Combining biochemical, biophysical and computational studies to define intracellular mechanisms regulating cell migration and mitosis

Dr Tania Maffucci (primary)
Blizard Institute, Centre for Cell Biology and Cutaneous Research
Queen Mary University of London
Prof Francesca Ciccarelli (secondary)
Cancer Systems Biology Laboratory
King’s College London and The Francis Crick Institute


Changes of cell shape are required for several cellular functions, including cell migration and mitosis. Cytoskeletal rearrangement, mechanical forces and changes in lipids and proteins local composition and/or activation are some of the processes responsible for cell shapes remodelling. In this project, we will combine biochemical, biophysical and computational studies to determine how a group of lipids collectively known as “phosphoinositides” (PIs) contributes to regulation of these processes. Specifically, we will determine the pattern of genetic alterations of PIs-regulating enzymes that occur in human cells and their impact on cytoskeletal remodelling, mechanical forces, PIs/proteins activation/localisation during migration/mitosis.


1 Mavrommati I, Cisse O, Falasca M, Maffucci T. Novel roles for class II Phosphoinositide 3-Kinase C2β in signalling pathways involved in prostate cancer cell invasion. Sci Rep. 2016 Mar 17;6:23277.
2 Maffucci T, Cooke FT, Foster FM, Traer CJ, Fry MJ, Falasca M. Class II phosphoinositide 3-kinase defines a novel signaling pathway in cell migration. J Cell Biol. 2005 Jun 6;169(5):789-99.
3 Repana D, Nulsen J, Dressler L, Bortolomeazzi M, Venkata SK, Tourna A, Yakovleva A, Palmieri T, Ciccarelli FD. The Network of Cancer Genes (NCG): a comprehensive catalogue of known and candidate cancer genes from cancer sequencing screens. Genome Biol. 2019 Jan 3;20(1):1.
4 Kenny FN, Drymoussi Z, Delaine-Smith R, Kao AP, Laly AC, Knight MM, Philpott MP, Connelly JT. Tissue stiffening promotes keratinocyte proliferation through activation of epidermal growth factor signaling. J Cell Sci. 2018 May 16;131(10).
5 Maffucci T. An introduction to phosphoinositides. Curr Top Microbiol Immunol. 2012;362:1-42.

Molecules, cells and industrial biotechnology
Area of Biology
Cell Biology
Techniques & Approaches
BiochemistryBioinformaticsBiophysicsImage ProcessingMathematics / StatisticsMicroscopy / ElectrophysiologyMolecular Biology