The mission of the Laboratory for Molecular Cell biology and Cell Biology Unit (LMCB/CBU) is to understand the molecular basis of cell function and behaviour relevant to human disease. Cells are the fundamental unit of life and cell biology lies at heart of contemporary biomedical research. A fully integrated knowledge of how cells work under normal conditions and what goes awry in disease situations is essential for developing novel therapeutic strategies.
New technologies are making it possible to understand fundamental properties of cells at unparalleled resolution, making cell biology one of the most exciting, dynamic and challenging areas of science. Although many of the basic principles of cell organisation and function have been established, the details remain obscure. Recent technical developments, in particular in imaging, have brought a range of new tools to cell biologists that allow cell processes to be analysed at significantly higher resolution, in terms of both biochemical complexity and spatial and dynamic organisation. One aim of cell biologists over the next 10 years will be to use these advances to build a more complete understanding of normal cell organisation, dynamics and regulation, how these processes are perturbed under different disease conditions, and what pathways and targets might be best exploited for rational drug design.
The goals of the LMCB/CBU are to:
A major focus of the LMCB/CBU is to understand the mechanisms through which the organisation and dynamic nature of cells underpin cell function, how these mechanisms are exploited by pathogens and how faults in these functions contribute to human disease.
Major research themes include understanding the establishment and maintenance of cell polarity, the organisation of the cytoskeleton in development and mitosis, the cell biology of virus transmission, the control of cell growth and proliferation, secretory mechanisms and haemostasis, and fundamental questions in neurobiology, phosphoinositide signalling, and receptor expression and organisation. The complementary nature of many of the research programmes generates a highly interactive and collaborative environment that promotes the development of novel approaches to address fundamental biological questions.
In addition to local and national links, the LMCB/CBU has a global profile through its collaborations and interactions around the world. We have well developed associations with a number of European and international research institutes and departments that enhance our research activities and diversify our graduate programme experience. The Institute hosts a regular programme of open research seminars that is available to colleagues across UCL and neighbouring research institutes and departments.
In 2010 a Scientific Advisory Board (SAB) of world-renowned scientists was established. The SAB will undertake biannual reviews of LMCB/CBU research and governance and will provide important external oversight of our research programmes and strategy.