Institute welcomes new group leader

Institute welcomes new group leader

Key points:

  • Institute announces Dr Hayley Sharpe as a new appointment to the Signalling research programme.
  • Dr Sharpe joins the Institute from the Cambridge Institute for Medical Research.
  • Dr Sharpe’s research aims to uncover details of the biology of protein tyrosine phosphatases, which are important enzymes involved in fundamental cellular processes and become dysregulated in numerous diseases.

The Institute is delighted to announce that Dr Hayley Sharpe has joined the Institute as a group leader within the Signalling research programme. Dr Sharpe joins the Institute from her Principal Investigator position at the Cambridge Institute for Medical Research (CIMR).
Institute Director, Professor Michael Wakelam, said: “We’re delighted to welcome Dr Sharpe and her group to the Institute. With Hayley’s work utilising proteomics, cell biology and imaging, we’re confident that the Institute’s research and technological expertise will build upon Hayley’s excellent progress to date at CIMR. Hayley’s focus on uncovering the biology of tyrosine phosphatases tightly aligns with our quest to make ground-breaking discoveries in fundamental biology that hold promise for improvements in health and disease.”
Dr Sharpe’s research focuses on understanding how proteins called phosphatases play a role in regulating important cellular processes, such as adhesion and migration, and helping cells respond to changes in their external environment. Dr Sharpe’s research to date has particularly focused on the role of a cell surface receptor called PTPRK, which is thought to play a role in sensing cell-cell contact and to function as a tumour suppressor. Recent research published from the Sharpe lab described regulators of cell-cell adhesion as substrates of this receptor, shedding light on the intracellular processes it controls. This research lays the foundation for systemically characterising the substrates of other receptor protein tyrosine phosphatases and contributing to improved understanding of signalling principles for these enzymes.
Hayley Sharpe is a British researcher. She gained her PhD with Dr Sean Munro FRS at the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology in Cambridge investigating how transmembrane proteins negotiate the membranes of the secretory pathway. She then moved on to study clinical resistance mechanisms to a Hedgehog pathway inhibitor in skin cancer as a postdoctoral researcher at Genentech, USA, from 2011. In 2016 she started her lab at the Cambridge Institute for Medical Research (CIMR) after obtaining a Wellcome/Royal Society Sir Henry Dale fellowship to focus on cell signalling by receptor tyrosine phosphatases. She has 14 publications, with over 1300 citations and one patent.
Dr Sharpe said: “I am really looking forward to working with new colleagues at the Babraham Institute and finding common areas of interest. Everyone has made my lab feel very welcome, and we cannot wait to get back up to speed. The expertise and fantastic facilities here will provide excellent opportunities to consolidate and expand our research, particularly in new areas for us such as immunity.”
Head of the Signalling Research Programme, Dr Len Stephens FRS, said: “We are very excited to welcome Hayley and her team on board! They have some great ideas and plans to build on their recent work on receptor protein tyrosine phosphatases that will provide molecular explanations for their crucial roles in development and immunity.”

Notes for Editors

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About the Babraham Institute
The Babraham Institute undertakes world-class life sciences research to generate new knowledge of biological mechanisms underpinning ageing, development and the maintenance of health. Our research focuses on cellular signalling, gene regulation and the impact of epigenetic regulation at different stages of life. By determining how the body reacts to dietary and environmental stimuli and manages microbial and viral interactions, we aim to improve wellbeing and support healthier ageing. The Institute is strategically funded by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC), part of UK Research and Innovation, through an Institute Core Capability Grant and also receives funding from other UK research councils, charitable foundations, the EU and medical charities.