+44(0)113 343 8531
Summary: Group Leader- Microcephaly and Neurogenesis Research Group; Academic Lead for Imaging within the St James’s Campus Infrastructure Flow Cytometry and Imaging Facility
Location: Room 8.15, Wellcome Trust Brenner Building
Teaching Commitments: MBChB Year 1 and 2 Personal Tutor. MBChB 1st year Research Evaluation and Special Studies, small group teaching. MBChB 2nd year “Genetics in Medicine” module, small group teaching on clinical and medical genetics.
Determining how the human brain develops and functions is one of the greatest questions facing scientists today. In 2000 I relocated to the Molecular Medicine Unit at University of Leeds (UoL) to work with Dr Geoff Woods, to study the disorder autosomal recessive primary microcephaly (MCPH). MCPH is a disease of early neuronal development characterized by reduced brain size and associated mental retardation. In 2002 I was instrumental in identifying the abnormal spindle-like microcephaly associated gene, ASPM (Bond et al., Nat Genet 32, 2002), at the MCPH5 loci, mutations in which are the most common cause of MCPH. In 2005 I was actively involved in the identification the MCPH genes CDK5RAP2 and CENPJ at the MCPH3 and MCPH6 loci respectively (Bond et al., Nat Genet 37, 2005). With this extensive research expertise in Microcephaly genes and a drive to further understand the neurogenic implications of these genes, in 2005 I successfully applied for a Wellcome Trust Research Career Development Fellowship. This fellowship enabled me to start my own research group, the Microcephaly and Neurogenesis Research Group, within the Section of Ophthalmology and Neuroscience, Leeds Institutes of Molecular Medicine (LIMMs), UoL, to investigate the function of human ASPM and its role in neurogenesis and to establish unique ASPM resources.
As a cell biologist, having high specification versatile microscopes is essential to my research. To secure this infrastructure for our Research Institutes, in 2013 I was appointed as the Academic Lead for imaging within the St Jamess Campus Infrastructure and Facilities (SCIF) Flow Cytometry and Imaging Facility. Our most recent acquisitions to the facility are a high specification Nikon A1R, which incorporates a unique hybrid confocal scan head, capable of exceptional imaging sensitivity and a fully automated high-content high-throughput Perkin Elmer Operetta imager with Columbus Data Management and Analysis System used for unbiased image screening of larger more complex imaging experiments. Since 2010, I have been heavily involved in developing a UoL technology platform to perform high-throughput, high-content library screen (siRNA, miRNA and small molecule screens, initially under the title of the BioScreening Technology Group . The BSTG has been a great success, has performed a number of successful siRNA screens and formed productive links with another UoL technology platform, the Medicinal Chemistry Chemical Biology Technology Group (MCCB) to provide cell-based high-throughput chemical screens. Recently the BSTG was incorporated into the SCIF Flow Cytometry and Imaging Facility, enabling the facility to offer mid throughput high content imaging and statistical analysis to its user base in addition to offering high throughput library screens as a costed service.