Dynamic Cell Biology

Female looking into microscope

Dynamic Cell Biology research focuses on the mechanisms and systems that allow cells in the body to perform their huge diversity of functions. Only by a detailed knowledge of how cells work, what they do, and how they interact with one another are we able to understand how body systems operate and how they fail. Such research has a crucial role to play in developing our understanding and treatment of human disease.

Advances in the field of human genomics have led to the identification of the genetic mutations and perturbed levels of gene expression that lie at the heart of complex diseases such as diabetes and cancer. But this knowledge in itself is insufficient to understand the disease process. Only by examining gene function in individual cells, tissues and whole organisms is it possible to fully understand the causes of disease and design new drug treatments.

The Dynamic Cell Biology research theme brings together the skills and expertise of over 30 internationally recognised cell biologists from all four departments of the School of Medical Sciences (Anatomy, Biochemistry, Cellular and Molecular Medicine, and Physiology and Pharmacology).

Bristol is also home to the Wellcome Trust four-year PhD Dynamic Cell Biology programme and research is supported by the Wolfson Bioimaging Facility, which houses a range of state-of-the-art modern light (confocal, wide-field and total internal reflection fluorescence [TIRF]) and electron microscopes.

Our research utilises a variety of techniques to examine a broad range of questions relating to cell biology, ranging from ultrastructural and dynamic studies of intracellular trafficking through to examining cell migration in tissues and whole organisms, and from fundamental studies of cell biology through to those with direct and translational application to human disease.

The theme’s core research areas are:

  • dynamic organisation, regulation and re-modelling of the cytoskeleton
  • molecular complexes involved in membrane traffic
  • dynamic regulation of signalling complexes
  • Interface between cell signalling and membrane trafficking
  • cell organisation, morphogenesis and tissue function.

Research in the area of human health includes:

  • diabetes and obesity
  • cancer
  • learning and memory
  • infection and immunity
  • hearing/deafness
  • cardiovascular biology
  • channelopathies.