We study the spatial organisation of the signalling pathways that control cell shape

Our lab investigates the molecular mechanisms that guide self-organised cell morphogenesis. Cell shape changes and movement rely on Rho GTPase proteins that direct the cytoskeleton to generate mechanical forces. Fundamental gaps exist between our understanding of individual regulators and components of the cytoskeletal machinery and of how they function as a whole to enable dynamic mesoscale structures. We focus on the integrating players, the RhoGEF and RhoGAP proteins, and how their feedback interplay with actin arrays and other actuators at the cell cortex gives rise to signalling patterns that drive morphodynamic cell behaviour, such as front-rear polarisation or guided migration. We have generated unique tools for family-wide studies of GEFs/GAPs that for the first time provide a systems-level view. Combined with state-of-the-art microscopy (optogenetics, biosensors, single molecule imaging), synthetic biology and proteomics, we aim to quantify, perturb and rewire the underlying signalling processes in space and time.