CDB Seminars
All welcome


All Seminars are held in the Gavin De Beer Lecture Theatre, Anatomy Building, Thursday 1-2pm (unless otherwise stated)

All welcome.

Thursday June 2nd

Ingrid Lekk (Wilson Lab) Development of left-right asymmetries in the vertebrate brain

Claire Anderson (Stern Lab) A search for new organizers


Thursday June 16th

Pedro Henriques (Bianco Lab NPP)

Nun McHedlishvili (Baum Lab) Microtubule cytoskeleton remodeling during mitotic entry


Monday 20 June, 1.30-4.30pm PhD TALKS

Venue: Room 249, 2nd Floor, Medical Sciences Building, Gower Street

Final Year Students

Host: Michael Duchen

1.30pm  Kate Turner

2.00pm  Lizzie Yates

2.30pm  Alan Greig

3.00pm  Interval

First Year Students

Host: Yoshiyuki Yamamoto

3.15pm  Alex Henderson

3.30pm  Bethan Wolfenden

3.45pm  Alessandro Bossio

Final Year Student

Host: Michael Duchen

4.00pm  Chris Penny
Thursday June 30th 

Hyung Chul (Stern Lab) Different combinations of signal inputs for specific cellular events to establish          embryonic axis

Johanna Buchler (Salinas Lab)

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Lab Pages

Welcome to the lab of David Becker and Jeremy Cook


Research | People | Publications | Location

Research overview

The diverse interests of our lab in skin, connective tissue, muscle and nervous system repair, regeneration and development are held together by the intellectual gravity of a very small 'black hole', the non-selective transmembrane molecular channel known as a connexon, which is made from six similar (usually identical) protein subunits.

A connexon on one cell docks with a connexon on an adjacent cell to form a gap junction channel, which is permeable to charged and uncharged molecules of up to a kilodalton. A cluster of these channels forms a microscopically visible molecular sieve connecting the two cells, a gap junction, through which the cells can communicate directly, bypassing the extracellular space.

Single connexons, often called hemichannels, exist transiently during gap junction assembly and are increasingly being found to have important signalling functions in their own right. They are normally kept closed to prevent the catastrophic leakage of intracellular contents, but they can be gated to release pulses of small messenger molecules. One such is adenosine triphosphate (ATP), which can function as a purinergic transmitter in the extracellular space.

The varied ways in which gap junctions and connexon hemichannels (connexin-based channels) control cell survival, proliferation and motility in the different environments of wound healing, retinal development, spinal cord injury and muscle cell regeneration are outlined on the pages that are linked below.

Research programme pages

  • Wound healing in normal and diabetic skin  —  David Becker, Ava Aihua Ma and Jeremy Cook in collaboration with Dr Jill Lincoln (UCL) and Prof. Colin Green (Auckland, New Zealand). Outlines the complex regulation of different members of the connexin family in the dermis and epidermis of wounded skin, and the ability of antisense oligonucleotides to promote healing in normal and diabetic animals.
  • Proliferation, migration and differentiation of neuronal stem cells  —  David Becker, Jeremy Cook and Regina Nickel. Outlines the behaviour of neuronal precursor cells in an embryonic neuroepithelium and the evidence that connexin-based channels regulate proliferation, cycle exit and the postmitotic migration of young neurons.
  • Does intercellular communication through gap junctions influence the zebrafish circadian clock?  —  David Becker in collaboration with David Whitmore and Lucy Young (CCMD, UCL) Investigates the contribution of gap-junctional intercellular coupling to the coordination of circadian clock signals among populations of zebrafish cells.
  • Bystander responses in central nervous system injury  —  David Becker and Jeremy Cook in collaboration with Prof. Patrick Anderson (UCL). Outlines the role of connexin-based channels in the responses of CNS tissue to traumatic injury, and the potential for antisense oligonucleotides to Cx43 to reduce 'bystander' injury and cell death.
  • Proliferation and differentiation of regenerating skeletal muscle  —  David Becker and Jeremy Cook in collaboration with Dr Anikó Görbe and Prof. Tibor Krenács (Szeged, Hungary). Outlines the events that lead to myofibre formation in regenerating muscle and the potential roles of connexin-based communication in the control of myoblast proliferation and fusion.

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