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Biography

As an undergraduate, I studied Biochemistry at the University of Oxford where I stayed to complete my DPhil in the Sir William Dunn School of Pathology. My thesis concerned the characterisation of the apolipoprotein genes that contribute to heart disease.

As a postdoc in Prof Gurdon s laboratory at the University of Cambridge, I used molecular biology to examine the formation of the nervous system in the frog, Xenopus, a model system for vertebrate development. During my time at Cambridge I also worked with Profs Chris Wylie and Janet Heasman at the Wellcome CRC Institute of Developmental Biology. In 1995, I became a Senior Fellow of the Medical Research Council based in the Department of Zoology, University of Cambridge where I investigated the molecular mechanism by which retinoic acid, a derivative of vitamin A, acts as a signalling molecule.

In 2000 I was appointed as a Senior Lecturer at the University of Portsmouth. My current research concerns the regulation of retinoic acid signalling through the corepressors, SMRT and NCoR. In collaboration with Dr Alan Thorne (University of Portsmouth) I am examining the role of chromatin structure in this process and with Prof Geoff Kneale's laboratory (University of Portsmouth) I am using biochemical and molecular techniques to unravel the contribution of protein isoforms to retinoic acid signalling.

For more information about my research please visit my lab page.

Research Interests

Early Xenopus development, specifically the role of retinoid signalling in the development of the nervous system. Current research projects include the non-transcriptional regulation of retinoid signalling in the gastrula embryo and the evoution and function of the NCoR and SMRT co-repressors that regulate retinoid signalling. In collaboration, examining the co-development of neural and vascular systems in the Xenopus embryo.

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