Independant Research FellowUniversity of Manchester
Faculty of Life Sciences
The Healing Foundation Centre
Michael Smith Building
M13 9PT, United Kingdom
In my laboratory, we aim to understand how Receptors Tyrosine Kinases (RTKs) can elicit a precise cellular response in the complex environment of the organism. To this end, we are investigating the molecular mechanisms controlling the activity of intracellular signalling pathways downstream of RTKs during Xenopus development. We are particularly interested in the role of RTK signalling during gastrulation and during neural development and maturation. These are two very different systems, allowing us to ask complementary questions about the mechanisms of action of RTKs during embryonic development. During gastrulation, Fibroblast Growth Factor (FGF) plays an essential role for two very important developmental events: mesoderm specification and morphogenetic movements. Gastrulation is therefore a relatively simple model to study how the same signal (FGF) is interpreted differently by mesodermic cells. During motor neurons (MNs) development, we have recently reported that another RTK (TrkB and its ligand BDNF) has a crucial role in regulating axonal branching (Panagiotaki et al. 2011). Whilst axonal branching plays an essential role in allowing the formation, refinement, and maintenance of functional neural circuits, the mechanisms regulating branching are poorly understood. Our work places us in a unique position to elicidate how RTK signalling controls cell shape (or "unicellular morphogenesis"). In the longer term, we aim to use this knowledge to improve spinal cord repair and regeneration following injury.
Lab MembershipsDorey lab (Principal Investigator/Director)