Hayley Sharpe receives a 2020 Lister Research Prize Fellowship

Hayley Sharpe receives a 2020 Lister Research Prize Fellowship

Key points:

  • Dr Hayley Sharpe, a group leader in the Signalling research programme, is one of four recipients of a 2020 Lister Research Prize Fellowship.
  • The Lister Research Prizes recognise individuals who have demonstrated outstanding performance and potential in biomedical research that will lead to advances in preventive medicine.
  • The awards, given annually by the Lister Institute of Preventative Medicine, provide flexible funding to young scientists for a five-year period.

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Dr Hayley Sharpe has been announced today as a recipient of a Lister Research Prize Fellowship. Four researchers were selected from 114 applications for the 2020 round and each will receive funding of £250,000 over a six-year period. The research prizes are awarded annually and provide funding to support Fellows to develop their careers.

Commenting on being awarded a Fellowship, Dr Sharpe said: “I was over-the-moon to hear I had been awarded a Lister Prize Fellowship. The flexible funding will allow us to build on an exciting new area of research in the lab and will support my career development at this important stage. There is also the added benefit of interactions with the Lister community that will present new scientific ideas and collaborative opportunities.”

Dr Sharpe joined the Institute’s Signalling research programme in 2019 as a tenure-track group leader and a Sir Henry Dale Fellow (see News announcement) and later that year became an EMBO Young Investigator. Dr Sharpe's research focuses on understanding the role of protein tyrosine phosphatases (PTPs) in cell-to-cell communication. By conveying information from the cell’s environment, these proteins are important in regulating cellular responses and behaviours, such as adhesion and migration.

As part of the application process, Dr Sharpe presented her latest work that builds on her lab’s recent publications characterising a family of receptor PTPs that regulate cell–cell adhesion. While both kinases and phosphatases control phosphorylation, the phosphatases remain poorly understood by comparison and their therapeutic potential is yet to be realised. Recent work from Dr Sharpe’s lab has provided new insights into phosphatase signalling mechanisms. This research aims to use this knowledge to understand the cellular roles of phosphatases and to develop new approaches to target them in disease.

Professor Wolf Reik, Acting Institute Director, said: “I’m delighted to congratulate Hayley on receiving a Lister Prize Fellowship. Hayley is an outstanding researcher and who is developing some fresh and exciting ideas on the regulation of cell signalling. I’m sure she’ll relish this opportunity to be able to further develop her research and networks.”

Prior to joining the Institute, Dr Sharpe was a Principal Investigator at the Cambridge Institute for Medical Research where she established her lab after obtaining a Wellcome/Royal Society Sir Henry Dale fellowship. She undertook her postdoctoral work at the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology (LMB) and in the lab of Dr Fred de Sauvage at Genentech in California, USA. Dr Sharpe gained her PhD with Dr Sean Munro FRS at the MRC LMB and has a Masters in Biochemistry from the University of Bath. She has 16 publications, with over 1600 citations and one patent.

In becoming a Lister Prize Fellow, Dr Sharpe joins the Lister community, which includes some of her Institute colleagues. Dr Michelle Linterman was a 2019 Prize Fellow and Dr Rahul Roychoudhuri, also group leader in the Immunology programme until his recent move to the University of Cambridge, received a Lister Institute Research Prize Fellowship in 2017. In addition, Institute Acting Director Professor Wolf Reik and group leader Dr Phill Hawkins received Lister Prizes in 1987 and 1988 respectively.

The 2021 Lister Institute Research Prizes are currently open for applications. Application forms and information on eligibility and how to apply are available on the Lister Institute’s website. Applications close on Friday 25th September 2020.

 

Notes to Editors

Press contact
Dr Louisa Wood, Babraham Institute Communications Manager, louisa.wood@babraham.ac.uk

Image description
Header image shows a mouse intestinal organoid stained for actin (red), nuclei (blue), smooth muscle actin (green) and beta catenin (white). The Sharpe lab use organoids to investigate the function of protein tyrosine phosphatases in the gastrointestinal tract. Image taken by Katherine Young.

Additional/related resources:
Research pages: Sharpe lab
Lister Institute of Preventative Medicine announcement, 10 August, Announcing the 2020 Lister Institute Research Prize winners
News, 13 November, 2019 Hayley Sharpe becomes an EMBO Young Investigator
News, 7 August, 2019 Institute welcomes new group leader
News, 26 June, 2019 Michelle Linterman receives Lister Prize
News, 24 July 2017 Rahul Roychoudhuri awarded prestigious Lister Prize

About the Lister Prize
The Lister Prize Fellowships have been awarded since the 1980s. They are intended to provide funding over five years to scientists with less than 10 years of postdoctoral experience. The Prizes help to enhance or expand an on-going research activity or enable a new area to be developed that will have a high impact for the recipient. Typically, the Prize is presented to five scientists each year and primarily supports work in the UK and Republic of Ireland.

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.