University of Dundee

Cell and Developmental Biology

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Van Aalten group identify new class of disease

Researchers in the School have discovered a new neurodevelopmental disease caused by genetic mutations and helped explain why patients with these mutations suffer this condition.

Around 1% of the global population are affected by intellectual disability, a condition characterised by significant limitations in both intellectual function and in adaptive behaviour. It was known that a molecule called GlcNAc was found on proteins related to intellectual disability, but its exact role in this disease remained unclear.

Postdoctoral Research Fellow

The School of Life Sciences at the University of Dundee is a world-class academic institution with a reputation for the excellence of its research, its high quality teaching and student experience, and the strong impact of its activities outside academia. With 900 staff from over 60 countries worldwide the School provides a dynamic, multi-national, collegiate and diverse environment with state-of-the-art laboratory, technology and teaching facilities.

"Investigating how mechanical forces control cell divisions: from the Drosophila epithelium to migrating neural crest cells"

I did my PhD with Roberto Mayor at UCL, where my main project showed how a switch between E- and N- Cadherin drives the acquisition of contact inhibition of locomotion and leads to the redistribution of forces from intercellular junctions to cell-matrix adhesions in Xenopus and Zebrafish neural crest cells (Scarpa et al., Dev Cell 2015, 

Welcome to new group leaders

The School has welcomed three new group leaders in recent months. They are currently establishing their laboratories across three of our divisions. Leeanne McGurk has joined the Division of Cell and Developmental Biology, Megan Bergkessel has joined the Division of Molecular Microbiology while Gabriel Sollberger has joined the Division of Cell Signalling and Immunology.

Leeanne McGurk

Leeanne joins the School from the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia where she was a postdoctoral research associate in the laboratory of Nancy Bonini.