special subset of liver-specific NK cells has recently been identified in mice. Victoria aims to investigate whether these cells are also present in the human liver, and to determine their functions in health and disease. In particular, she is interested in whether they have a role in the development and progression of the obesity-associated liver disease non-alcoholic steatohepatitis, which is thought to affect as many as five per cent of adults in the UK.

Dr Emily Osterweil

University of Edinburgh

Differential regulation of protein synthesis in synaptic plasticity and autism spectrum disorders with associated intellectual disability

Emily is a cellular neuroscientist interested in understanding how neurons use de novo protein synthesis to alter the strength of individual synapses. Her work is focused on isolating specific mRNAs that are newly translated in response to synaptic stimulation, in part using newly developed TRAP and RNA-seq technologies. She also investigates the interplay between the ERK and mTOR signalling pathways, which function in translation control. Emily's goal is to understand how the synthesis of new proteins supports both the strengthening and weakening of synapses, and how this goes awry in autism-linked neurodevelopmental disorders.

Dr Bryn Owen

Imperial College London

Female infertility: deciphering the mechanisms that perturb ERa signalling in the hypothalamus

Bryn is a molecular endocrinologist with training in nuclear hormone receptor signalling and the hypothalamic pathways that govern female reproductive function. Using model systems, he is investigating how the cellular receptor for oestrogen controls the timing and progression of the ovulatory cycle. He is also interested in understanding how this control is lost during nutritional challenges such as obesity and anorexia. Ultimately, Bryn aims to identify novel therapeutic targets for the treatment of metabolic sub-fertility in women.

Dr Ede Rancz

The Francis Crick Institute

Visuo-spatial processing in retrosplenial cortex

Ede is a neuroscientist with a background in synaptic physiology, single-cell computation and systems-level sensory processing. His laboratory focuses on the retrosplenial cortex of mice using in vivo patch clamping, calcium imaging, rabies-based connectivity mapping and behavioural techniques aiming to elucidate how internally generated models interact with external sensory stimuli to guide behaviour.

Dr Anthony Roberts

Birkbeck, University of London

Mechanisms and decisions in microtubule-based intracellular transport

Anthony's research focuses on the action of motor proteins; specialised proteins that travel inside cells and help them organise their contents, move, divide and respond to signals. His group within the Institute of Structural and Molecular Biology at Birkbeck/University College London uses structural biology and single-molecule techniques to ask mechanistic questions, such as: how do motor proteins move? How are they regulated in living cells? How and why does their malfunction give rise to human diseases such as neurodegeneration?

Dr Rahul Roychoudhuri

Babraham Institute

Regulation of immune function by the transcription factor BACH2

Rahul's research aims to understand how a class of proteins called transcription factors guide the behaviour of T lymphocytes. T lymphocytes powerfully regulate immune function by differentiating into specialised cellular lineages that either drive or constrain immune reactions. Based at the Babraham Institute in Cambridge, Rahul’s group applies diverse molecular biology, cellular immunology and functional genomics approaches to investigate how transcription factors regulate lymphocyte behaviour in the context of infections, autoimmunity and cancer. This research aims to identify targets for a new class of therapies that will powerfully manipulate immune function in patients with autoimmunity, chronic infection and cancer.

Dr Jerome Sallet

University of Oxford

Neuroethology of social decisions in primates

Jerome is a cognitive neuroscientist with a background in electrophysiology, neuroanatomy and neuroimaging. Through the complementarity of these techniques he is studying the structure and function of neuronal circuits supporting decision process. His current research looks more specifically at how social information is learned and encoded in the brain - from the neuronal level to the network level - to guide our behaviour. Understanding the role that neural circuits play in normal social cognition will not only inform theories in neuroscience, but will be an essential step to discover the neural mechanisms underlying disorders characterised by alteration of socio-cognitive processes.

