I obtained my PhD from Edinburgh Medical School’s Centre for Inflammation Research, working on cellular ageing and the clearance of human blood platelets from circulation. After this, I worked for the Medical Research Council and then joined Edinburgh’s Circadian Physiology group where I explored the role of Clock genes in platelet turnover. Having traded human cells for mouse models, the next logical step was flies, a system that allowed me to tractably probe circulatory clearance systems and their impact on cardiovascular biology using the fly's kidney-like nephrocytes. With a British Heart Foundation intermediate science fellowship taking me next to the Sanford Burnham Medical Discovery Institute in San Diego, I learned more about clearance and its impact on organ function and immunity. At Bournemouth I continue to focus on nephrocyte genetics, clearance and its translation to other species' physiology.
I’m interested in understanding the link between gene expression and specialist cellular functions and explore this using the fruit fly Drosophila. The fly provides genetic tractability and offers opportunities to study the impact of a range of factors, from pesticides to ageing, on the physiology and cellular function of insect cardio-renal tissues.
We focus on the heart and kidney-like cells called nephrocytes. We've identified cause and effect relationships between genes and heart dysfunction as well as metabolism and renal function and most recently immune homeostasis. Current work is examining the influence of insect excretory function on pesticide toxicity, as well as nephrocyte tissue architecture in important pollinator species.