Our genomes influence nearly all aspects of our daily lives, from our health and well-being to our susceptibility to disease. We carry out basic research to create an integrated understanding of control of genome function in relation to health, immunity and ageing.
Our immune system functions throughout our lives to protect us from infection, but becomes noticeably less effective in the elderly. The causes of this decline lie in part in the mechanisms that control our genome.
B cells produce antibodies, which tag molecules of invading infectious agents, such as bacteria and viruses, to mark them for destruction. In order to respond to new infections throughout life, new B cells must be produced in massive numbers, and these cells have to produce millions of different antibodies to ensure that any potential foreign invader is detected.
We study the proteins that control communication within and between cells. They make up the signaling pathways that regulate how cells develop and respond to their environment, and are critical for ensuring the lifelong health and well being of an individual.
A common theme in all pathways is that key information is carried into the cell by molecules called lipids, which interact with various enzymes, each regulating different pathways. A major focus of our research is the activity of the PI3Kinase enzymes, critical for a number of cellular functions, including movement, growth and survival. We have developed groundbreaking technology allowing us to observe the abundance and type of lipid activated in response to external stimuli, providing a valuable tool underpinning our research. Sensing and interpreting external stimuli involves several cross-talking signalling pathways. Using state-of-the-art technologies, mathematical and computational methods and laboratory-based research we take a ‘Systems Biology’ approach to providing a comprehensive view of how genes and proteins interact.