Tools and techniques in Molecular Medicine
Immunofluorescence image acquisition on a wide-field microscope.

Our research has generated a number of specialised techniques and tools to understand the mechanisms of cell biology processes with impacts on homeostasis and diseases. 

Research interests of Dr Vania Braga encompass the use of biosensors to detect localised activation of small GTPases at junctions and other intracellular sites and she has extensive expertise in biochemical and high-throughput methods to determine signalling pathways. The laboratory has also generated a number of image analysis and computer vision tools to quantify discrete phenotypes at junctions caused by manipulation of signalling pathways (Erasmus et al., 2016, 2015; Kelly et al., 2011; Kalaji et al., 2012; Frasa et al., 2010; Lozano et al., 2008).   

Dr Michael Emerson’s laboratory investigates human platelet aggregation in vitro using blood samples from volunteers and patients in collaboration with Chelsea and Westminster Hospital. A bench-top flow cytometer allows mechanistic investigation of platelet activation.  The lab also has expertise in mouse models in vivo (Tymvios C, Jones S, Moore C, Pitchford SC, Page CP, Emerson M 2008). Real-time measurement of non-lethal platelet thromboembolic responses in the anaesthetized mouse. Thromb. Haemost. 99, 435-40) and in working with nanoparticles. 

Dr Birgit Leitinger’s group are developing FRET-based sensors to understand the molecular mechanism of receptor activation in collaboration with Paul French’s group (Department of Physics, Faculty of Natural Sciences). The group uses fusion proteins with mCherry or GFP, as well as SNAP-tagged receptors which are labelled with a mixture of red- and green-fluorescent cell-impermeable dyes. 

Dr Liming Ying’s laboratory specializes in a number of techniques to measure conformational change in and association of biological molecules (proteins, DNA, lipids). His laboratory is equipped with fluorescence correlation spectroscopy (FCS), single molecule fluorescence resonance energy transfer (smFRET) and total internal reflection fluorescence (TIRF) imaging experiments. 

Dr Charlotte Dodson’s laboratory is expert in biophysical measurements on proteins and their interactions with small molecule inhibitors. Key techniques within her laboratory include single molecule TIRF imaging and rapid mixing kinetics (stopped flow). The group is experienced in kinase activity assays / Michaelis Menten kinetics and in modelling kinetic reaction schemes.