Dr Nasreen Akhtar, BSc PhD
Thomas Berry and Simpson Fellow, Head of Cell Polarity and Cancer Group
I completed my PhD and first post-doctoral position at the University of Birmingham, School of Cancer Sciences and School of Biosciences respectively. This was followed by a Senior Scientist position at the University of Manchester, Faculty of Life Sciences. In 2013, I joined the University of Sheffield, Medical School as a Thomas-Berry & Simpson Fellow to establish an independent research career.
My lab focuses on how cell-matrix adhesions and Rho family GTPases regulate epithelial polarity and morphogenesis of normal breast tissue and how these signals are subverted in breast cancer. We are studying the mechanisms by which integrin signals guide tissue morphogenesis at three levels: First, how integrins instruct epithelial cells to polarize and form lumen spaces within tissues; second, how integrin-mediated mechanical forces engineer the morphogenetic tissue shapes of a branched epithelium and third, how integrins direct the spatial ordering of different mammary cell lineages to form the correct tissue structure. Mammary tissue forms a network of branched ducts connected to alveoli with hollow lumens, similar to many other secretory organs. We use Cre-LoxP genetic deletion both in vivo and in primary 3D organoid cultures of mammary epithelia, to unravel the relative contribution of integrins and GTPases to mammary tissue organization and function.
Medical Research Council
Thomas, Berry and Simpson Fellowship
Akhtar N*, Li W, Mironov A and Streuli CH. (2016) ‘Rac1 controls both the secretory function of the mammary gland and its remodeling for successive gestations’, Developmental Cell, 38, 522-535 (*Corresponding author), Wellcome Trust Open access.
Akhtar N* and Streuli CH. (2013) ‘An integrin-ILK-microtubule dependent network orients polarity and lumen formation in glandular epithelium. Nature Cell Biol, 15(1) pp 17-27. (*Co-corresponding author).
Akhtar N, Marlow R, Lambert E, Schatzmann F, Lowe ET, Cheung J, Katz E, Li W, Wu C, Dedhar S, Naylor MJ, Streuli CH. (2009) ‘Molecular dissection of integrin signalling proteins in the control of mammary epithelial development and differentiation.’ Development, 136 (6) 1019.
Streuli CH and Akhtar N. (2009) ‘Signal co-operation between integrins and other receptor systems’. Biochem J, 418 (3) 491. Review
Akhtar N. and Streuli CH. (2006) ‘Rac1 links integrin-mediated adhesion to the control of lactational differentiation in epithelia’ J Cell Biol, 173 (5) 781-93.