Personal profile

Administrative Posts

  • BIO Open Lecture Coordinator



  • Professor in Cell and Developmental Biology 2020-present
  • Reader in Cell and Developmental Biology 2015-2020
  • Senior Lecturer in Cell & Developmental Biology 2010-2014
  • Lecturer in Cell and Developmental Biology at University of East Anglia, Norwich, England, 2001-2009
  • Postdoctoral Research Associate and Honorary Lecturer in the lab of Dr Stefan Hoppler, University of Dundee. Studying Wnt signalling in Xenopus development. 1998-2001.
  • Postdoctoral Research Assistant in the lab of Prof. Birgitte Lane, University of Dundee. Looking at the biology of plectin, a component of hemidesmosomes. 1996-1998.
  • Postdoctoral research with Prof. Richard Hynes at the MIT, Cambridge, MA, U.S.A. Studying cytoskeletal interactions of integrins. 1992-1996
  • Postgraduate studies at the N.I.M.R. in Mill Hill, London, U.K. with Dr. Tony Magee on the cell and molecular biology of desmosomes. 1988-1991
  • Undergraduate studies in Biochemistry at King's College, University of London, including a sandwich year at the Advanced Drug Delivery Research Unit, Ciba Geigy, Horsham. 1984-1988



Key Research Interests


My group works on the molecular events that govern the origin and migration of different cell types within the developing embryo. The model organism we use is the amphibian Xenopus laevis.


Current Research Projects

  • Regulation of Neural Crest development by transcritional elongation
  • The role of micro RNAs in Xenopus development
  • The effects of Wnt signalling on early development and later organogenesis. In particular we are studying the function of frizzleds in neural crest, neural and heart development
  • The role of the cell adhesion/migration in development. We are currently focused on matrix metalloproteinases, ADAMs and ADAMTS's and their roles in early development including during neural crest and embryonic macrophage cell migration
  • Chemical genetic screens to identify small molecules that affect aspects of development focussing on cell migration and movement
  • Identification of small molecules as potential drugs for treatment of melanoma


Life in our research group

We are a dynamic group using the amphibian Xenopus laevis as a model organism to study aspects of cell and developmental biology in a whole animal situation. We use modern methods of embryology and molecular biology in the lab. We have our own lab meetings as well as joint lab meetings with Professor Andrea Munsterberg's group who work on other aspects of developmental biology. We also encourage attendance at seminars in BIO and beyond. Recently Students and Postdocs in the lab have participated in courses and conferences in Europe and the USA.

PhD Positions

I often have PhD opportunities available in my lab so please email me for details. Click here for current PhD opportunities in Biological Sciences.  Feel free to email me to discuss projects outside my current research areas and alternative sources of funding including self funded studentships.

Postdocs & Fellows

I am always happy to discuss possibilities for postdoctoral work and collaborations. Possible funding routes include applying for fellowships, e.g. EMBO or EU Marie Curie fellowships, with me acting as sponsor, or grant applications with you as a named postdoc.

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