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LMCB - MRC Laboratory for Molecular Cell Biology

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Research Synopsis

I did my undergraduate degree at the University of Cambridge in Natural Sciences. I started my PhD project in Franck Pichaud’s lab in September 2015 after completing 3 two-month rotation projects as part of the Welllcome Trust’s four year PhD programme. My work focuses on neuronal polarity specification and remodeling during development. Neuron polarity enables neural circuit formation and directional processing of the information in the circuit.  How the axon is specified during neuronal polarity and how the complexity of the dendritic arborisation is controlled are two fundamental processes in neurons that are not fully understood. To address these questions, I am using Drosophila melanogaster, which comes a wealth of genetic tools and approaches to perturb gene function or expression.   The lab has conducted a genetic screen to identify novel cellular and molecular pathways that control axon morphogenesis.  From this screen, several candidate genes and pathways were identified, and I have decided to focus my work on two novel, uncharacterized, F-actin effectors that I found to regulate dendritic arborisation in vivo.