Dr Philipp Voigt

University of Edinburgh

Roles of symmetric and asymmetric histone H3 lysine 27 trimethylation in gene repression and epigenetic inheritance

Philipp is a biochemist and cell biologist who is interested in understanding how post-translational modifications of histone proteins regulate gene expression. His research particularly focuses on the molecular mechanisms of the repressive histone mark H3 lysine 27 methylation. By combining biochemical and microscopy-based approaches, his lab aims to determine how this mark controls the expression of developmental genes in embryonic stem cells and to clarify whether this mark can serve as an epigenetic signal that can pass on information to daughter cells.


Dr Caswell Barry

University College London

Role of novelty and uncertainty in memory formation: neural mechanisms

Caswell is a neuroscientist whose goal is to build a computational understanding of the neural basis of memory. This will entail explaining how a network of neurons is able to store, update and retrieve information about the world and events that happen within it. To this end, Caswell studies spatial memory and its representation in the hippocampal formation. His lab uses tools such as computational modelling and optogenetic manipulations to understand how the processes of memory formation and retrieval are triggered.

Dr Isaac Bianco

University College London

From vision to action: systems analysis of sensorimotor circuitry controlling visually guided behaviour

Isaac started his research group in the Department of Neuroscience, Physiology and Pharmacology at UCL in 2013. He is interested in understanding the neural basis of behaviour and his research combines two-photon functional imaging of neural activity with manipulation through optogenetic techniques. In addition, quantitative behavioural assays in larval zebrafish are used to investigate the structure and function of complete sensorimotor circuits.

Dr Miguel Branco

Queen Mary, University of London

Epigenetic control of retrotransposable elements

Miguel is interested in epigenetic mechanisms that regulate genome function and are implicated in cell identity, development and disease. He is currently investigating the role of different DNA modifications in the regulation of transposable elements. Using current and novel epigenomic technologies combined with molecular biology and genetic approaches, he aims to functionally dissect the epigenetic influence that these abundant genomic elements exert on gene expression and how they contribute to phenotypic variability.

Dr Filipe Cabreiro

University College London

Exploring the gut microbial action of metformin: targeting the gut microbiota to treat metabolic disease

Filipe is a biochemist with a background in exploring the biological mechanisms underlying molecular stress protection and ageing. Recently he has pioneered the use of the model organism Caenorhabditis elegans to study how drug-microbiota interactions affect host metabolism and ageing. This work has led to a focus on host-microbiota interactions and metabolic disorders. Using a combination of metagenomics and gnotobiotics, his research seeks to gain insight into the gut microbial action of drugs in higher organisms and to develop strategies for targeting the gut microbiota to treat host metabolic disease.

Dr Alan Cheung

University College London

Molecular mechanisms of transcriptional activation

Alan is a structural biologist interested in the fundamental mechanisms of gene transcription and how those mechanisms are used to control mRNA expression in eukaryotes. His group is based at the joint Institute of Structural and Molecular Biology at UCL and Birkbeck, and will combine a variety of structural, biochemical, biophysical and genetic methods to dissect and study the very large macromolecular complexes that mediate transcriptional activation. Alan's goal is to understand how these complexes act as focal points for transcriptional regulation.

Dr Iwan Evans

University of Sheffield

Studying integration of apoptotic cell clearance and macrophage migration dynamically in vivo

Iwan's research aims to understand how apoptotic cells influence macrophage behaviour and motility, both via intercellular signalling and events post-engulfment. To achieve this his lab is taking a genetic approach, studying a highly motile population of macrophages called hemocytes, which are found within fruit fly embryos. In identifying novel regulatory mechanisms, Iwan aims to provide new targets to manipulate macrophage behaviour in the wide range of human diseases in which they contribute to disease progression, such as cancer, atherosclerosis and chronic inflammation.

Dr Shukry Habib

King's College London

The molecular mechanism of Wnt-mediated asymmetric stem cell division

Shukry is a stem cell biochemist with research interests in understanding the extrinsic and intrinsic cues that choreograph stem cell behaviour during homeostasis, injury, and tumorigenesis. Recently Shukry has demonstrated that a localised source of Wnt signals induces oriented asymmetric cell division (ACD) of embryonic stem cells. By applying principles from bioengineering, stem cell biology and advanced imaging techniques, Shukry aims to gain insight into the underlying molecular mechanism of ACD at the single-cell level, as well as in a tissue context. These studies will aid in our ability to utilise and target critical cells for regenerative medicine.

