How chemical signals allow cells to co-ordinate, communicate and adapt to changes

  • What is signalling?
    Nerve cross section

    We study the proteins that control communication within and between cells. They make up the signalling pathways that regulate how cells develop and respond to their environment, and are critical for ensuring the lifelong health and wellbeing of an individual, affecting immunity and cellular response to environmental stresses.

    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 PI3 Kinase enzymes, critical for a number of cellular functions, including movement, growth and survival.

  • Why is it important?

    One of the keys to understanding lifelong health is to understand the signalling pathways that operate inside cells and govern key fate decisions such as cell death, cell survival, cell division or cell senescence.

    Hallmarks of ageing are reduced capability to respond cellular damage, accrued throughout life, and the progressive decline in stress response and repair pathways.

    Older people have reduced ability to fight infection, partly due altered cell signalling causing a decline in neutrophil migration to sites of infection, and conversely, unwanted inflammation is due to activation of neutrophils at inappropriate locations causing damage to otherwise healthy cells.

  • What is our research?
    Purkinje Cell

    We are studying a number of cellular processes, including the pathways activated to protect the cell against the presence of toxic chemicals and the pathways triggered in response to environmental stress. A key focus across a number of research groups is autophagy. Our research also includes working to understanding quality control pathways that clear faulty proteins and age-related protein aggregation.

Research Impact

9 Industrial Research Collaborations

4 Industry PhD Studentships

4 Formal Industrial Consultancy Agreements

2 IP Licence Agreements


Group Leaders

Simon Cook

Institute Director

Della David

Group Leader

Oliver Florey

Group Leader

Phillip Hawkins

Group Leader

Nicholas Ktistakis

Group Leader

Ian McGough

Tenure Track Group Leader

Valerie O'Donnell

Honorary Group Leader

Teresa Rayon

Tenure Track Group Leader

Rahul Samant

Tenure Track Group Leader

Hayley Sharpe

Group Leader

Len Stephens

Group Leader

Sophie Trefely

Tenure Track Group Leader

Heidi Welch

Group Leader