Cell biology is the study of how cells work as individuals, how they organise into complex groups and how they coordinate their activities within tissues and at different stages of organism development.

We use a variety of approaches and experimental systems to contribute to fields such as neuroscience, immunology, pathogen biology and industrial biotechnology.

Scientist using scalpel on cells


Our basic research in model systems ultimately underpins the development of new treatments for human disease.

Developmental mechanisms are highly conserved among animals, and often genes that are important in human development are also important in cancer and other degenerative diseases.

Our research reflects the Department of Biology's underpinning aim of improving health and tackling diseases.

Research highlights


Name Expertise
Nia Bryant
  • SNARE-mediated membrane traffic
  • Insulin action
  • Yeast as a model organism to study human disease
William Brackenbury
  • Ion channels
  • Breast cancer ionic microenvironment
  • Microglia-tumour cell interactions
Sangeeta Chawla
  • Synaptic-plasticity
  • Ca2+ signalling
  • Oxidative stress
Dawn Coverley
  • Functional organization of the mammalian cell nucleus
  • Cell cycle control and cancer
  • Structure, function and exploitation of CIZ1
Paul Genever
  • Skeletal biology
  • Stem cells and regenerative medicine
  • Signalling and differentiation

Darren L Goffin

  • Neuroscience
  • Rett syndrome
  • Electrophysiology
Harry Isaacs
  • Developmental signalling
  • Gene regulation during development 
  • Pluripotency and cell lineage specification
Chris MacDonald
  • Intracellular trafficking of cell surface membrane proteins
  • Cellular responses to nutritional stress
  • Yeast genetics
Betsy Pownall
  • Skeletal muscle development
  • The regulation of developmental cell signalling
  • Modelling human disease in zebrafish
Paul Pryor
  • Lysosome and autolysosome biogenesis
  • Lysosomes in health and disease
  • Intracellular pathogen survival
Nathalie Signoret
  • Molecular cell biology
  • Immunology
  • Infectious diseases
Jenny Southgate
  • Urothelium
  • bladder cancer
  • TERM (tissue engineering and regenerative medicine)
Sean Sweeney
  • Endosomal function in synapse development and function
  • Endosomal function in frontotemporal dementia and amyotrophic tateral sclerosis
  • Neuronal responses to oxidative stress
Daniel Ungar
  • Golgi organization
  • Molecular investigation of vesicle tethering 
  • Mammalian glycan biosynthesis