During my second year of medical school I decided that I wanted to gain some lab experience over Summer, as I realised medical research was an area I’d like to explore further. I was very fortunate to arrange to spend my Summer in the Dean lab and subsequently worked with Charlotte and Matt to design a project that would contribute to the labs work in investigating the mechanisms underlying Congenital Pulmonary Airway Malformation (CPAM). I applied for and gratefully received a Wellcome Student Scholarship to facilitate this, producing a report based on my findings. I found it a fantastic experience working within the research team and gained valuable insight into clinical academia through collaborating with clinicians at the Royal Brompton Hospital.
I have subsequently presented the results of my project at the 2019 Pathology Society Winter meeting held at the Royal Society of Medicine, and this year our article was published in BMJ Thorax. DOI: 10.1136/thoraxjnl-2020-214752.
My experience in the Dean lab has been integral to informing my choice to pursue academic research alongside my clinical work. I have since completed my BSc at Imperial in Cardiovascular Sciences, during which I conducted a lab project at Tokyo Medical and Dental University, and I am currently working as an academic foundation doctor in which I will complete my academic rotation in transplant and regeneration at Addenbrooke’s hospital, Cambridge.
Taylor B et al. Mechanism of lung development in the aetiology of adult congenital pulmonary airway malformations. Thorax 2020
A new study cross-disciplinary study from several groups in NHLI demonstrates the importance of lung development genes in regulating adult lung function. This project used UK Biobank to investigate whether lung development genes influence adult lung function. Future experimental investigation of these developmental pathways could lead to druggable targets to improve lung function.
Am J Respir Crit Care Med. 2020 May 11. doi: 10.1164/rccm.201912-2338OC. Online ahead of print.PMID: 32392078
On 29th February Charlotte attended the 5th Annual National Liverpool Research Conference. This student led initiative is a one day meeting specifically aimed to encourage medical students to get involved in research. The day began with several talks by senior clinical and basic research scientists on a variety of topics such as ‘engineering an artificial womb’ and Charlotte’s talk ‘towards lung regeneration:tools and mechanisms’. There was also a poster and oral presentation competition, which showcased the many different projects that students have been working on. Participants were also able to attend workshops to learn more about routes into clinical academic research. A huge thanks to all the organisers and attendees for a thoroughly enjoyable day.
For a really usefull up to date look at stem-cell based therapies, take a look at this book which has just been published. The chapter on ‘stem cell delivery systems and devices’ was co-authored by Sally Kim, a current ERS/EMBO fellow in the lab.
Sek Shir recently presented her interesting new data at a poster entitled “Disruption of The Planar Cell Polarity (PCP) Component Vangl2 Alters Cell Mechanics in Loop-tail Mice” at the EMBO/EMBL symposium in Heidelberg, Germany between 3-6 July, 2019.
The symposium aims at bringing together world-leading experts in the fields of mechanobiology, cell biology and developmental biology studying the mechanical basis of cell and tissue morphogenesis. Particular emphasis was given to quantitative approaches analysing how force production, transduction and reception drives cell and tissue morphogenesis from the molecular scale to the organismal scale. The Symposium aims to provide a comprehensive overview of both experimental and theoretical advances providing insight into the molecular, cellular and biophysical mechanisms by which cells, tissues and entire organisms take shape.
Congratulations to Sally on her selected talk at the ERS International Congress in Madrid; “A novel ex-vivo approach to study lung injury and repair” in the session “Understanding lung disease: novel in vitro models”.
Prof Mark Griffiths spoke about his recent work at the plenary session (chaired by Dr Charlotte Dean) at this year’s Summer Meeting at the British Association for Lung Research. His talk entitled ‘Mechanobiology at the alveolar epithelium: can you feel the force?’ detailed recent work exploring mechanisms underlying alveolar development. The conference was held at Selwyn College Cambridge between 10-12 September 2019.
The theme of this years gathering for the respiratory scientist community was ‘Lung Injury & Repair’. The BALR caters for the respiratory scientist community, from basic to clinical, to provide a platform to exchange ideas, create collaborations, and further pulmonary research.
Sek Shir also presented recent findings at her poster entitled “Disruption of The Planar Cell Polarity (PCP) Component Vangl2 Alters Cell Mechanics in Loop-tail Mice”.
The Society for Developmental Biology Satellite Symposium hosted the first global specialist PCP meeting since 2013 on ‘Planar Cell Polarity in Development across evolution’
The talks spanned all aspects of PCP biology across Drosophila, Zebrafish, mouse and human.
Charlotte Dean’s talk, ‘The PCP pathway in Lung Development and repair’. highlighted the importance of the PCP pathway for proper lung morphogenesis during embryonic development. It also summarised more recent data looking at the role of Vangl2 in the adult lungs. Making use of Vangl2Lp heterozygotes, which are viable as adults, Charlotte described how dysfunction of the PCP pathway lead to significant morphological and functional defects in the adult lungs, highlighting a role for the PCP pathway beyond embryonic development. This correlates with their findings that in the human population, individuals with a particular Vangl2 SNP who smoke, have significantly lower lung function compared to smokers without this SNP.