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Professor Colin W. Taylor

Professor in Cellular Pharmacology and Wellcome Trust Senior Investigator

Colin read Zoology at Cambridge, before completing a PhD on insect physiology with Mike Berridge. He completed postdoctoral work with Jim Putney in the USA, before returning to Cambridge as a research fellow of St John's College and a Royal Society Locke Research Fellow. He was appointed to a lectureship in pharmacology soon afterwards, and then to a Lister Institute Research Fellowship. He was appointed Professor in Cellular Pharmacology in 2001. Colin has served on various editorial boards, and committees of funding agencies and societies. He is a member of Academia Europaea.

Dr Emily Taylor

Lab manager and research scientist

Emily read biological sciences at the University of East Anglia and completed her PhD in plant pathology at Nottingham University. After postdoctoral work in Brazil, she held senior scientific posts in molecular plant pathology at the National Institute of Agricultural Botany in Cambridge. Emily joined us in 2002 as our lab manager. She has specific skills in molecular biology, immunomethods and high-throughput analyses of Ca2+ signalling. Her present research is concerned with interactions between Ca2+ and cAMP signalling in human vascular smooth muscle. Emily is supported by the Wellcome Trust and BBSRC.



Philippa Dale

Graduate student, Pembroke College

Philippa studied Natural Sciences at Cambridge, specializing in  Pharmacology in her final year. After a year as a research assistant working on protein expression in insect cells, she started her graduate studies. Collaborating with Novartis, she is examining interactions between Ca2+ and cAMP signalling in human bronchial airway smooth muscle cells. Philippa is supported by a BBSRC CASE award.


mike K.

Mike Keebler

Graduate student, St John's College

Mike studied neuroscience and genetics at the University of Minnesota before beginning his PhD in 2011. His focus is on the kinetics of IP3 receptor binding and the spatial organization of hierarchical Ca2+ signalling. Mike is supported by the Cambridge Overseas Trust and the Wellcome Trust.

 Vera Konieczny

Graduate student, King's College

After undergraduate studies at the University of Marburg and an internship supported by ERASMUS, Vera began her graduate studies in 2011. She is working on signalling from cell-surface receptors to IP3 receptors and developing methods to explore functionally reconstituted  IP3 receptors. Vera is supported by the BBSRC and the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD).


 Abha Meena

Graduate student, Lucy Cavendish College

Abha is on leave from her position as a staff scientist at the Central Institute of Medicinal and Aromatic Plants, Lucknow, India. She is working on the mechanisms linking parathyroid hormone receptors to Ca2+ signals. Abha is supported, in part, by the Cambridge Commonwealth Trusts.



Dave Pole

Dr David Prole

Postdoctoral research fellow

David read pharmacology at Cambridge, before completing a PhD on K+ channels at Bristol University and postdoctoral work with Gary Yellen at Harvard. He joined the lab in 2006 and was appointed a Meres Research Associate of St Johns's College in 2007. David applies optical imaging methods to examine the roles of dynamic organelles in Ca2+ signalling, and bioinformatics methods to explore the relationships between ion channels. David is supported by the Wellcome Trust.



Dr Ana Rossi

Postdoctoral research fellow and fellow of Queens' College

After undergraduate studies in Argentina, Ana completed her PhD in 2007 and was appointed to a junior research fellowship at Queens' College. Ana has worked on various aspects of IP3 receptor behaviour, including the characterization of novel partial agonists and defining the structural determinants of ligand binding to IP3 receptors. Her present interests are in quantal Ca2+ release and the roles of IP3 receptors in migration of glioma cells. Ana supervises for Queens' College. She is supported by the BBSRC.


Babu Thillaiappan

Babu Thillaiappan

Graduate student, St Edmund’s College

Babu trained as a pharmacist in Bangalore and then held posts in industry and as a lecturer at Sri Sharada College of Nursing before completing an MSc at the University of Oxford. He joined the lab in 2013 to study roles of IP3 receptor mobility in the genesis of intracellular Ca2+ signals. Babu is supported by a Cambridge International Scholarship.



Dr Steve Tovey

Postdoctoral research fellow

Steve completed his first degree and PhD at Birmingham University before postdoctoral work at the Babraham Institute. He spent a year in our lab in 2001, before further postdoctoral work with Gary Willars at Leicester. He returned to the lab in 2004. Steve oversees optical imaging techniques within the lab. His current interests are in imaging dynamic organelles and structure-activity relationships of IP3 receptors. Steve is supported by the Wellcome Trust.



Recent lab members

Dr Cris Lopez

Cris trained as a pharmacist in Spain. She completed her PhD in 2013 on the contribution of lysosomes to cytosolic Ca2+ signalling. She is now a postdoctoral fellow in Spain.

Dr Alap Chavda

Alap joined the lab after a BSc in biochemistry from the University of Leicester. He worked on developing methods to examine the behaviour of the N-terminal of IP3 receptors. He developed an optical method to quantify low-affinity interactions between proteins and used TALENs to tag endogenous IP3 receptors with fluorescent proteins. He led a team that won the BBSRC Biotechnology Young Entrepreneurs Competition in 2013. He returned to India after his PhD to pursue a career in biotechnology.

Kathryn Shelley

Kathryn spent a few months in the lab working on protein phosphorylation evoked by cAMP in human aortic smooth muscle. She returned to the University of Oxford to read biochemistry in 2013.

Dr Nadia Shah

Nadia studied pharmacology at Manchester University before completing her PhD there on differentiation of pancreatic β cells. After postdoctoral work at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, she joined the lab to work on the role of ryanodine receptors in glucose-regulated insulin secretion from β cells. Nadia was supported by the MRC.

