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Personal profile


21012-pres Lecturer 
Faculty of Life Sciences, Manchester, UK


2007-2012 RCUK Research Fellow
Faculty of Life Sciences, Manchester, UK


2005-2007 Post-doctoral Fellow
Gurdon Institute, Cambridge and Faculty of Life Sciences, Manchester, UK
Advisor: Enrique Amaya


2002-2005 Post-doctoral Fellow
Laboratory of Developmental Signalling, Cancer Research UK, Lincoln's Inn Fields Laboratories, London, UK
Advisor: Caroline Hill


1997-2001 PhD
EMBL, Heidelberg, Germany
Advisor: Giulio Superti-Furga


Research interests

In my laboratory, we aim to understand how Receptors Tyrosine Kinases (RTKs) can elicit a precise cellular response in the complex environment of the organism. To this end, we are investigating the molecular mechanisms controlling the activity of intracellular signalling pathways downstream of RTKs during Xenopus development. We are particularly interested in the role of RTK signalling during gastrulation and during neural development and maturation. These are two very different systems, allowing us to ask complementary questions about the mechanisms of action of RTKs during embryonic development.

During gastrulation, Fibroblast Growth Factor (FGF) plays an essential role for two very important developmental events: mesoderm specification and morphogenetic movements. Gastrulation is therefore a relatively simple model to study how the same signal (FGF) is interpreted differently by mesodermic cells.

During motor neurons (MNs) development, we have recently reported that another RTK (TrkB and its ligand BDNF) has a crucial role in regulating axonal branching (Panagiotaki et al. 2011). Whilst axonal branching plays an essential role in allowing the formation, refinement, and maintenance of functional neural circuits, the mechanisms regulating branching are poorly understood. Our work places us in a unique position to elicidate how RTK signalling controls cell shape (or "unicellular morphogenesis"). In the longer term, we aim to use this knowledge to improve spinal cord repair and regeneration following injury.

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

Areas of expertise

  • QH301 Biology
  • QH426 Genetics

Research Beacons, Institutes and Platforms

  • Manchester Regenerative Medicine Network
  • Christabel Pankhurst Institute


  • Neural development
  • Regeneration
  • Xenopus
  • Genome Editing
  • Developmental Biology
  • Growth Factor Signalling


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