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Personal profile

Administrative Posts

  • Member of Food and Health Research Alliance steering group
  • Module organiser for Introduction to Biomedicine (1A5Y), Clinical Genetics (2B19), Biomedicine (3C34), Blood Biomedicine (3C53)
  • University Human Tissue Safety Officer

Career

  • Senior Lecturer in Cell Biology (2004-present)
  • Lecturer in Cell Biology, University of East Anglia (1995-2004)
  • Postdoctoral Research Associate, University of East Anglia (1993-1995)
  • Ph.D. – School of Biological Sciences, University of East Anglia (1993)
  • B.Sc. - Biophysics, University of East Anglia (1989)

External Activities

  • PhD external examiner
  • Reviewer for American Journal Physiology, Journal of Biological Chemistry, FASEB etc.
  • Grant Reviewer for BBSRC, MRC etc.
  • Invited speaker: Physiology 2010; Molecular Regulation of epithelial transport protein trafficking (Manchester, 2010)
  • Invited Speaker: FASEB 2007 Summer Conference GI Tract XII: The molecular and integrative basis for GI homeostasis and disease (Colorado, 2007)
  • Plenary session speaker: American Gastroenterological Association (San Diego) 2008
  • Plenary session speaker: American Gastroenterological Association (Washington, DC) 2007
  • Plenary session speaker: British Society of Gastroenterology (Birmingham) 2006
  • Plenary session speaker: American Gastroenterological Association (Los Angeles) 2006
  • Invited speaker 11th International Conference on Ulcer Research (Dubrovnik) 2003
  • Invited speaker: XV International Symposium on Morphological Science (Kyoto) 2000
  • Member of Physiological Society

Key Research Interests and Expertise

I am a physiologist interested in the cellular and molecular mechanisms that govern the self-renewal and physiological function of the human intestinal epithelium. A major focus of our work is to understand how age-related molecular damage and inherited genetic defects pre-dispose the intestinal epithelium to the onset of gastrointestinal disease. The ethos of our work is to conduct comparative studies on human tissue samples derived from young and old healthy subjects, and from patients with inflammatory bowel disease and cancer. To this end, our laboratory has developed an ex vivo culture model of the human intestinal epithelium that is amenable to bio-imaging and the investigation of cellular signals for crypt cell proliferation, migration, differentiation and secretion.

Current Research Projects

  • Signalling self-renewal in the human intestinal epithelium ex vivo (Collaboration with Dr Munsterberg, BIO, UEA)
  • Epigenetic modulation of Wnt signalling in the ageing human intestinal epithelium: consequences for tissue homeostasis (Collaboration with Dr Nigel Belshaw and Prof. Ian Johnson at the Institute of Food Research).
  • Wnt signaling pathways in colon cancer initiation
  • Molecular regulation of intestinal fluid secretion in health and disease.
  • Inflammatory signals for Barrett’s oesophagus (Collaboration with Mike Lewis, Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital)

 

Life in our research group 

Bio-imaging and functional genomic approaches are applied to a3D ex vivo culture model of the human colonic epithelium, which was developed in collaboration with clinicians at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital. The cellular and molecular mechanisms governing adult tissue homeostasis in health and disease are interrogated by utilising recombinant/pharmacological activators/inhibitors, RNAi and GFP transgenes, in combination with bright field / fluorescence time-lapse imaging and immunocytochemistry/in situ hyrbridisation. Regulation of stem cell-driven tissue renewal by Wnt signals and the mechanisms of fluid transport across the polarised intestinal epithelium are of particular interest. In a broader context, the cultured colonic crypt also serves as a model for other self-renewing tissues and polarised epithelia. Although laboratory life is somewhat crypt-centric, the resident cryptomaniacs are let out on occasion to partake in social activities such as sailing, ice-skating, dancing, BBQs and dining, a favourite restaurant being ... the Crypt!

PhD Positions 

Click here for current PhD opportunities in Biological Sciences. But feel free to email me to discuss projects outside these areas and alternative sources of funding.

Postdocs & Fellows 

I am always happy to discuss possibilities for postdoctoral work and collaborations. Possible funding routes include applying for fellowships, e.g. EU Marie Curie fellowships, Royal Society and others, or grant applications with you as a named post-doc.

Teaching Interests

  • Maths and Stats (1A6/7Y)
  • Introduction to Biomedicine (1A5Y)
  • Human Physiology (2B05)
  • Cell Biology (2B06)
  • Clinical Genetics (2B19)
  • Biomedicine (3C34)
  • Human Nutrition, Diet and Health (3C37)
  • Blood Biomedicine (3C53)
  • I offer undergraduate student research projects (3C32)

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Devlopment 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

Network

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