Life Sciences Research for Lifelong Health

Researcher at hood

Our Science Explained

Epigenetics image

Epigenetics explained

The activity of our genes is determined by more than just the sequence of DNA. Epigenetic marks are reversible chemical modifications to our DNA or chromatin that alter the activity of the genes upon which they sit.

The sum of epigenetic marks in a tissue is known as the epigenome. These modifications play important roles in defining different cell types in the body and can be influenced by environmental and nutritional factors. It is known that epigenetic marks decline during the ageing process.

 

Lymphocyte image

Lymphocyte Signalling explained

The primary goals of the immune system are to protect the body against invading pathogens and prevent subsequent infection. This powerful system must be carefully balanced to ensure that it does not destroy the body it has evolved to protect.

Lymphocytes are white blood cells important for protecting the body from disease by stimulating immune responses and retaining a memory of prior infections. We aim to understand the processes that regulate the development, survival and function of these cells. 

 

 

 

Nuclear Dynamics image

Nuclear Dynamics explained

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.

 

Signalling Image

Signalling explained

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.