Research Groups

There are currently over 30 research groups at the Dunn School, with leaders drawn from across the world. Their diverse interests, backgrounds and expertise creates a dynamic and stimulating environment. Many groups share common research interests which fosters the vibrant scientific community found at the Dunn School.

Oreste Acuto

Molecular mechanisms of T cell activation and differentiation

We are interested in understanding how T cells, central actors of adaptive immune responses, become activated when they encounter foreign substances. Dissecting the molecular underpinning of this process may lead to the discovery new and more effective ways to diagnose, prevent and heal immune dysfunction...

Dragana Ahel

Mechanisms of genome stability

The maintenance of a complete and undamaged genome is critical for survival. Because DNA is continuously exposed to genotoxic stress, cells have evolved mechanisms that are specialized for correcting different types of DNA damage. These mechanisms play essential roles in the maintenance of genome integrity and their deficiencies have been...

Ivan Ahel

DNA repair mechanisms and human disease

Our genome is constantly exposed to various types of DNA damage, both endogenous and exogenous. It has been estimated that the DNA in every cell of our body suffers thousands of DNA lesions per day, which, if left unattended, can lead to mutations and/or cell death. Our cells have evolved a variety of mechanisms to counteract...

Luis Alberto Baena

Deciphering the emerging functions of caspases

Most of the scientific focus on the evolutionarily conserved family of caspases has been aimed at understanding their role as key regulators of cell death. However, recent evidence suggests the involvement of these proteins in alternative cellular functions such as cell proliferation, cell differentiation and cell migration...

Tanmay Bharat

Structural cell biology of bacterial biofilm formation

Rather than living as single, isolated cells in liquid cultures, most bacteria on this planet form macroscopic, surface-attached, multi-cellular communities known as biofilms. Bacterial biofilms play a role in many diseases and medical conditions including cystic fibrosis, bone, wound and urinary tract infections....

Elizabeth Bikoff

Transcriptional regulators of mammalian development

Our research exploits mouse genetics to investigate the key signalling cues and transcriptional regulators governing cell fate decisions in the developing mammalian embryo. In particular, we have been studying the TGF family of secreted growth factors, including the ligand Nodal, and its downstream effector Smad2,...

Marion H Brown

Molecular interactions of leukoctye surface receptors

We study how immune regulation depends on molecular interactions of leukocyte surface receptors. The overall effect of a receptor can vary from activation to inhibition. It is critical to understand how this is controlled to interpret the role of a receptor in a complex biological system and for designing therapeutic...

Pedro Carvalho

Organelle biogenesis and homeostasis

A defining feature of eukaryotic cells is the presence of a variety of membrane-bound organelles. Each one of these organelles has a specialized set of functions and a unique identity conferred by a distinct set of lipid and protein molecules. Our lab studies how organelle identity, function and architecture is generated and...

Peter Cook

Genome organization and gene regulation; microfluidics for cell biology.

One current focus is on validating our model for all genomes. This is based on two heterodox concepts: (i) active polymerases are locally concentrated in discrete sites called ‘transcription factories’, and (ii) these molecular machines are immobilized when active. Then, factories are both active...

Omer Dushek

Systems biology of cellular signalling in the immune system

Our laboratory is studying immune cell activation with a particular focus on T cells.