Dr James Harker

Imperial College London

Contextual manipulation of the IL-6 family of cytokines to alter and enhance CD4+ T-cell immunity to respiratory viral infections

James is a viral immunologist with research interests in understanding the signals involved in generating potent antibody-mediated immunity to infections. His group in the Leukocyte Biology Section at Imperial College London will focus on determining the processes involved in promoting this type of immune response to respiratory viral infections, with the hope of developing novel therapeutic and vaccination strategies. The lab will use a number of in vivo infectious and genetic models that accurately reflect the complexities of the host immune response, allowing James to dissect how specific molecules, along with factors such as age, timing of infection and virus type, influence the outcome.

Dr Christopher Illingworth

University of Cambridge

Multi-locus models of pathogen evolution

Chris is interested in how genome sequences shed light on the rapid evolution of pathogens. A particular focus for his research is the development of tools for interpreting time-resolved data, where sequences collected across time show evolutionary changes in a population as they occur. Working in the Department of Genetics at the University of Cambridge, Chris hopes to better understand how pathogens respond to evolutionary pressures such as host immune responses and drug therapy.

Dr Zamin Iqbal

University of Oxford

Statistical methods for analysing complex genomic variation in human pathogens

Zamin studies the genomes of different strains of pathogens that cause human diseases. Unlike humans, whose DNA all looks remarkably similar, pathogen strains often have significantly different genomes, which they achieve by swapping large chunks of DNA. These differences are very important, as it is known that strains of a pathogen acquire new abilities (e.g. drug resistance in MRSA, immune evasion, or even the ability to infect humans) through these mutations. Zamin's lab aims to provide insight into pathogen biology and epidemiology, and directly assist clinical decisions, by producing computational tools that analyse new samples or outbreaks in the context of the 'super-genome' of the entire species.

Dr James Kirkbride

University College London

Psychosis risk over the life course: a multilevel, longitudinal investigation of social, economic and physical environmental risk factors at different stages in life

James is a psychiatric epidemiologist interested in understanding how exposure to social factors, including the environments in which we live, may contribute to our risk of psychosis over the life course. He is currently investigating how the social and environmental factors we are exposed to at different periods of our lives (in early infancy, childhood, adolescence and adulthood) may contribute to developing severe mental illnesses, such as psychotic disorder. He is particularly interested in social inequalities, minority position, and ethnicity. James tests his research questions in England, Sweden and Canada, applying multilevel and spatial regression techniques to longitudinal datasets available in these countries.

Dr Bon-Kyoung Koo

University of Cambridge

Characterisation of novel E3 ubiquitin ligases that are enriched in LGR5-positive intestinal stem cells and niche

Bon-Kyoung is a mouse geneticist with broad experience in the field of E3 ubiquitin ligases. He is based at the Cambridge Stem Cell Institute, where he studies the role of endosomal E3 ubiquitin ligases in two major signalling pathways. Currently, his research focus is on identifying and understanding the role of novel E3 ubiquitin ligases in homeostatic regulation of stem cells.

Dr Dante Mantini

University of Oxford

Large-scale alterations of cortical activity induced by brain lesions and their relevance to behavioural deficits

Dante is a cognitive neuroscientist who combines neuroimaging experiments and computational models to understand the functional architecture of the brain. He works in the field of brain connectivity, investigating how dynamic interactions between distant brain regions are generated. His current work focuses on examining changes in behaviour and brain connectivity following highly controlled lesions in the macaque brain. This research may have an impact on the way we view the effects of brain lesioning on cognition.

Dr Benedetto de Martino

University of Cambridge

Imperfect choice and the brain: uncertainty, value and decision making

Benedetto is a cognitive neuroscientist who works in the field of decision making. He combines economic models and the tools of cognitive neuroscience, with the aim of developing a realistic account of the behaviour underpinning complex phenomena in economics and finance. His focus is on studying how the human brain computes the values that guide decisions in the face of uncertainty and fragmented information. The goal is to clarify, at the neurobiological level, why some of the most important decisions we make in life are 'suboptimal' or 'imperfect'.

