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Department of Genetics


I trained in the labs of Roberto Mayor (as PhD student 2004-2008, UCL), Andrea Streit (as PostDoc 2008-2012, KCL), Jean-Francois Nicolas (as PostDoc 2011-2013, Institute Pasteur), Scott Fraser (as Marie-Curie Fellow 2013-2014, USC) and Alfonso Martinez Arias (as Marie-Curie Fellow 2014-2015, Cambridge). I have been supported by a Wellcome Trust/Royal Society Sir Henry Dale fellowship since 2016, and in early 2020 was successful in an application for a lectureship that was advertised in the Department of Genetics. The lab applies live and quantitative imaging techniques to investigate how cell fate decisions are orchestrated in space and time during body plan formation in vertebrate embryos. Our lab is interested in how such fundamental differences in embryo size, cell number and energy supply have influenced the interpretation of conserved regulatory networks and patterning mechanisms by individual cells.

The Sir Henry Dale Fellowship came with a Research Assistant position, with which I was fortunate to recruit Tim Fulton. Tim helped in setting up the lab and transitioned to a PhD funding by the Cambridge Trusts in 2018. Subsequently, we hired Meagan Hennessy as a Research Assistant to lead our work using mammalian ES cells. I have also been very fortunate to have had the support of a mentor in the Department, Alfonso Martinez Arias. Alfonso was key in helping me recruit students and provided open access to existing resources and facilites of the lab, thereby allowing a fast start to our research. Over five years, I have supervised four master’s students to completion, with four PhD students graduating in 2021. An additional two PhD students will continue into the next phase of our group. We have also been very lucky to have had two Post-Doctoral researchers join us. Berta Verd brought an inter-disciplinary aspect to our work, and we continue to collaborate with her now she has started her own group in Oxford ( Chaitanya Dingare is establishing a new research direction in the link between metabolism and development and is Co-Researcher PI on a recently awarded MRC grant. 

One of the things I have appreciated about the Department is who I have been incorporated into positions of governance, even at an early career stage. This has included being the chair of the Department’s Microscopy Steering Committee, a member of the Department’s Strategy Committee and Module Organiser for Part II Developmental Genetics. Outside the Department, I am contributing to the operations of the Cambridge Centre for Physical Biology ( and am co-leader of the Reproduction, Development and Lifelong Health Research Theme ( I am also the School of Biological Sciences representative on the University’s Open Research Steering Committee. Such opportunities have helped me better appreciate how the University, School and Department is run, and to help set an agenda for the further improvement of our research environment.