ProfessorFaculty of Life Sciences
Michael Smith Building
University of Manchester
M13 9PT , United Kingdom
161 306 8907
Research in our lab aims to understand the molecular mechanisms that control vertebrate neurogenesis. We use the frogs Xenopus laevis and Xenopus tropicalis as model systems and a combination of molecular, cellular and embryological techniques. During embryonic development a number of neural progenitor cells exit the cell cycle and differentiate into neurons and glia while others remain undifferentiated for longer periods of time. The mechanisms that control neuronal differentiation are positive, instructing some cells to differentiate, and negative, preventing other cells from differentiating. Both mechanisms are important; the positive ones for generating neurons and the negative ones for limiting the number of early differentiating cells, thus maintaining a population of proliferating neuronal precursor cells for later neurogenesis. Much of our research touches on neural stem cell regulation. We have uncovered several mechanisms that are important for maintaining proliferating undifferentiated neural progenitors or stem cells. Our current research emphasis is on the role of protein modifications that serve to integrate signalling pathways in controlling the activity of neural transcription factors and on the role of asymmetric cell divisions in controlling the ability of neural cells to differentiate. In parallel, we are using Xenopus microarrays and genomic arrays in order to decipher the gene networks controlling differentiation in the forebrain.
Lab MembershipsPapalopulu Lab (Principal Investigator/Director)
British Xenopus Group (Other)