Today was the Northwest Cancer Research annual symposium held in the stunning, Harry Potter-esque, Victoria Gallery on the
University of Liverpool campus.
Lots of excellent, inspiring talks including two of my long-term favourites; actin remodelling and RhoGTPases, and integrin signalling. The notebook is full of the next set of experiments and grant ideas! (Thanks Mark)
There was also a thoroughly impressive poster session, displaying the diverse, excellent cancer research work going on in Liverpool, Bangor and Lancaster.
Included in that poster session, Lee Troughton and Valentina Barrera
presented our new splice regulation story in LAMA3 that is beginning to really take off. Unfortunately, I missed the opportunity to grab a photo with Vale so its just Lee on this edition of the obligatory “they grow up so fast”.
Lee moaned extensively about his quads hurting while squatting down to take this picture so I made him pose for 10 more, saying it was out of focus…
I also captured his response to finding out about the unnecessary extras. Totally worth it
Mini (or squatting) Lee
April time again and the end of another block of MRes Clinical Sciences projects. This time the Hamill lab hosted three students; Kareem Hassanin, Conro Conro Sugden and Tobi Oyewole. Today the boys had their presentations/poster session.
First up; Conro told his story of developing our new minigene construct to investigate LaNt regulation and testing a few mutant versions of it to prove it works. Conor, with Lee Troughton’s help, did some excellent work; generating flow cytometry,
RT-PCR, western blotting and fluorescence microscopy images that demonstrate that our new system is effective for studying intron retention and alternative polyadenylation and showing that the exon 9 splice site has a big role to play in determining splicing efficiency. His data has gone straight into a grant application and should form the starting point for the next stage of the LaNt project.
Next, Tobi under the joint supervision of myself and Colin Willoughby and working alongside Fight For Sight student Thanos, worked on determining the optimal delivery mechanism and conditions for delivering small RNA molecules into corneal epithelial cells. This work is critical first step for the the next stage of Thanos’ PhD studies and, although Tobi was frustrated at times, makes a big difference to the lab. Optimisation is the biggest part of all experiments, without these steps we wouldn’t be able to ask the big questions.
Finally, Kareem working alongside Dr Valentina Barrera and using samples kindly provided by Prof George Bou Gharios, optimised our new rabbit anti-mouse LaNt antibody staining protocol and then did the first staining of embryos and various tissues in the adult. These are really short projects and filled with frustration as just at the very end, Kareem finally had conditions nailed down to get super clean, specific, staining that has opened up a whole range of new options and research questions. One thousand emails bounced back and forward yesterday as he tried to identify all the structures that were and were not stained. Although super cool, really this is just the beginning; knowing where the protein is automatically generates the question of what it is doing in that location as we predict that LaNt function is context specific, so these data too will lay the groundwork for the next grant(s) and next paper.
All in all, a really productive 3 months. Looking forward to the next block…