Biological and Medical Sciences
I was trained initially as a cilia biologist in Jarema Malicki’s lab at the University of Sheffield. For many years, I focused on the development of the zebrafish eye as the photoreceptor contains the most robust cilium in animals and vision defects and blindness are commonly identified in various types of ciliopathy syndrome patients. The scientific outcomes of my work during this period offer therapeutic targets to limit the extent of photoreceptor cell death in ciliopathies.
Currently, I work in the St Johnston Lab at the Gurdon Institute studying polarized secretion in fly epithelia. A fully functional epithelium depends upon the localization of specific membrane proteins to either the apical, lateral, or basal sides of the cell. We would like to understand how this polarized trafficking is organized and maintained. Taking advantage of model cargos that are known to be transported to each specialized region, I am using cutting-edge light microscopy techniques in the Drosophila egg chamber to visualize the journey of these cargos and thereby understand how epithelial cells establish their polarity. The work I do will contribute toward understanding epithelial cell polarity and how this process goes wrong in cancer.