University of Dundee

Cell Biology

China Scholarship Council: Signaling pathways controlling epidermal development in cereals

Plants living on land face brutal threats from pests, dehydration and temperature. To survive and thrive, land plants evolved a waxy ‘cuticle’ and distinctive epidermal cells such as gas pores and defensive barbs. Further changes to the epidermis contribute to improved cereal performance on arid grasslands and play important roles in climate resiliency.

China Scholarship Council: Structural and membrane biology of polarized trafficking

Membranes and their protein organization are a frontier in our understanding of cell biology. We focus on polarized trafficking as a model to uncover fundamental mechanisms in the organization of structures at membranes. We aim to understand the role of protein complexes including the exocyst. This project seeks to answer mechanistic questions regarding 1) the regulation of protein structural mechanics in polarized trafficking, 2) and the consequences of signaling on this pathway and its organization.

China Scholarship Council: Hunting for Veghog – elucidation of a novel crossroads between development and immunity in plants

Climate change is one of the biggest threats to global food production, leading to unpredictable weather patterns and geographical migration of pathogens. As sessile organisms, plants must respond to a changing environment in situ and have developed complex systems of perception and response to mitigate against environmental stress. As energy resources are finite plants must balance responses to pathogens and environmental stress with growth and developmental pathways. This can affect crop production if biomass or grain yield is supressed by environmental circumstances.

China Scholarship Council: Monitoring and manipulating kinase signaling in the context of polarity, immune signaling and cancer

Cell polarity is a central feature of most if not all cells across species. Polarity can be understood as the unequal distribution of molecules, organelles and other cellular features allowing cells to organise functions and physiological outputs according to this axis of polarisation. For instance, epithelial cells secrete and absorb molecules, migratory cells crawl, and neurons orchestrate information flow according to their axis of polarisation.  

China Scholarship Council: Dynamics of chromatin loops in human genome organisation – molecular regulation and disease mechanisms

The human genome is spatially organised at multiple levels within the nucleus during interphase. Chromatin loops are basic units of genome organisation [1] – they span tens to hundreds kilobases of DNA and often facilitate enhancer–promoter interaction for gene expression. The formation of a chromatin loop relies on cohesins and the CCCTC-binding factor (CTCF). The 4C and Hi-C analyses revealed formation of chromatin loops genome-wide. However, it is still unclear how the conformations of chromatin loops change over time and what molecular mechanisms regulate such changes. 

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