Cell Biology and Cancer

Cell Biology and Cancer is focused on understanding fundamental cellular mechanisms with a particular emphasis on regulation of membrane traffic and cytoskeletal dynamics. These processes are essential not only for the behaviour of individual cells but also for how cells act in particular contexts and our studies therefore impact on other research themes within BMS. Because membrane and cytoskeletal dynamics play such key roles in all cells, it follows that there are profound effects when they are defective and a number of our staff are exploring the cell biological defects that occur in diseases such as cancer and muscular dystrophy.

Principal investigators


Professor Kathryn Ayscough

Cytoskeleton and endocytosis – Regulation of the actin cytoskeleton during endocytosis and membrane trafficking in both healthy and stressed cells. Role in diseases including neurodegeneration and cancer.

Dr Mark Bass

Fibroblast migration during wound healing: signalling from extracellular matrix receptors to Rho-family GTPases.

Dr Stephen Brown

Functional genomics, siRNA genome screens, drug screening, cell models of Human disease.

Professor Bazbek Davletov

Biomolecular assembly, neuronal blockers, medicines for chronic pain, anti-cancer biological drugs.

Dr Kai Erdmann

Membrane trafficking and signalling in polarised cells. Role of multi-PDZ domain proteins in cancer formation, metastasis and tumor invasion.

Dr Andrew Furley

Role of L1CAM-like adhesion molecules in neural development.

Dr Dan Humphreys

Subversion of mammalian host cell biology by bacterial toxins and virulence effectors

Dr Jason King

The regulation and integration of autophagy.

Dr Andrew Peden

Regulation of secretion and how trafficking impacts on disease.

Dr Elena Rainero

Understanding the role of extracellular matrix internalisation in cell migration and invasion.

Professor Carl Smythe

Chromosome Integrity. We are interested in understanding mechanisms of genomic integrity operating at the molecular and cellular level, and determining the consequences when they fail.

Professor Elizabeth Smythe

Endocytosis - Molecular mechanisms of cargo sorting along the endocytic pathway with particular emphasis on the regulation of the clathrin coated vesicle cycle by rab5 and reversible phosphorylation. Interplay between endocytic trafficking and signaling pathways.

Professor David Strutt

Planar cell polarity – Coordination and maintenance of cell polarity during development, with a primary interest in the roles of the Frizzled sevenpass transmembrane receptor.

Professor Steve Winder

Membrane proteins and the cytoskeleton - The biology of the cell adhesion and signalling adaptor protein dystroglycan and its role in diseases such as muscular dystrophy and cancer. Regulation of the actin cytoskeleton, cell adhesion mediated signalling and cell motility.

Dr Martin Zeidler

JAK/STAT pathway– a signaling cascade frequently misactivated in haematopoietic malignancies. High throughput RNAi screening technologies and developmental genetic assays in Drosophila to determine the mechanisms of action of pathway regulators and their interactions in vivo.