Mechanobiology at the alveolar epithelium: can you feel the force?

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”.

Selwyn College Cambridge

Planar Cell Polarity in Development across Evolution

One day meeting on 26th July ,2019

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.  

 Legal seafood and Boston Public library

Stem cells, therapies and bioengineering in Vermont

July 15-18 2019, University of Vermont, Burlington, Vermont, USA.

The International Society for Cell & Gene Therapy hosted the bi-annual invitational Conference on Stem cells, Cell therapies and bioengineering in lung biology and disease

This meeting brings together scientists working on a variety of different regenerative medicine approaches to treat lung disease. The meeting covered advances in discovery biology, 3D models for lung research, technology and current approaches being trialed as potential treatments for lung disease.  Charlotte presented an invited talk entitled ‘Live imaging of alveologenesis in Precision-Cut lung slices reveals dynamic epithelial cell behaviour’.

Views of the beautiful Lake Champlain and Burlington

Imperial Festival fun

Last weekend, lab members Sek Shir and Sally helped welcome 45 to 50,000 members of the public to the first Great Exhibition Road Festival, a three-day celebration of curiosity, discovery and exploration.  Imperial have collaborated with 20 institutions in and around South Kensington. Partners included the Royal Albert Hall, the V&A, the Natural History Museum, the Science Museum, and the Royal Colleges of Art and Music as well as the Goethe-Institut, the Ismaili Centre, the Serpentine Gallery and the Institut Français. 

With the support, creativity and generosity of these partners, 11 interactive themed zones were devised, full of creative activities, live experiments, and friendly experts, alongside an extensive programme of talks, workshops and performances. The partnership also involved a lucky dip, pairing unexpected partners together to co-create content.

Both Sally and Sek Shir had a really enjoyable day interacting with the guests of all ages an are looking forward to the Festival in 2020. 

Advaith Foundation, Bengaluru : Anatomy Explorers Outreach Workshop

Leigh Chambers recently re-visited The Advaith Foundation at The Samhita Academy in South Bengaluru to conduct a follow-up workshop with 45 children aged 11-14, entitled Anatomy Explorers. The program aimed to introduce creative approaches to science education and worked closely with teachers and program leaders to develop mutual understanding of the advantages of an arts based learning approach.

Anatomy Explorers 2019
Nervous system construction using rope
Neuron pebbles

Wellcome Trust Biomedical Vacation Scholarship 2019

Biomedical Vacation Scholarships – 2019 competition

Congratulations to Jin Ju Lee on her successful application to the Wellcome Trust Biomedical Vacation Scholarship scheme. In collaboration with Mark Griffiths and Vania Braga, Jin Ju will be using a novel software programme ‘junction mapper’ to look at cell:cell adhesion in lung epithelial cells. We look forward to Jin Ju joining the group in July. Welcome back to Jin Ju!

Anatomical Society Summer Vacation Research Scholarship awarded

Anatomical Society Undergraduate Student Research Scholarship Awards 2019

Congratulations to Ms Ambreen Muhammad who was awarded the prestigious Anatomical Society Summer Research Scholarship for her project entitled “Investigating the role of Dishevelled Associated Activator of Morphogenesis 2 (Daam2) in lung development”.

We look forward to welcoming Ambreen to the Dean lab in July.

‘Regenerative pharmacology for COPD: breathing new life into old lungs’

A new State of the art review in Thorax entitled ‘Regenerative pharmacology for COPD: breathing new life into old lungs’ has been published by Ng-Blichfeldt et al.

Authors discuss the vital importance of increasing our understanding of the cell-specific molecular control of regeneration, the regenerative potential of the human lung and regenerative competencies of patients with
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

Regenerative pharmacology for COPD: breathing new life into old lungs. Ng-Blichfeldt, J-P., Reinoud, G., Dean, D., Griffiths, M. & Hind, M.
Thorax Published Online First: 02 April 2019. doi: 10.1136/thoraxjnl-2018-212630