Dr Ainhoa Mielgo Iza

University of Liverpool

Studying the impact of a non-canonical CRAF-PLK1 signalling pathway in desmoplasia and pancreatic cancer progression

Ainhoa is a cancer cell biologist who works on understanding how tumour and stromal cells regulate vital processes, such as apoptosis, proliferation and migration, to survive and promote tumour progression. It has recently become evident that in carcinomas the non-malignant stromal cells play a key role in tumour progression and resistance to therapy. Thus, Ainhoa is currently focusing on understanding the molecular mechanisms regulating the proliferation and survival of cancer-associated fibroblasts (CAFs). A better understanding of how the proliferation of CAFs is regulated could help improve current anticancer therapies. Therefore, the overall goal of Ainhoa's research programme is to identify novel key regulators necessary for the aberrant proliferation of CAFs and to investigate the therapeutic benefits of inhibiting proliferation of CAFs in cancer.

Dr Gary Mirams

University of Oxford

Improving assessment of drug-induced cardiac risk with mathematical electrophysiology models

Gary is a computational biologist working on the prediction of potential cardiac side-effects associated with a novel drug compound during its development. Pharmaceutical companies can already perform experiments to measure how drug compounds affect some of the ion channel proteins that control the electrical wave that activates the heart. Gary is using mathematical models of cardiac electrophysiology to integrate this information by performing simulations of the electrical activity of the heart at the cell and tissue levels. The aim is to predict any increased risk of disturbances to human heart rhythm earlier in drug development and more accurately than the existing animal-based safety tests.

Dr Patricia Muller

University of Leicester

Mutant p53 enhances receptor recycling to enhance invasion and chemo-resistance

Patricia is a cancer biologist who has studied the role of mutant p53 proteins in cancer. She has characterised an important intracellular pathway (Rab-coupling protein-driven receptor recycling) as a molecular mechanism underlying mutant p53-driven invasion and metastasis. Mutant p53 expression frequently correlates with drug resistance, and preliminary data reveal a potential role for receptor recycling in mediating chemo-resistance. Using molecular and imaging approaches, Patricia will extend these studies to determine the molecular mechanisms underlying mutant p53-dependent chemo-resistance and to further characterise the molecular pathways regulated by mutant p53 to promote invasion and metastasis.

Dr Nathalie Rochefort

University of Edinburgh

Neuronal circuits and synaptic mechanisms of experience-dependent plasticity

Nathalie started her research group in 2013 at the Centre for Integrative Physiology at the University of Edinburgh. She is a sensory neuroscientist whose goal is to understand how neural activity in the visual cortex underlies our perception of a visual scene. By using the method of two-photon calcium imaging combined with electrophysiological recordings, the aim of her project is to determine how sensory experience durably modifies the activity of cortical neuronal networks.

Dr Helen Rowe

University College London

Epigenetic pathways through which endogenous retroviruses regulate cellular genes in pluripotent cells

Helen is investigating the function of the repetitive genome with a focus on endogenous retroviruses, which represent around 10 per cent of mammalian genomes. Her research, using the mouse model, has revealed that rather than being 'junk DNA', as previously thought, endogenous retroviruses recruit epigenetic marks and serve as important regulatory elements to affect gene expression, particularly in stem cells. This is because stem cells are enriched in novel factors that target retroviral sequences in order to protect genome integrity. By characterising these factors, Helen aims to uncover the mechanisms by which endogenous retroviruses regulate stem cell biology and early embryogenesis. This work is relevant to the understanding and development of stem cell therapies.

Dr Charlotte Stagg

University of Oxford

Exploring the role of inhibition in human motor plasticity

Charlie is a neuroscientist who is interested in understanding how the brain learns new motor skills. By combining advanced brain imaging techniques and non-invasive brain stimulation approaches, her group will explore the physiological changes underpinning human motor learning. In particular, Charlie is interested in exploring the role of GABA, the major inhibitor neurotransmitter, in motor plasticity. Ultimately this work should help inform new strategies to optimise learning, especially in the context of recovery of function after stroke.

