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Structural Biology Programme

Cell Signalling and Adhesion Group

Group Leader:  vacancy

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 growth and adhesion signalling systems that interact and are regulated by specific lipids in the plasma membrane. Specifically, we pursue two main questions: (i) how are adhesion signals in focal adhesion complexes triggered by membrane interactions of Focal Adhesion Kinase? and (ii) how are cellular growth signals regulated by changes in phosphatidylinositol (3,4,5)-trisphosphate (PIP3) levels affecting signalling of the Akt pathway?