Dr Taufiq Rahman

Taufiq completed his PhD on nuclear patch-clamping of IP3 receptors in 2007, and was then appointed a research fellow at Pembroke College. Taufiq was awarded the Early Career Research Award of the Biochemical Society in 2010. He is now a Royal Society University Research Fellow in the Department of Pharmacology, Cambridge.

Dr Saroj Velamakanni

After working on multidrug transport proteins, Saroj joined the lab to work on the structure of IP3 receptors. By characterizing chimeric IP3/ryanodine receptor proteins he contributed to demonstrating that these two major families of intracellular Ca2+ channels are build to a common plan. He left the lab in 2102 to join Fahy Gurteen Laboratories as a senior research scientist.

Dr Eva Pantazaka

Eva received her BSc and MSc in chemistry from Patras University in Greece before joining the lab as a PhD student. She was awarded her PhD in 2008 for work examining the mobility of IP3 receptors. She stayed on as a postdoctoral fellow, and then as a visiting scientist, to work on interactions between Ca2+ and cAMP in human aortic smooth muscle cells. She left the lab to join the Department of Pharmacy at the University of Patras in 2013.

Dr Samir Khan

Samir explored the interactions of the N-terminal regions of IP3 receptor subtypes with ligands and the effects of sulphydryl modifications. He was awarded his PhD in 2011 and then moved to Heptares as a research scientist.

Sumita Chakraborty

Sumita spent a few months in the lab during her PhD studies at NCBS in Bangalore, working with Professor Gaiti Hasan. She worked on patch-clamp recording of nuclear IP3 receptors before returning to complete her PhD in Bangalore.

Kevin Thurley

Kevin is a mathematician, who spent a few months during his PhD with Martin Falcke, working on experimental analyses of receptor-evoked Ca2+ spikes. He returned to Berlin to complete his PhD.

Dr Sriram Govindan

Sriram worked on P2Y receptors and Ca2+ signalling in vascular smooth muscle. He was awarded his PhD in 2010. He moved to Novartis when he was awarded a presidential post-doctoral research fellowship.

Dr Zhao Ding

Zhao developed fluorescence polarization methods for analyses of ligand interactions with IP3 receptors. He was awarded his PhD in 2009 and moved to work in a Chinese biotechnology company.

Dr Yi Sun

Yi worked on the interactions of proteins with the N-terminal region of the IP3 receptor. He was awarded his PhD in 2008, and then moved to the Wellcome Trust Sanger Centre.

Dr Francis Wolfram

Francis studied in Germany before joining us for her PhD, for which she produced a low-resolution structure of recombinant type 1 IP3 receptor using single-particle EM analysis. Francis left for a postdoctoral position at the hospital for sick kids in Toronto.

Dr Didier Damaegd

After completing bachelors and masters degrees in bio-engineering at the Université Catholique de Louvain, Didier completed his PhD at the same university working on a Ca2+/H+ uniporter in yeast. He will join the lab early in 2014 to explore the role of lysosomes in Ca2+ signalling. He is supported by a World Excellence award from Wallonie-Bruxelles International.

Aga Karas

Aga studied pharmacology at King’s College London before joining the lab in 2013 as a graduate student. She will be exploring mechanisms of ATP transport. Aga is supported by Fitzwilliam College and the Wellcome Trust.

Huma Saleem

Huma studied chemistry in Lahore College, Pakistan before beginning her graduate studies in 2010. She works on ligand interactions with IP3 receptor subtypes. Huma is supported by the Jameel Family Trust.

Luke Brezovec

Luke is visiting from Penn State University, where he is completing a BSc in biochemistry and BA in integrative arts. He is working on type 2 IP3 receptors and the proteins associated with them.

Current collaborators


Prof.B. PotterProfessor Barry Potter

For more than twenty years, we have collaborated with Barry Potter at the University of Bath and his team of medicinal chemists. Our work together has both refined our understanding of ligand recognition by IP3 receptors and provided many valuable tools.


Professor Prof. Mitsu Ikura Mitsu Ikura

Mitsu holds the Canadian Research Chair in Structural Biology at the University of Toronto. He and his team are experts in the application of NMR and X-ray crystallography to structural analyses of biological macromolecules, with particular interests in Ca2+ signalling proteins. Our work together has provided high-resolution structures of the regions of the IP3 receptor to which IP3 binds.


Prof. Jim Ames   

Professor Jim Ames

Jim is Professor of Chemistry at the University of California, Davis. He is an expert in NMR, with interests in Ca2+-binding proteins. Our collaborative work with Jim and Mitsu has contributed to unravelling the interactions between neuronal a Ca2+-binding protein, CaBP1, and IP3 receptors.


Dr Martin FalckeDr Martin Falcke

Martin, with whom we have collaborated for more than ten years, is head of Mathematical Cell Physiology at the Max Delbrück Centrre for Molecular Medicine in Berlin. His team are experts in applying mathematical methods to stochastic processes. Our work together has contributed to understanding how Ca2+ signals that differ widely between cells and which include random behaviour can nevertheless reliably encode information as it passes from cell-surface receptors to cellular responses.


Prof. Geoff SmithProfessor Geoff Smith

Geoff is head of the Department of Pathology, Cambridge, a Wellcome Trust Principal Research Fellow, and an expert in poxviruses. Our recent work together has contributed to understanding how Golgi anti-apoptotic protein (GAAP), a protein that Geoff's group first found in vaccinia virus, influences Ca2+ signalling and migration in mammalian cells.