The plasma membrane that envelops each mammalian cell plays a crucial role in detecting signals for growth or in taking nutrients into the cell. At the same time, the plasma membrane protects the cell against unwanted invaders. Many human disease conditions, including cancer and muscular dystrophy, are caused by dysfunction of the plasma membrane.

Our current research analyses the organisation, dynamics, and functions of this crucial structure – with a particular focus on surface domains termed caveolae, that are linked to signal transduction, endocytosis, and lipid regulation, to understand their role in healthy cells and their aberrant function in disease.

We use a wide range of techniques, including advanced 3D electron microscopy and real-time light microscopy together with animal models of human disease to gain insights into plasma membrane dynamics and domain organisation.

Traineeships, honours and PhD projects include

  • Zebrafish as a model to understand human muscle diseases
  • Structure and function of a new family of caveolar coat proteins
  • Novel pathways of endocytosis in cultured cells and in tissues
  • Bioengineering of novel nanovesicles for drug delivery.

Project members

Group Leader

Professor Robert Parton

Acting Division Head & Group Leader, Cell Biology and Molecular Medicine Division
Professorial Research Fellow
Institute for Molecular Bioscience