Dr David Bryant - Epithelial Polarity


Bryant head 012

Our lab focuses on a fundamental, yet largely unanswered question: How is the normal organisation of tissue disrupted to allow cells to form disarrayed tumours?

Cells of many tissues are polarised. That is that cells collectively form configurations tailored to the needs of a tissue. During tumourigenesis this exquisite organisation is lost. Despite the loss of tissue polarity being an obligate event in cancer progression, we know little about this basic process.


bryant model of polarity

We use mini-avatars of tumours ex vivo to understand how cells collectively organise. Our efforts are focused on colorectal and prostate cancers. We take two approaches to unravel the complexity of this process:
1) building new tools to analyse tumour avatars ex vivo, and
2) identifying the signalling processes that drive collective tumour invasion and metastasis. We collaborate extensively for a multi-disciplinary approach to understand tumour metastasis (Sansom, Zanivan, Blyth, Leung, Miller Labs @ CRUK Scotland Institute).

To develop better tools to understand how tumour cells loos polarity, we have developed cutting-edge, high-content microscopy and computational image analysis of tumour spheroids and organoids, live-imaging how normal cells become tumours. Molecularly, we focus on two pathways: phosphoinositide signalling (including the kinases and phosphatases that produce them, and master regulatory of their function: the ARF GTPases ), and the role of the metastasis-promoting sialomucin, Podocalyxin. We are particularly interested in how these participate in metastasis.

Our ultimate aim is to investigate such changes in cell polarity as potential future biomarkers of cancer in patients, and possible targets for future therapeutic interventions.

Cell scientist to watch − David Bryant

Click here to read David's interview with the Journal of Cell Science.

University of Glasgow webpage

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