Dr Daniel Streicker

University of Glasgow

Managing viral emergence at the interface of bats and livestock

Daniel is an infectious disease ecologist who aims to develop new strategies to mitigate the impacts of emerging infectious diseases. He seeks to achieve this by understanding the epidemiologial and evolutionary processes that underlie pathogen emergence and establishment in new host species. Based at the Institute of Biodiversity, Animal Health and Comparative Medicine at the University of Glasgow, he is currently investigating viral dynamics at the interface of vampire bats and livestock in Peru, by combining longitudinal surveillance, phylogenetics, metagenomics and field experiments. Statistical integration of these diverse datasets will empower data-driven epidemiological models, creating a platform to anticipate and control cross-species transmission.

Dr Thomas Walker

London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine

Wolbachia transinfection of Culex tritaeniorhynchus mosquitoes to impact transmission of Japanese encephalitis virus

Tom is based in the Department of Disease Control at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and is working on developing a mosquito biocontrol method to reduce the transmission of Japanese encephalitis virus (JEV) using the endosymbiotic bacterium Wolbachia. His research aims to determine whether particular strains of this bacterium can prevent or reduce the transmission of JEV in mosquitoes. Laboratory-based experiments to infect mosquitoes with Wolbachia and to determine the subsequent effects will aim to form the basis for an applied control programme to reduce JEV transmission in wild mosquito populations.

Dr Simone Weyand

University of Cambridge

Towards a molecular understanding of neurotransmitter transporter cellular activities

Simone is a biochemist and biophysicist who has worked on the structure determination of membrane proteins, such as the bacterial transporter Mhp1 and the human histamine H1 receptor, by the use of X-ray crystallography. Her Fellowship work uses a holistic approach to understanding the molecular mechanism of human neurotransmitter transporters by investigating the high-resolution structure and the functional analysis and trafficking in the cell. This combined approach, including different techniques, will provide deeper insights into the basic principle of action of these proteins and will eventually enable a more rational and efficient drug design.

Dr Daniel Wilson

University of Oxford

Statistical methods for whole-genome phenotype mapping in bacterial populations

Daniel is an evolutionary geneticist at the University of Oxford, where his laboratory investigates pathogen evolution and epidemiology via whole-genome sequencing. He is a collaborator in the Modernising Medical Microbiology Consortium, whose aim is to harness genomics for microbiological diagnostics and infection control in hospitals. Daniel's work currently focuses on the identification of genetic variants in pathogen genomes that explain differences in the frequency and severity of infections, particularly hospital-associated infections including Staphylococcus aureus, Clostridium difficile and norovirus.

Dr Duncan Wilson

University of Aberdeen

Overcoming nutritional immunity: micronutrient acquisition mechanisms of pathogenic fungi

Duncan is a medical mycologist interested in the struggle for essential micronutrients between human pathogenic fungi and their hosts. Certain trace minerals, such as iron and zinc, are actively withheld from pathogens in a process called nutritional immunity. Therefore, pathogenic microbes must have evolved specialised uptake systems in order to proliferate in their hosts and cause disease. Duncan is using a combination of molecular and cellular biology, together with models of host-pathogen interactions, to dissect the mechanisms of micronutrient assimilation by the major human fungal pathogen, Candida albicans. His aim is to understand how this process contributes to pathogenesis and disease.

Dr Andrew Wood

University of Edinburgh

Chromosomal instability during normal and condensin II-deficient haematopoiesis

Andrew's laboratory studies the mechanisms that maintain a correct number of chromosomes during cell division. He uses blood cell development to understand how effectively these mechanisms operate in vivo, and the consequences of their malfunction on cellular proliferation, differentiation and malignancy.


Dr Bungo Akiyoshi

University of Oxford

Elucidating the mechanism of chromosome segregation in Trypanosoma brucei

From September 2013, Bungo will be working in the Department of Biochemistry, University of Oxford, studying trypanosomal kinetochores as a group leader.

