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Liu Lab

Group Members

Karen Liu 2015Karen J Liu
PhD, Reader in Signalling and Development

Karen joined the Department of Craniofacial Development at King's College London as a lecturer in 2007 and has been a Reader since 2014. She was a postdoctoral fellow at Stanford University from 2003-2006 after receiving her PhD in 2003 (Richard Harland Lab at the University of California, Berkeley). Her first degree in Architecture and English led her to work for I.M. Pei in a previous life. Her long-term interests are in animal models of neural crest development and disorders and the use of neural crest cells for healing and regeneration.


Sandra Gonzalez 2015Sandra G Gonzalez Malagon, PhD 

After completing her PhD in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at UCL in 2011, Sandra became interested in the field of regeneration and development. She joined Karen Liu’s lab in 2012, where she has been studying the role of GSK3 during neural crest development, specifically during migration. Using Xenopus and mammalian models, Sandra aims to explore the GSK3 phosphorylation targets that may be responsible for the neural crest to initiate migration. This work could potentially lead to the understanding of cell behaviour during pathogenic conditions, such as metastatic cancers.


Hadell Al Lami 2015Hadeel Adel Al-Lami, MSc 
PhD Student

Hadeel is an orthodontist. In 2007, she completed her MSc in Orthodontics at University of Baghdad/ College of Dentistry. She worked as a lecturer at University of Baghdad/ College of Dentistry before starting her PhD. Hadeel is interested in cartilage development and in particular, Meckel’s cartilage and its effect on the development of mandible at some ciliopathies. She is really interested in the signalling pathways that underlie developmental defects and micrognathia like Hedgehog (Hh), Fibroblast Growth factor (Fgf) and Wnt signalling pathways.


Wills B. Barrell, Bsc 
PhD Student

Wills obtained his BSc in Oral and Craniofacial Biology from King’s College London and then started working as a research assistant in the Liu lab in 2011, working on the role of GSK-3 in the development of the skull. Wills started his PhD studies in 2014 and is currently investigating the role of cilia in the bone and cartilage cell differentiation. His research interests include skull development, stem cells and differentiation of bone and cartilage. Wills' personal interests include circus skills.


Daniel Doro 2015Daniel Doro, BSc (Pharm), MSc
PhD Student

Daniel obtained his BSc in Pharmacy from Federal University of Minas Gerais (UFMG), where he also attended the Science Induction programme leading to the Master of Science degree in Genetics (2010-2012). Before joining King’s College London's PhD programme in 2013, Daniel worked as a research assistant for a project on recombinant vaccines in collaboration with GlaxoSmithKline (GSK). He is currently interested in understanding the roles of the kinase GSK-3 in the context of mouse calvarial ossification.


Anna Lopz Munoz 2015Anna Lopez Muñoz
PhD Student

Anna obtained her BSc in Biomedical Science at the University of Barcelona, Spain in 2012. In 2013, she undertook a research internship at the Wellcome Trust Centre in Oxford, where she was looking at genetic determinants in mammalian adult neurogenesis. Anna is currently interested in mammalian neural crest cell development, where she is looking at GSK3 and b-catenin requirements during neural crest cell migration and differentiation.


Kshemendra Senarath Yapa 2015Kshemendra Senarath-Yapa, MA MBBChir MRCS
PhD Student

Kshem obtained his Masters and Medical degree from the University of Cambridge. After undertaking basic surgical training and accident and emergency medicine in London, followed by an elective in plastic surgery at Massachusetts General Hospital Boston, he took up a national training post in plastic and reconstructive surgery. The lack of sufficient autologous tissue for reconstruction is a frequently encountered clinical problem and this served as his motivation to pursue research in regenerative medicine. He is currently undertaking a postdoctoral research fellowship at Stanford University in Dr Michael T Longaker’s group, where his main focus has been on skeletal regenerative medicine. More specifically, he has studied signalling pathways that govern osteoegenic capacity of the craniofacial skeleton, characterisation of adipose derived stem cells and their osteogenic capacity and worked on the recent identification of the moue skeletal stem cell, a specific cell population capable of forming bone, cartilage and bone marrow stroma. More recently, through a collaboration between the Liu and Longaker Labs, Kshem is studying the role of Sclerostin Domain containing Protein 1 (SOSTDC1), an analogue of Sclerostin, in the development and repair of long bones and the craniofacial skeleton.


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