Dr Della David appointed new group leader in the Signalling research programme

Dr Della David appointed new group leader in the Signalling research programme

Key points:

  • Dr Della David welcomed to the Institute’s signalling research programme.
  • Dr David joins from the Interfaculty Institute of Biochemistry in Germany.
  • Her group will seek to find ways to maintain protein structures in their correct shape to promote healthy ageing.

The Institute is delighted to welcome Dr Della David to the Signalling research programme. Della is the second of several new group leaders joining the Institute in 2022.

“I am delighted to welcome Dr Della David as our new group leader in the Signalling programme. Della’s work showing that protein aggregation is a consequence of normal ageing and can drive age-related pathology is rightly internationally recognised. More recently her ground breaking work on extracellular protein aggregates has opened up a new frontier of research on proteostasis and ageing. Della's work complements and expands existing work in the Signalling programme on protein quality control mechanisms and autophagy and has implications for many age-related diseases. Indeed, we hope in the future it will help us to identify possible pathways to intervene in age-related declines." said interim Director, Simon Cook. 

Image

Speaking about her appointment Della commented: “The Babraham institute is an amazing place to carry out curiosity-driven research. I am delighted to relocate to the Institute and contribute to ongoing efforts to understand the biology of ageing. I look forward to pursuing collaborations with fantastic colleagues across the Institute and I am excited to see how this drives our research in novel unexpected directions.”

Della and her research group have shown that the regulation of proteins outside of the cell can help to promote healthy ageing and protect against infection (Gallotta et al. 2020). Della’s recent work has also focussed on the regulation of protein aggregates related to ageing in the muscle tissues of C. elegans worms, and how they are targeted for degradation (Jung et al, BioRxiv preprint).

Della’s group will use the small nematode worm C. elegans to investigate the behaviour of proteins during ageing and look for ways to keep them in shape. This process of proteins aggregating together has been linked to many diseases of ageing including Alzheimer’s disease. In order to be able to target these processes, researchers need to fully understand the reasons why some tissues are prone to protein aggregates accumulating. Della aims to investigate the mechanisms behind protein aggregation in a model organism like C. elegans to help inform future studies in humans.

Della received her PhD from the University of Zürich before moving to the University of Sydney for her first postdoctoral position to study how  exposure to amyloid-beta drives tauopathy. Della then went on to investigate protein aggregation in C. elegans at the University of San Francisco. In 2011, Della became a group leader at the German Centre for Neurodegenerative Diseases (DZNE) in Tübingen before moving to the Interfaculty Institute of Biochemistry in 2019.

Press contact
Honor Pollard, Communications Officer, honor.pollard@babrham.ac.uk

Image description:
Protein aggregates (magenta puncta) accumulate between tissues in the head of the worm.

Related resources:
Della David’s group page
News, 10th January 2022, Dr Sophie Trefely joins the Institute as new group leader
News, 1st December 2021, Dr Philipp Voigt joins Epigenetics research programme
News, 5th July 2021, Welcoming Dr Ian McGough to the Signalling research programme

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 Institute Strategic Programme Grants and an Institute Core Capability Grant and also receives funding from other UK research councils, charitable foundations, the EU and medical charities.

About BBSRC
The Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) is part of UK Research and Innovation, a non-departmental public body funded by a grant-in-aid from the UK government. BBSRC invests in world-class bioscience research and training on behalf of the UK public. Our aim is to further scientific knowledge, to promote economic growth, wealth and job creation and to improve quality of life in the UK and beyond.

Funded by government, BBSRC invested £451 million in world-class bioscience in 2019-20. We support research and training in universities and strategically funded institutes. BBSRC research and the people we fund are helping society to meet major challenges, including food security, green energy and healthier, longer lives. Our investments underpin important UK economic sectors, such as farming, food, industrial biotechnology and pharmaceuticals.