Dr Stephen Baker

University of Oxford

The epidemiology, genomics and longitudinal immune response of Shigella infections in Vietnamese children

Stephen is a molecular microbiologist based at the Wellcome Trust Major Overseas Programme in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. He has been there since November 2007 and is the head of the enteric infections research group, which studies the microbiology, genetics, epidemiology and treatment of enteric infections in low-income countries. Focal pathogens include Norovirus, Shigella spp. and Salmonella typhi, the causative agents of diarrhoea, dysentery and typhoid fever, respectively. His current direction combines microbiological, immunological and geographical information to study how organisms are transmitted in urban environments and how this interplay can be used to design and implement vaccination strategies.

Dr Jennifer Bizley

University College London

Listening in a noisy world: the role of visual activity in auditory cortex for sound perception

Jennifer is a sensory neuroscientist whose goal is to understand how neural activity in auditory cortex underpins our perception of a sound scene. By combining electrophysiological and behavioural approaches Jennifer aims to explore how the activity of single neurons and neural populations results in sensory discrimination. Jennifer's current research explores how and when visual information influences auditory perception, and how visual signals alter activity in auditory cortex.

Dr Maciej Boni

University of Oxford

Epidemiology of human influenza in Vietnam

Maciej is currently running a serial seroepidemiology study on human influenza in southern Vietnam and an influenza-like illness study in Ho Chi Minh City. The results of this work will be used to determine whether influenza viruses persist year-to-year in Vietnam and, more broadly, to determine whether countries like Vietnam have the right conditions to seed influenza epidemics in other parts of the world.

Dr Tiago Branco

MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology

Dendritic integration in the ventromedial nucleus of the hypothalamus

In 2012 Tiago started his own group at the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology, where he combines physiological and molecular methods to investigate how the mouse brain implements the computations that underlie innate behaviours. He is currently a Visiting Scientist at the Janelia Farm Research Campus, working on synaptic integration in the hypothalamic circuits that control feeding behaviour.

Dr Edgar Deu

The Francis Crick Institute

Functional characterisation of essential enzymes in Plasmodium

Edgar's research focuses on identifying and studying the biological function of novel antimalarial targets, with the aim of opening new therapeutic avenues to fight malaria. He combines chemical biology approaches with genetic methods to identify enzymes that are essential for parasite development, validate them as antimalarial targets and characterise their molecular functions. So far his research has particularly focused on the biological roles of a multifunctional protease involved in red blood cell invasion, parasite maturation, and parasite egress from infected erythrocytes.

Dr Omer Dushek

University of Oxford

Predicting efficient T-cell activation with therapeutic applications

Omer is currently working at the Sir William Dunn School of Pathology at the University of Oxford. His research in molecular immunology aims to use a combination of mathematical modelling and quantitative experiments to understand the complex interplay between the signalling proteins that regulate the activation of T lymphocytes.

Dr Yi Feng

University of Edinburgh

Live imaging and genetic analysis of the inflammatory response upon oncogene-induced tissue homeostasis disruption and its contribution to tumour initiation in zebrafish larvae

Yi’s lab at the MRC Centre for Inflammation Research at the University of Edinburgh uses a combination of live imaging and genetic analysis in zebrafish to study the earliest events of tumour initiation in vivo. Her research focuses on interactions between normal host tissue with transformed cells and infiltrating innate immune cells, and she has demonstrated that the latter mount a trophic response toward emergent transformed cells. Her research aims to understand underlying cellular and molecular mechanisms regulating this trophic inflammation response during tumour initiation.

Dr Stephen Graham

University of Cambridge

Molecular mechanisms of membrane trafficking in pathology and infectious disease

Stephen is interested in how eukaryotic cells effect communication between their membrane-bound compartments, how such communication is regulated, and how viruses subvert these mechanisms to their own ends during infection. He uses primarily biophysical and structural biology techniques to address these questions and is currently based in the Virology Division of the Department of Pathology, University of Cambridge.

Dr Garrett Hellenthal

University College London

Inferring human colonisation history using genetic data

Garrett has been working at University College London since 2012, developing statistical methods to infer population history using DNA. He is currently developing methods to identify periods in the past when worldwide populations have exchanged DNA, for example due to invasions or migrations, and to describe the genetic make-up of the groups involved in these events. One current project involves characterising the genetic structure of the United Kingdom as part of the People of the British Isles project.

