Imaging ONEWORLD - Professor Maddy Parsons 21 February 2022


Scientific Organisers: Stefanie Reichelt, Alex Sossick, Nick Barry, Alessandro Esposito and Kirti Prakash

The meeting will begin at 13:00BST.

As part of the 'Imaging ONEWORLD' series, the focus of these lectures is on microscopy and image analysis methods and how to apply these to your research. Almost all aspects of imaging such as sample preparation, labelling strategies, experimental workflows, ‘how-to’ image and analyse, as well as facilitating collaborations and inspiring new scientific ideas will be covered. Speakers will be available for questions and answers. The organisers, CRUK CI core facility staff, Gurdon Institute, MRC-LMB, MRC Cancer Unit and NPL will be able to continue the discussion and provide advice on your imaging projects.


Speaker

  • Professor Maddy Parsons

    RMS Honorary Secretary Biological Science

    King's College London
    Maddy is Professor of Cell Biology at King’s College London. Maddy completed her PhD in Biochemistry within the Department of Medicine at University College London in 2000. During her PhD she analysed the role of mechanical forces in dermal scarring. She then moved to Cancer Research UK laboratories in London for a 4-year postdoctoral position where she used advanced microscopy techniques including FRET/FLIM to dissect adhesion receptor signaling to the actin cytoskeleton and how this controlled directed cell invasion. Based on these achievements, Maddy was awarded a Royal Society University Research Fellowship in 2005 to establish her own group within the Randall Division of Cell and Molecular Biophysics at King’s College London.

    Following completion of her fellowship, Maddy was appointed Reader at King’s in 2013 and Professor of Cell Biology in 2015. Maddy has established collaborations with developmental biologists and clinical researchers to study adhesion receptor signalling in skin blistering, wound healing, inflammation and cancer. She works closely with physicists, biophysicists and other world-leading cell migration groups in the field to develop and apply new imaging technologies to dissect spatiotemporal cytoskeletal signalling events in live cells, tissues and whole organisms. As a result of her interest and applications of advanced microscopy, Maddy developed a strong working partnership with Nikon, which subsequently led to the establishment of the state-of-the-art, world-class Nikon Imaging Centre at King’s College London of which she is Director. Maddy also currently works alongside other biotech and pharmaceutical companies to develop and apply advanced imaging approaches to basic mechanisms that underpin drug discovery. 

Abstract

Cells have to dynamically adapt their shape to respond to changes in the extracellular environment. This is a key feature of many cells in both homeostatic situations such as embryonic development and differentiation as well as pathological scenarios such as cancer cell invasion. Changes in cell shape require dynamic reorganisation of the F-actin cytoskeleton and Fascin is one of the key proteins that controls this process. However, the mechanisms governing spatial, temporal and functional regulation of fascin is poorly understood. We have developed a range of different advanced microscopy methods to enable the study of fascin dynamics and binding partners in live human cancer cells. We show that fascin function and spatial dynamics are finely tuned to adapt to changes in local cytoskeletal organisation as well as the mechanical environment of the cell. Our studies shed light on the molecular control of fascin activity within living tumour cells and may provide new routes for therapeutic development to halt cancer progression.