Miguel-Aliaga LabGut Signalling and Metabolism


  • Irene Miguel-Aliaga

    The Boss

    Irene is a Professor at Imperial College London and a Programme Leader at the MRC Clinical Sciences Centre, London, UK. She received her D.Phil. in Genetics in 2001 from the University of Oxford, UK, where she developed invertebrate models of human disease with Kay E. Davies. Her postdoctoral work with Stefan Thor, first at Harvard, USA and then Linkoping University, Sweden, identified the first genetically defined enteric neurons in Drosophila. She was awarded a Marie Curie Fellowship to undertake further postdoctoral work with Alex Gould at NIMR, London, where she uncovered similarities between the specification of gut-innervating insulin-producing neurons in flies and pancreatic beta cells in mammals. She established her own lab at the University of Cambridge in 2008 thanks to a Wellcome Trust Career Development Fellowship. She then moved to London to become a Programme Leader at the MRC CSC at the end of 2012. She was elected to the EMBO YIP programme in 2012 and is the recipient of an ERC Starting Grant.

  • Dafni Hadjieconomou


    Dafni studied Molecular Biology and Genetics in Greece and did a master's course in Clinical Neuroscience at University College London. She then joined Iris Salecker’s lab at the National Institute of Medical Research in London for her PhD. During her time at NIMR, Dafni became acquainted with the nervous system of Drosophila and developed FlyBow to investigate the ways by which neurons within the fly visual system assemble into circuits. In the lab, she is exploring the functions of the fly’s "second brain" in regulating energy homeostasis.

  • Bruno Hudry

    Postdoc (EMBO Advanced Fellow)

    Bruno Hudry did his PhD with Samir Merabet at the IDBML in France, investigating embryonic Hox patterning functions using the fruit fly. In spite of developing a fly addiction, he did a bit of ‘evo-devo’ before his graduation, studying the segmentation process of the marine annelid Platynereis dumerilli in Guillaume Balavoine’s lab in Paris. After graduating in 2011, he worked a couple of months with the sea anemone Nematostella vectensis in Ulrich Technau’s lab in Vienna as an EMBO short-term fellow. He is currently treating his long-standing fly addiction in our lab as an EMBO LTF, and is excited about sex differences in the intestine.

  • Jake Jacobson


    Jake Jacobson has an eclectic background including a 12-year career in intensive care nursing and a PhD at University College London under Michael Duchen, studying the mitochondrial physiology of brain tissue. He did a first postdoc in Linda Partridge’s lab at UCL on the genetic determinants of metabolism and the ageing process using Drosophila as a model organism. He has an interest in fly metabolism and, in our lab, he has been focusing on the metabolic remodelling that the intestine undergoes during reproduction.

  • Chryssa Konstantinidou


    Chryssa studied Biology at the University of Athens in Greece. After a short training contract at the Neurogenetics Unit of Eginition Hospital in Greece, she moved to Scotland, where she obtained her Master’s degree in Medical Genetics at University of Glasgow. After a brief period doing diagnostics back home, she embarked on a PhD in Vassilis Pachnis's lab at the Crick Institute in London. Having specialised in the development of the mouse enteric nervous system, Chryssa is now hoping to expand her knowledge of gut physiology by exploring the plasticity of other cell types.


  • Alexandra Milona


    Alexandra did her BSc at King's College London, followed by a Master's in Human Reproductive Biology at Imperial College London. Her first stab at metabolic sciences was with Malcolm Parker, followed by a PhD with Catherine Williamson and a postdoc in Saskia van Mil's lab at UMC Utrecht in the Netherlands. Alex is capitalising on her long-standing interest in organ plasticity by using mouse models to investigate how organs such as the intestine adapt to physiological stresses.

  • Siamak Redhai


    Siamak completed his undergraduate degree in Biochemistry at Royal Holloway, University of London. He was awarded a Wellcome Trust vacation scholarship to investigate the effects of a BMP antagonist on localised tissue fibrosis in his penultimate year. For his final year project, he was interested in characterising novel genes involved in neural tube development. Siamak then pursued a DPhil in Clive Wilson’s Lab at the University of Oxford, where he was involved in developing the Drosophila accessory gland as a new genetic model to study cell biology and secretion. Siamak will be combining physiology and cell biology to understand how these two exciting fields complement each other in the Drosophila gut.

  • Lena Riabinina


    Lena studied Physics in the Ukraine and did her PhD in Informatics (well, Behavioural Neuroscience really... never mind) at Sussex with Tom Collett and Andy Philippides, looking at how ants and bees use visual cues to find their way home. After discovering that ants are not very good at remembering sequences and bees turn their heads when they look around, Lena was drawn to the dark side of genetic model organisms aka Drosophila. After spending some time at UCL in Joerg Albert's lab, Lena went across the pond to learn genetics at Johns Hopkins University (Chris Potter's lab) where she also got interested in olfaction and how it guides malaria mosquitoes in the search of their human victims. Now Lena continues to mess around with insect genes in the hope that something useful may come out of it.

  • George King

    PhD student

    George completed his BSc in Biological Sciences at the University of Warwick. As part of his degree, he undertook a 12-month placement at MRC Technology, working in the cellular profiling department. During the summer of 2014, George spent five weeks in sunny Fiji volunteering with a marine conservation project. Upon returning, George started his PhD in the lab by investigating the communication between enteric neurons and trachea.

  • Clare Pilgrim

    PhD student

    Clare studied Molecular Biology and Biochemistry at Durham University, receiving her BSc in 2007. After that, she worked for a short time in Susan Ozanne’s lab at Cambridge University, where she first started to become interested in metabolic science. Clare then took a few years off from being a Biologist to travel and to teach English in Japan. In 2011, she came back to do her MSc in Biomedical and Molecular Sciences Research at King’s College London. For her project, she worked in Peter Jones’s lab, studying pancreatic ß-cells. Clare is now hoping to find new ways in which enterocytes interact with their environment.

  • Chris Studd

    Lab manager

    Chris completed his BSc at the University of Kent where he was introduced to the wonderful world of Drosophila by Jim Bloor whilst on a Wellcome Trust summer studentship, investigating the role of integrin-laminin interactions in congenital muscular dystrophy. Having spent some time in retail management after graduating, he decided he needed to get back to doing something he enjoyed, using annual leave to volunteer as a technician at the Helen Rollason cancer lab with Christina Greenwood before joining the lab soon after its move to Imperial College/CSC. Chris does all sorts of things in the lab that keep us functional and productive.

  • Mary O'Sullivan

    Fly technician

    Mary has had a variety of jobs since leaving school. She has worked in the food industry, managing a catering department, and has also worked in retail. She became our fly technician in 2015, and has been keeping our flies happy since.