A Dunn School hat-trick: Three labs awarded research funding by the BBSRC

A Dunn School hat-trick: Three labs awarded research funding by the BBSRC

The Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC), one of the seven UK research councils part of UK Research and Innovation, has awarded three separate research grants in the May 2018 round to the Freeman, Murphy and Carvalho labs of the Sir William Dunn School of Pathology. The BBSRC responsive mode research grants are committed to funding curiosity-led research and aim at helping advance bioscience within various disciplines.

Professor Matthew Freeman’s lab aims to elucidate the function and regulation of the intramembrane rhomboid and rhomboid-like proteins. These proteins are involved in a variety of different cellular processes, ranging from signalling, inflammation and ER associated degradation. Professor Matthew Freeman and Dr Adam Grieve, a postdoc in the lab, have been awarded the BBSRC grant for their project on an exciting breakthrough in the rhomboid field. “Rhomboid-like proteins exist in all kingdoms of life, yet their roles in mammals are not well understood. Hopefully with this award, our research can plug this fundamental ­­knowledge gap. We are really pleased that the BBSRC have funded our research – and are eager to get cracking!” said Adam Grieve.


Professor Shona Murphy’s lab focuses on the regulation of the RNA Polymerase II transcription. In particular, they aim to unravel how post-translational modifications on the regulatory domain of Polymerase II influences transcription of protein-coding and small nuclear (sn)RNA genes and the co-transcriptional processing of the transcripts. Shona has been awarded a research grant for her project entitled “The human Pol II-transcribed snRNA genes; a model for gene-type specific transcription”. This grant award will allow them to continue ­­their research into the fundamental aspects of transcriptional regulation of human snRNA genes and production of mature snRNAs, which play essential roles in expression of protein-coding genes. "I am delighted that the BBSRC is funding our efforts to characterise the regulation of expression of these critically important human genes,” said Shona Murphy.

Dr Pedro Carvalho’s lab tries to understand how membrane-bound organelles are organised within the different cellular compartments with especial attention to the contribution of the endoplasmic reticulum (ER), where the biogenesis of most membrane proteins and lipids takes place. Pedro has received funding for his project, which will be focused on the role played by the ER in neutral lipid (or ‘fat’) storage in dedicated organelles called lipid droplets. These are present in all our cells and their de-regulation is frequently associated with diseases such as obesity and lipodystrophies, yet surprisingly, little is known about how lipid droplets are formed. This BBRC funded project, entitled “Mechanism of lipid droplet biogenesis at the endoplasmic reticulum”, will allow them to better understand the interplay between lipid-storage organelles and the ER.

To read about research in the Freeman lab visit: http://freeman.path.ox.ac.uk

To read about research in the Murphy lab visit: http://murphy.path.ox.ac.uk

To read about research in the Carvalho lab visit: https://www.path.ox.ac.uk/content/pedro-carvalho

Information on the BBSRC and its funding schemes can be found on their site: https://bbsrc.ukri.org/about/

Written by Lisa Gartenmann and Dr Anna Caballe (@caballe_anna)


Tuesday, May 22, 2018 - 10