I graduated from the University of Sheffield with a BSc in Biomedical Science, a course that sparked my interest in cell and developmental biology. Between my second and third year, I undertook a great summer research placement within the university that investigated the regulation of the cell adhesion molecule, E-cadherin. After experiencing the practical aspects of developmental biology research in the lab, I decided to apply for a PhD with the same supervisor. This project is exciting because it will combine fundamental molecular biology techniques with developmental genetics to enhance our understanding of an essential cellular process, endocytosis, in vivo.
Clathrin-mediated endocytosis (CME) is a highly conserved cellular process that traffics cargo such as transmembrane receptors and cell adhesion molecules into the cell. This occurs via the inward pinching of the membrane to form a clathrin-coated vesicle containing the cargo. An emerging concept in the field of CME research is that this process is very dynamic and that different conditions e.g. membrane rigidity, result in the differential requirement of certain components of the endocytic machinery. The vast majority of previous work in this area, however, has been carried out using in vitro and cellular systems that lack the natural mechanical forces in a living organism.
This project therefore will use a wide range of molecular biology techniques and applied developmental genetics to investigate the dynamics of this process in vivo. Due to its high amenability to genetic manipulation and quantitative techniques, we aim to investigate CME in the developing epithelial tissue of Drosophila melanogaster. At later stages, comparative work may be carried out using mammalian cell culture.