Personal profile


Feel free to email me to discuss PhD projects.

Anja obtained a degree in Biology at the University of the Saar in Saarbruecken, Germany in 1995. She then went on to undertake a PhD at the Institute of Virology at the University Hospital in Homburg/Saar, Germany. After finishing her PhD she carried out postdoctoral research with Philip Strange at the University of Reading (1999-2002) and then joined the group of James Pease at Imperial College London (2003-2004). She joined UEA in August 2004 as a Lecturer in Molecular Pharmacology and was promoted to Senior Lecturer in 2009 and to Professor in 2020

Anja's primary research interest is the investigation of cell signalling mechanisms of chemokine receptors which are a subgroup of G-protein-coupled receptors. She is interested in how the expression of these receptors is regulated on the cell surface and how they activate heterotrimeric G-proteins and other intracellular signalling pathways to induce cell migration.

Selected Publications

Lai WY, Mueller A (2021)
Latest update on chemokine receptors as therapeutic targets.
Biochem Soc Trans. 2021 Jun 30;49(3):1385-1395.
DOI: 10.1042/BST20201114. PMID: 34060588.

AlAssaf E, Mueller A (2020)
The role of PKC in CXCL8 and CXCL10 directed prostate, breast and leukemic cancer cell migration.
Eur J Pharmacol. 2020 Nov;886 173453.
DOI:10.1016/j.ejphar. 2020.173453. PMID: 32777211.

Hamshaw I, Ajdarirad M, Mueller A (2019)
The Role of PKC and PKD in CXCL12 directed Prostate Cancer Migration.

Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2019 Oct 29;519(1):86-92.
DOI: 10.1016/j.bbrc.2019.08.134.



  • 1999-2002 Postdoc, School of Animal and Microbial Sciences, University of Reading
  • 2002-2004 Postdoc, Department of Leukocyte Biology, Imperial College London
  • 2004-2009 Lecturer in Molecular Pharmacology, University of East Anglia, Norwich
  • 2009-2020 Senior Lecturer in Molecular Pharmacology, University of East Anglia, Norwich
  • 2020-         Professor, University of East Anglia, Norwich

Key Research Interests

Current investigations are centred on the chemokine receptors and their ability to bind a variety of ligands and induce specific cellular responses, including cell migration.

Regulation of cell surface expression of chemokine receptors and receptor trafficking

We aim to understand the mechanisms how chemokine receptor cell surface expression is regulated and how internalization and recycling of receptors influences migration patterns of cells. 

How do chemokine receptors induce cell migration

The chemokine receptors CCR5 and CXCR4 act as a co-receptor for the HIV virus and have also been implicated in migration of cancerous cells. Our main interest lies in understanding the signal transduction induced by these two receptors. It is well known that chemokine receptor activation leads to an increase in the release of intracellular calcium and ultimately cell migration. We want to investigate how the receptors can activate cell migration and determine which signaling networks are involved in this. With the aid of pharmacological inhibitors we already have identified different signalling networks which are involved in migration. In the future we want to concentrate on specific proteins like ?-arrestins, which play a critical role in cell migration. We aim to understand how different chemokine receptor can activate migration in cells and which signalling networks play a role in chemotaxis.

Current Group members:

  • Wing Yee Lai (PhD student)


Former group members:

  • Enana AlAssaf (PhD student 2016-2020)
  • Isabel Hamshaw (PhD student 2016-2020)
  • Shirley Mills (PhD student 2014-2019)
  • Goh-Hui Poh (PhD student 2014-2018)
  • Gerald Keil (PhD student 2015-2019)
  • Jason Kerr (PhD student 2006-2010)
  • Clara Moyano Cardaba (PhD student 2007-2011)
  • Richard Jacques (PhD student 2009-2013)
  • Hope Roberts-Dalton (PGT student)
  • Samira Khabbazi (PGT student)
  • Ola Abdulaal (MSc student)
  • Xiaoxi Chen (PGT student)


Key Responsibilities

  • Interim Head of School


Areas of Expertise

Pharmacology; chemokine receptor; CCR5.

Administrative Posts

  • Interim Head of School
  • Student of colour Ambassador lead for Pharmacy
  • Digital Champion
  • Module coordinator for Applied Immunology and Infectious Diseases

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being


  • Pharmacy
  • chemokine receptors
  • GPCR
  • cell migration
  • calcium flux
  • internalisation
  • receptor trafficking
  • signalling
  • molecular pharmacology

Collaborations and top research areas from the last five years

Recent external collaboration on country/territory level. Dive into details by clicking on the dots or