Postdoc / guest
Dr. Leo Price is senior staff member at the Division of Drug Discovery & Safety and Chief Scientific Officer at OcellO.
My early research centered on a general theme of GTPase signalling, how these important molecular switches are regulated and how they modulate cell behaviour. This began with my Ph.D. research in the group of Anna Koffer, which focused on the role of G-proteins in histamine secretion from mast cells and resulted in the identification of Rho-family GTPases as key regulators of secretion. My postdoc research began in Martin Schwartz’ lab at the Scripps Institute in San Diego and focused on signalling by integrins, a family of cell surface receptors for the extracellular matrix. We identified a GTPase signalling pathway that relays intracellular signals from integrins to kinases and subsequent changes in cell migration. My research continued in this vein at the Netherlands Cancer Institute (NKI) in Amsterdam and the University Medical Center, Utrecht.
With a number of active collaborations my work here in the Division of Toxicology includes the role of adhesion and adhesion signalling in tissue organisation and maintenance and also the pivotal role of adhesion in certain clinically relevant conditions including renal failure and toxicity. Relevant research requires appropriate experimental models. For example, the majority of potential drugs that pass in vitro reporter-assay screening fail in animal tests. It is not surprising that cells cultured in a monolayer on a plastic dish will respond differently to cells growing in the highly complex environment of animal tissues. A degree of complexity can be reconstituted in vitro by culturing cells in three-dimensional matrices. We use various in vitro 3D cell models to investigate cell-cell and cell-matrix interactions, how these control processes such as epithelial morphogenesis ( see the movie), kidney epithelial cell function and tumour invasion and how these are disrupted during toxic stress responses. A particular focus is the application of functional genomics and high throughput screening to identify the genes and pathways involved in these processes.
- Screening of compounds for the pharmaceutical and biotech industries