Mission: To understand how interactions at cell membranes result in cellular responses in health and disease.
Cell membranes are the centres of communication between the inside and outside cellular worlds. We are working across disciplinary boundaries to understand, at the molecular scale, the mechanisms that regulate the reception of signals, their integration and processing, and the formulation of a response. This is a formidable challenge, but it will provide novel opportunities to enhance our understanding of fundamental biological processes. Moreover, it will aid in the development of bioactive surfaces, scaffolds and delivery vehicles to control and sense cellular fate for applications in regenerative medicine, targeted drug delivery and diagnostics.
Key areas of focus:
- Understanding how signalling at the cell membrane can result in disease states
- Understanding the role of the glycocalyx in transport and signalling across membranes
- Development of new scaffolds to generate more native-like environments for membrane proteins
Key discoveries made:
- Detergent-free isolation of membrane proteins in their lipid environment
- Understanding how extracellular matrix can discriminate cells by their receptor density, and how this ‘superselectivity’ can improve targeting of cells in biomedical applications.
- Re-engineering of peroxisome import pathways to deliver cargo to different cellular compartments.
- Understanding multivalent lectin-carbohydrate recognition using functionalised quantum dots