"Cell signalling is critical to the co-ordination and functioning of all cells. Cell signalling allows cells to co-ordinate activities within the intracellular environment as well as ensuring cells know how to correctly respond to other cells and to an ever-changing extracellular environment as well. For example, many hormones function by instructing various cells through cell signalling events throughout the body to alter metabolic pathways. Many diseases occur when cells inappropriately respond to signals, for example diabetes is caused by reduction in insulin meaning cells can no longer appropriately respond to changes in blood sugar. Understanding how cells use certain signalling molecules to enact a response is therefore critical to elucidating how cells signal in the physiological state. This knowledge can then be applied to understand how these cell signalling processes go awry in disease.
This project will investigate how cell signalling enacts cellular changes. It will examine in detail how certain signalling molecules (such as peptide hormones) stimulate a response within a cell. It will look into what pathways are activated and what the downstream effects of these pathways are. It will also look into how the structure of signalling molecules is related to the response it generates within cells, and whether altering the structure alters the downstream effects. Finally, it will look at the receptors for signalling molecules and how they generate a physiological response as well as how altering their structure can cause pathological responses. This will involve a wide variety of cell biology techniques including flow cytometry, multi-mode cell signalling analysis and cell imaging. It will also provide training in standard laboratory techniques such as cell culture, immunocytochemistry, western blotting and other cellular assays. "