Irene is a Professor at Imperial College London and Section Chair and Programme Leader at the MRC LMS, 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 LMS at the end of 2012. She was elected to the EMBO YIP programme in 2012 and became a full EMBO member in 2017. She is the recipient of an ERC Advanced Grant and, previously, an ERC Starting Grant.
POSTDOC (JSPS FELLOW)
Tomo studied Biotechnology and Molecular Biology at Okinawa National College of Technology in Japan. After graduation, he secured a JSPS Fellowship to pursue his PhD work in Ryusuke Niwa's lab. In the Niwa lab, he used Drosophila to explore how ovarian stem cells respond to extrinsic signals and systemic hormones. After graduating in 2018, he joined the lab as a JSPS Overseas Fellow to investigate intestinal sex differences using mouse models.
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.
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 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.
Postdoc (EMBO Long-Term Fellow)
Ale studied Molecular Biology at the University of Palermo in Italy. For his final year project, he visited the lab of Emili Salo at the University of Barcelona to learn about regeneration in the flatworm planarians. For his Master’s Degree, he moved to the Centre for Genomic Regulation in Barcelona where he worked on the zebrafish lateral line in the lab of Hernán Lopez-Schier. Ale then pursued a PhD in the lab of Jordi Casanova at the Institute for Biomedical Research of Barcelona, where he switched to Drosophila and explored the role of the eggshell in the specification of the embryonic patterning. In the lab, he is currently interested in exploring organ remodelling during reproduction.
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.
Chain Florey PhD student
Hannah is a Renal Registrar/Kidney Doctor. Following a BSc in Pharmacology, where she undertook a 12-week research project with Rob Hoeben in the Department of Molecular Cell Biology, Leiden University, Hannah completed her medical training at the University of Edinburgh. She began life in London as an Academic Foundation trainee at QMUL and has since moved west, working with Matthew Pickering and Terence Cook at the Centre for Complement and Inflammation, Imperial College as part of an Academic Clinical Fellowship. In our lab, she will be looking at the roles and regulation of epithelial transporters in mice.
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.
Laura Martin Coll
Laura studied Biochemistry at the Autonomous University of Barcelona (UAB). Her degree included a brief stint as an Erasmus student in René Medema’s lab in the Netherlands Cancer Institute (NKI), where she investigated chromosome mis-segregation and DNA damage. Following a two-year MSc in Molecular Biomedicine at the Copenhagen University (KU), Laura joined Anne Grapin-Botton’s lab to investigate the cellular dynamics of mouse embryonic pancreatic expansion and differentiation during development. After a few months volunteering in Southeast Asia, Laura will continue to pursue her interests in plasticity and commitment in our lab, hoping to unravel the mysteries behind the sex differences and reproductive plasticity of the fly intestine.
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.
Tatiana studied Genetics and Biotechnology at UTAD, Portugal. She discovered Drosophila during her undergraduate 6-month internship in Claudio Sunkel's lab at the Institute for Research and Innovation in Health (I3S), Porto, Portugal. She continued to work in the Sunkel lab throughout the first year of her Master’s degree in Biotechnology for Health Sciences, exploring how aneuploidy impacts adult stem cell behavior and tissue homeostasis in the gut. Tatiana joined our lab for her Master’s project as an Erasmus student, and has remained with us as a research technician. In the lab, she has explored the roles of an intestinal nuerient sensor and generally supports our Drosophila work.
Fly technicianMary 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.