Dr. Laura Yates joined the Leukocyte Biology section, National Heart and Lung Institute, Imperial College, as a Junior Research Fellow in November 2013.
Dr. Yates completed her PhD in Dr. Charlotte Dean’s laboratory at MRC Harwell in association with the Biochemistry Department, University of Oxford. Her studies uncovered a novel role for the Planar cell polarity (PCP) signalling pathway in normal branching morphogenesis of the developing lung and kidney.
For her postdoctoral studies Dr. Yates relocated to Melbourne, Australia, joining the Cell Cycle and Cancer Genetics lab headed by Patrick Humbert at the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre. Maintaining an interest in cell and tissue polarity Dr. Yates made the transition from developmental biology to cancer cell biology. Loss of cell and tissue polarity is recognised as a hallmark of cancer and is known to be one of the first steps leading to tumour formation. Here, Dr. Yates investigated the role of the cell polarity regulator Scribble, and its cooperation with oncogenic KRas in lung tumourigenesis.
As a JRF at Imperial College, Dr. Yates continues to investigate how aberrant polarity impacts on adult lung disease with a particular interest in Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) and lung cancer. Patients with pre-existing COPD have an increased risk of developing lung cancer, therefore one of Dr. Yates’ research aims is to understand the molecular mechanisms that predispose COPD patients to lung cancer and how deregulation of polarity regulators may contribute to disease progression.
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et al., 2017, Heterozygous Vangl2 looptail mice reveal novel roles for the planar cell polarity pathway in adult lung homeostasis and repair, Disease Models & Mechanisms, Vol:10, ISSN:1754-8403, Pages:409-423