I joined the Venkitaraman laboratory with an EPSRC fellowship in late 2009 thanks to the will of the Director Ashok Venkitaraman to employ the technologies I was developping in a different field to cancer biology.
Ashok's support, thus, has been invaluable to transform my research project into a broader research programme dedicated to the study of cancer.
We are located at the Hutchison/MRC Research Centre within the MRC Cancer Unit now a department of the University of Cambridge.
The mission of the Unit is to improve our understanding of the earliest steps in tumorogenesis and translate this
into clinical practise by developing new diagnostic and prognostic tests, and therapeutic interventions.
My years at the MRC Cancer Unit have been dedicated to develop technologies, mathematics and software for a new generation of single cell biochemistry.
The aim is to characterize cell biochemistry during tumorogenesis and the heterogeneity underlying cellular responses that is responsible for the reduced efficacy of many therapies.
The project goals are ambitious and, therefore, a number of people within the Venkitaraman laboratory helped me over the last years to start the substantial molecular biology efforts
that are needed to create the novel assays we were planning: Bryn Hardwick, Meredith Roberts-Thomson, David Perera, Helen Robinson and Pooja Sharma.
In these years, two master students pushed these efforts in a more systematic manner, Maximilian Fries and Henning Falk.
Max succesfully cloned and tested a large part of a biochemical multiplexing platform and continued his work with me during his ongoing doctoral studies.
Marina Popleteeva joined my team in 2012-2013, physicist, with the aim to characterize new solid state technologies dedicated to spectral FLIM and to support the
development of software and algorithms. Marina was then joined by Siddharth De, biologist, working on p53 and MAPK signalling dynamics during DNA damage.
At the end of 2013, Callum Campbell also joined my team for his PhD to work on novel optogeneticl tools and their applications to study checkpoint signalling.
Max is also developing optogenetic tools, in his case for the acute activation of oncogenes.
In 2014, Kalina Haas, physicist, joined the team to develop sophisticated data analysis tools for biochemical imaging and to start a project based on super-resolution microsocopy.
We also hosted Harveer Dev for a short stint on tumour imaging and, currently, Maria Zagorulya to setup modular response analysis in the lab.
From 2011, I also work to advise and direct the imaging facilities at MRC Cancer Unit with Sue Penryn-Lowe, our imaging facility manager.
In 2015, Siddharth De, Kalina Haas, Maximilian Fries, Callum Campbell and Maria Zagorulya are the team of people working with me.