Research

We have established a UK laboratory to utilise the planarian model system. More recently we have become interested in a broader range of regenerative animals as we think we can learn a lot of different secrets from animals with adult stem cells. Currently in addition to working with planarians we are working with the amphipod crustacean Parhyale hawaienis.

Planarians are a fantastic system in which study stem cell biology, not least because they have so many of them and they are accessible to molecular approaches. As new techniques are developed and existing approaches improved the detail with which we can study planarian pluripotent stem cells se improves. We can, for example, use the planarian stem cell system to identify new genes required or controlling proliferation, differentiation and migration, all processes of great relevance to many human disease processes particularly cancer.

Much of our research is now directed at understanding the balance between regeneration and tissue homeostasis and if planarians are a good model to inform us about processes that go wrong during the development of cancer. For this we need to understand the mechanisms and signals that control regeneration, the gene regulatory networks that control stem cell dynamics and the changes in these processes that lead loss of proliferative control, failures to differentiate and control cell migration.

Education

MA Natural Sciences, University of Cambridge

PhD University of Edinburgh

Professional Experience

Professor of Comparative and Functional Genomics, Tutorial Fellow at Lady Margaret Hall, University of of Oxford, UK Sept 2017-current

Associate Professor of Genetics, Tutorial Fellow at Lady Margaret Hall, University of of Oxford, UK Oct 2012-Sept 2017

Associate Professor of Genetics, University of Nottingham, March 2012-Sept 2012

Lecturer in Genetics, University of Nottingham, Sept 2010-March 2012

Directors of Next Generation Sequencing, University of Nottingham, 2009-2012