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Principles of human development and germ cell program
<p>Specification of human primordial germ cells (hPGCs) occurs around gastrulation, a critical juncture when the specification of the primary somatic lineages also occurs. In combination with human preimplantation embryos, in<em> vitro</em> models and hPGCs from aborted fetuses, our objective is to elucidate the origin and properties of the early human germline.</p> <p>For the mec… more
Infection, Immunity and Inflammation
Mathematical genomics and medicine
Dissection of mechanisms underlying the development of neuronal lineages.
We will use the developing nerve cord of the Drosophila embryo and larva to investigate elementary organizational principles and their mechanisms that underlie the development of neuronal progenitor cell lineages. We will use genetic methods to label (and manipulate) neuroblast lineages in first instar larval stages, when these have fully differentiated, and show how key features of neuronal diff… more
Open access award.
Development, evaluation and translation of next-generation sequencing tools to track MRSA transmission pathways
Nosocomial pathogens represent one of the most significant challenges to the successful delivery of modern medical care. Revealing the routes of transmission and spread of nosocomial pathogens at local, regional, national and international levels is crucial to targeted control. This is severely constrained, however, by the inability to discern between strains of the same epidemiologically success… more
Clinical PhD Programme at the University of Cambridge: 'Functional characterisation of responses to DNA damage in human cells.'
Failure of accurate DNA damage sensing and repairing mechanisms manifest as a variety of human diseases including cancer. Cytotoxic chemotherapy and radiotherapy remain the most beneficial in terms of cancer treatments and largely act through the generation of DNA damage. Accuracy and efficiency of DNA damage detection and repair requires the recruitment and subsequent post-translational modifica… more
Clinical PhD Programme at the University of Cambridge: 'Defining the origin and fate of Fibroblast Activation Protein (FAP) expressing cells in health and disease'.
A population of tumour stromal cells, identified by Fibroblast Activation Protein (FAP) expression, are essential for suppressing the immune response directed toward the tumour. FAP+ cells are present in inflamed tissues, in healing wounds, during embryological development and recent work from our laboratory has found them in a wide range of normal adult tissue, including muscle, bone marrow and … more
Bayesian inference using a norm based face coding scheme in humans
Recently large amounts of evidence have accrued suggesting that the human brain often supports optimal Bayesian inference, but it has not been shown that this is so in face recognition. In parallel a leading hypothesis for the encoding of faces is the so-called norm coding scheme, whereby each face is defined by its position in face-space. In face-space the average face sits at the origin, and, i… more
The epidemiology of glaucoma.
Glaucoma is one of the leading causes of blindness worldwide, second only to cataract. However, unlike cataract, visual loss from glaucoma is irreversible.Uncorrectable loss of vision is associated with threats to independent living,safety and emotional well-being, resulting in increased dependence on social and community services. It has been estimated that if 10% of glaucoma sufferers received … more
Clinical PhD Programme at the University of Cambridge: 'Early life immune and metabolic function and psychotic symptoms in the ALSPAC birth cohort.'
Schizophrenia is associated with proinflammatory changes (increased cytokines in serum and CSF). Recent evidence suggests important effects of hormone leptin on immune system and cognition. Cognitive dysfunction is also prominent in patients with schizophrenia. However, prospective studies are required to establish importance of inflammatory cytokines and their modulators, such as leptin in the p… more
Transgenerational epigenetic inheritance in C.elegans.
Transgenerational epigenetics is the study of changes in gene regulation, inheritable over generations that are not due to changes in the DNA sequence. Although a few examples of epialleles have been observed in nature, and are often associated with inheritable DNA methylation, the molecular mechanisms underlying this alternative type of heredity remain poorly understood. The soil nematode Caenor… more
evolutionary conservation of group B Sox function in Drosophila.
The primary aims of the project are to: 1) perform a comparative in vivo analysis of the genomic activity of two closely related Sox domain transcription factors in four different Drosophila species; 2) determine the evolutionary conservation of the regulatory network driven by the Sox factor Dichaete in neural cells; 3) investigate the conservation in genome wide chromatin accessibility profiles across 4 species of Drosophila.
Elucidating the molecular networks that regulate polarized cell growth, using functional genomics.
Almost every living cell must maintain some degree of polarity, whether permanent or transient, in order to live and function correctly. There are many obvious examples of cell polarity provided by the mammalian system, including epithelial cells, neurons and photoreceptors. However, the fission yeast Schizosaccharomyces pombe provides one of the simplest and most easily studied examples. The rod… more
Cue-induced translational control in axon pathfinding.
The project aims to understand the mechanism of cue-induced local translation in growing axons and how it contributes to axon navigation in the developing visual system. The objectives are:- (i) Identification of transcripts translated in response to specific guidance cues (ii) Discovery of potential regulatory networks for attractive versus repulsive guidance (iii) Investigation of the logic of … more
Innate memory: What is the biological significance ofmemory NK cells in infection and cancer?
Our goal is to study the newly discovered ?memory? NK cells. The three main aims are: 1. Define their lifespan and effector functions 2. Determine their biological significance in viral infections and cancer 3. Characterize their transcriptome
Characterizing Spirality in Campylobacter jejuni.
The aim of this project is to gather more information about the spiral structure of Campylobacter jejuni. The specific aims are to identify and characterize genes and gene products necessary for C. jejuni spirality and confirm the importance of spiral structure in pathogenicity.