Professor Rob Parton studies cells - the building blocks of life. His unique methodology uses electron microscopy to create 3D models of cells, which he then explores interactively with virtual reality.

As a cell biologist, Professor Parton has always been fascinated by the cell and captivated by the beauty that visualising a cell through microscopy reveals. He is the only researcher using this technique. Following his degree in Scotland and PhD in England, he went on to participate in fundamental science at The European Molecular Biology Laboratory in Heidelberg, Germany. It was a pivotal chapter in his career.

He is best known for understanding how the plasma membrane of cells works, and particularly the crater-like indents in the cell membrane called Caveolae. By revealing how the cell structure works, and most importantly what goes wrong in disease, Professor Parton is identifying the drug targets of the future. The range of techniques that he uses, working at the cellular level right through to using animals in cell biology, sets his research apart.

Professor Parton is Chief Editor of Traffic and Associate Editor for Molecular Biology of the Cell. He is a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Science.



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Researcher biography

Our research focuses on the cell surface and, in particular, on the structure and function of caveolae. Caveolae are small pits in the plasma membrane which have been linked to tumour formation and muscular dystrophy. We are investigating the role of caveolae in cell physiology and their exploitation by pathogens.

Professor Robert Parton is group leader for Cell Surface in Health and Disease research at the IMB.

Featured projects Duration
The cell surface in health and disease