Our main research interest is the characterisation of protein complexes that are part of signaling pathways, in normal and cancer cells. Our goal is to understand how the molecular machines that compose signaling pathways work together to transfer information.
We use a cutting-edge multi-disciplinary approach that combines biophysical, enzymatic and structural studies. We use X-ray crystallography, Nuclear Magnetic Resonance and Electron Microscopy to visualise macromolecules at atomic and near atomic resolution. At this scale we are able to dissect cellular processes at a molecular level and describe the details at the base of cancer formation or development, thereby providing a solid base for medical advance.
The main focus of our research is the study of phosphorylation cascades and protein kinases. Protein kinases are molecular machines responsible for the passage of information inside the cell and it has been shown that mutation and loss of regulation are intimately linked to the development of diseases. The relevance of kinases in modern medicine is highlighted by huge investments (about US$18 billion per annum worldwide and growing) in the production of novel drug candidates able to modulate kinases activities.
In order to face new scientific challenges and study larger macromolecular assemblies or cellular pathways, we believe that it is indispensable to integrate a number of approaches that span from classic cell biology to atomic-resolution studies to computational analysis. For this reason we have active collaborations with Dr Marta Carroni (SciLife laboratories Stockholm), Dr Oliver Pardo (Imperial College London), Dr Ulrike Bechtold and the Genomics Group at University of Essex.
My group is generously supported by the Leverhulme Trust, the Wellcome Trust and the University of Essex