Dr John James

University of Cambridge

Decision making in immune cell activation

Our immune system is a network of white blood cells and proteins that keeps us healthy. John's research focuses on how T cells in the immune system make a committed decision to initiate an immune response on encountering an infected cell. The signalling network inside these cells is complex, so John has reconstituted a 'model' T cell that provides a more tractable way to explore the molecular mechanism of the decision-making process. This research will lead to a better understanding of how our immune system can discriminate between infected and healthy cells, and how we may be able to manipulate it therapeutically when needed.

Dr Jens Januschke

University of Dundee

Recycling polarity – mechanisms controlling stem cell polarity in consecutive divisions in the developing Drosophila central nervous system

Central to Jens's research interests are the mechanisms behind the dynamics of cell polarisation in cycling cells. In particular, he is using life-cell imaging approaches to study how cell polarity and asymmetric division are linked in neuroblasts, the rapidly dividing stem cells of the developing Drosophila central nervous system.

Dr Pablo Lamata

King's College London

Diastolic-PM: diastolic biomarkers based on physiological models

Pablo is investigating the diastolic performance of the heart. He is developing new methods to measure the heart's speed of relaxation, the compliance of the muscle, and the pressure driving the blood flow during the filling phase of the heart cycle. The methods are based on the combination of recent advances in magnetic resonance imaging and computational cardiac modelling.

Dr Selinda J Orr

Cardiff University

Collaborative and redundant roles of CLRs in antifungal immunity

Selinda's laboratory is part of the Myeloid Cell Biology Group at Cardiff University. She aims to understand collaborative responses between C-type lectin-like receptors and to determine how these responses could be targeted to improve antifungal immunity.

Dr Christopher Rodgers

University of Oxford

Advanced human cardiovascular magnetic resonance spectroscopy

Chris runs the Cardiac Spectroscopy group at the Oxford Centre for Clinical Magnetic Resonance Research, Department of Cardiovascular Medicine, University of Oxford. His research group develops methods for magnetic resonance imaging and spectroscopy of the human heart at ultra-high field strength (7 Tesla). His group has recently recorded the first cardiac 31P magnetic resonance spectra at 7T, already showing significantly better quality than established field strengths.

Dr Tim P Vogels

University of Oxford

Controlling balanced cortical dynamics on slow and fast timescales

Tim is working to understand and reproduce how the brain processes sensory information, by investigating the rules by which its neuronal architecture is constructed and maintained. He is exploring the tight interaction between neuronal activity and the network structure that sustains this activity and the manifold rules that govern these interactions, differing by cell type. Due to the complexity of such high-dimensional systems, Tim simulates these interactions in abstract, simplified computer models. He aims to test out ideas of what such rules could be, and to make experimentally testable predictions about them. This in turn will help to further flesh out a more exact model of the brain, and hopefully spawn further questions and ideas to try out.

Dr Kevin Waldron

Newcastle University

Mechanisms of copper and silver toxicity in Staphylococcus aureus

Based at Newcastle University, Kevin's research aims to understand the roles of metal ions and metalloproteins in biological systems, how metal selectivity is achieved in vivo, and how metals cause toxicity when metal homeostasis breaks down due to metal excess, genetic mutation or disease. This puts his research interests on the interface between inorganic chemistry and biochemistry. His Fellowship project aims to bring together data obtained by a range of biochemical, genetic, biophysical and proteomic approaches to understand the molecular mechanisms by which copper ions kill Staphylococcus aureus cells, and to assess the risk of spontaneous resistance arising.

Dr Sarah Woolner

University of Manchester

Mitotic spindle orientation and the mechanical tissue environment

Sarah's research aims to understand how cell behaviour in developing embryos is influenced by the external tissue environment. In particular, she is focusing on determining how cell division orientation is directed by mechanical tissue cues. The orientation of cell division plays a vital role in shaping and organising tissues and in determining cell fate.Sarah's lab is based in the Wellcome Trust Centre for Cell-Matrix Research at the University of Manchester.

People we've funded

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