The Parsons Group
Group Leader: Professor Maddy Parsons
Research in our lab is aimed at understanding the molecular mechanisms that regulate adhesion, polarisation and chemotactic migration in adherent cells. Cell migration is a vital process involved in normal human development, wound healing and inflammatory responses. However, many pathological states such as cancer metastasis, developmental defects and healing abnormalities are as a result of a dysregulation in the control of cell motility. Using model systems to address the role of adhesion and growth factor receptor signalling in controlling cell motility, we are studying mechanisms of migration in fibroblasts, epithelial cells and tumour cells. Unravelling the complex process of converting signals from the extracellular environment to the eventual movement of the cell is the main focus of our research activities.
Human cancer cells
An image of two human cancer cells expressing GFP-actin and an RFP-tagged adhesion molecule demonstrating polarisation of cells during migration.
Invading breast cancer cells
An image of a human breast cancer cell expressing GFP-actin undergoing invasion through a collagen matrix (labelled red) showing black trail behind the cell where the matrix has been degraded.
Human epithelial cells
A monolayer of human epithelial cells at the edge of a wound stained for nuclei (blue), actin (red) and adhesion receptors (green)