Areas of expertise

Our core researchers have expertise in the basic biology of endocytosis, exocytosis, synaptic mechanisms and membrane-cytoskeletal interactions in yeast and mammalian tissue culture systems, as well as genetically tractable models including Dictyostelium, Drosophila and zebrafish.

CMIAD - World_Class_Research-smaller

Our members' research was rated as the top in the UK for biomedical science allied to healthcare, and fifth in the UK for biological science. 

REF 2014 (Research Excellence Framework)

We use biochemical and cell biological assays, coupled with high-resolution microscopy, to understand the core machinery involved in membrane dynamics. Increasingly, PIs are exploring how these basic mechanisms are regulated in specific contexts.

In addition, CMIAD principal investigators benefit from the University's state-of-the-art microscopy facilities and microscopy development (IMAGINE), the Sheffield RNAi Screening Facility, the BioMicS Mass Spectrometry Facility, the Wolfson Light Microscopy Facility, and additional bioinformatics expertise.

Developmental signalling

During embryonic development and to maintain adult homeostasis, a small number of signalling pathways are used repetitively. A key question is how these pathways are regulated in a context-specific manner.

Principal investigators are testing the hypothesis that membrane trafficking can play a key role in cell and tissue-specific regulation of inter- and intracellular signalling pathways.


The primary cilium is a specialised membrane microdomain of the plasma membrane that acts as a signal processing organelle for cells.

Primary cilia are compositionally and functionally distinct from other areas of the plasma membrane. Vesicular transport delivers the proteins and lipids required to establish this plasma membrane subdomain.

Cell polarity and mechanotransduction

The ability of cells to be organised into tissues and organs, sense their own size, and interact with the extracellular matrix during cell differentiation and tumour progression, requires an understanding of the mechanochemical principles governing cellular behaviour.

Princial investigators are investigating how mechanochemical properties of cells contribute to cell polarisation and migration.

Membrane dynamics in disease

We interact with colleagues in the Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Health to understand the role of endocytosis and phagocytosis in pathogen infection (Florey Institute), with members of CIMA to elucidate mechanisms of musculoskeletal disease, with members of the Sheffield Cancer Centre to understand mechanisms of metastasis, with cardiovascular scientists to devise methods for tissue regeneration of chronic wounds, and with members of the Sheffield Pain Network to develop novel therapies for the treatment of chronic pain.

Expertise within CMIAD can help elucidate mechanisms underpinning disease. Work on autophagy has direct relevance to understanding mechanisms of neurodegeneration and ageing.

Centre for Membrane Interactions and Dynamics - logo

Centre for Membrane Interactions and Dynamics

Bringing cell biologists, physical scientists, computational biologists and clinicians together, with the ultimate aim of developing improved therapies.