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Scientific Programmes

Structural Biology Programme

Cell Signalling and Adhesion Group

Group Leader:  Daniel Lietha

Our Group studies regulatory mechanisms of key signalling switches controlling growth and adhesion signals. Such signals regulate important cellular processes such as proliferation, adhesion and survival. We use structural techniques, such as X-ray crystallography and electron microscopy, in combination with biochemical and functional studies to understand these mechanisms at atomic detail and to rationalise how oncogenic events result in their deregulation. The structural understanding allows us to design potential anti-cancer therapeutics that interfere with oncogenic deregulation.

We focus on mechanisms of growth and adhesion signalling that occur at the plasma membrane and involve specific phosphoinositides. In particular, we aim to answer two main questions: (i) what are the events occurring at the cell Daniel Lietha Junior Group Leader membrane at integrin adhesion sites that trigger Focal Adhesion Kinase signalling; and (ii) how are phosphatidylinositol (3,4,5)-trisphosphate (PIP) levels regulated to affect signalling of the Akt pathway.