Personal profile


I was a post graduate student in the Laboratory of Research on the Thyroid Gland and Hormonal Regulation, directed by Professor Claude Jacquemin, University of Paris XI Orsay, France. My studies were focused on the regulation of mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) signalling pathways in primary cultures of rat astrocytes. Following the award of my PhD in 1996, I became a post-doctoral fellow in the laboratory of Professor Roger J Davis (University of Massachusetts, USA) where I discovered the power of combining molecular biology with mouse genetics to demonstrate the biological importance of mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) signalling pathways. My major contribution in Roger's lab was the genetic demonstration that mitochondria are influenced by pro-apoptotic signal transduction through the c-Jun N-terminal protein kinase (JNK) subfamily of MAPK. In July 2000, I was appointed as a lecturer in the Faculty of Life Sciences at the University of Manchester. I became a senior lecturer in 2012.


1990: Bachelor (Licence) in Biochemistry, University of Montpellier, France

1991: Master (Maitrise) in Biochemistry, University of Montpellier, France

1996: PhD in Endocrinology and Cellular and Molecular Interactions, University of Paris XI, France

Further information

10/92-01/96: Scholarship from the "Ministère de l'Enseignement Supérieur et de la Recherche" (French Department of Education and Research)

02/96-01/97: Post-doctoral fellowship from the "Association pour la Recherche contre le Cancer" (ARC).

02/97-01/98: Post-doctoral fellowship from the "Institut National de la Santé et de la Recherche Médicale".

02/98-06/00: Research associate of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute.

10/01-09/06: Senior Research Fellowship from the Lister institute of Preventive Medicine

Memberships of committees and professional bodies

 I am a member of the scientific committee of Worldwide Cancer Research (formerly AICR).


Cells in every organism can process external signals thanks to clever systems that enable the information encoded by the signals to be transmitted inside the cell. These systems, also known as pathways, allow healthy cells to communicate with each other and to respond to changes in their environment. Consequently, diseases can occur when these networks are disrupted or inappropriately stimulated. For example, we have identified a pathway that causes cancer cells to grow and divide in an uncontrolled manner, forming a tumour. We have also found that a similar pathway is responsible for instructing brain cells to die. The importance of this finding is highlighted by the fact that excessive loss of brain cells is associated with neurological disorders characteristic of age-related degenerative diseases or associated with brain injury. Based on these initials findings my laboratory is interested in understanding how pathways transmit specific information within the cells, so that strategies to repair networks of signal transduction can be developed to treat diseases.

Research interests

The interest of my laboratory lies in the scientific area of cell signalling via the mitogen-activated protein kinases (MAPKs). More specifically, our aim is to increase our molecular understanding of physiological and pathological processes associated with development and diseases by analysing phenotypic abnormalities caused by the loss of MAPK signalling. The physiological importance of the MAPK cascades has been demonstrated by embryonic death caused by their functional deletion in mice. Consistently, studies using cells derived from these genetically modified animals have provided evidence that MAPK modules regulate numerous cellular functions. For example, we have demonstrated that MEK5/ERK5 is associated with cell proliferation and survival, while JNKs are mainly activated in response to cytokines and extracellular stresses upon phosphorylation by MKK4 and MKK7 and can mediate cell death. In collaboration with the Transgenic Unit, we have developed relevant mouse models of human cancers to examine the requirement of MAPKs in inflammation-driven carcinogenesis. Our most recent work focuses on understanding the mechanisms underlying polarised macrophage activation associated with tumour development and progression.


I teach on the Cell Signalling lecture unit (BIOL31441) and take tutorial and Medical PBL groups.  

I am involved in a range of other undergraduate teaching activities including being a Personal Advisor and supervising dissertation and project students.

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being

Research Beacons, Institutes and Platforms

  • Dementia@Manchester
  • Manchester Institute for Collaborative Research on Ageing
  • Manchester Cancer Research Centre


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