Short CV/Education and training


  • 1987
    BSc, Chemistry and Biology Majors, Minor Mathematics, Alma College, MI, USA

  • 1993
    PhD, The Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, Supervisor Prof. Thomas D. Pollard

Positions held

  • 1993 – 1995
    Damon Runyon Walter Winchell Cancer Research Postdoctoral Fellow with Rob Kay, MRC-LMB, Cambridge, UK

  • 1995 – 1997
    Damon Runyon Walter Winchell Cancer Research Posdoctoral Fellow with Alan Hall, MRC-LMCB, London, UK

  • 1997 – 1998
    MRC Career Development Fellow with Alan Hall, MRC-LMCB, London

  • 1999 – 2007
    MRC Career Development Fellow and MRC Senior Research Fellow and Professor of Cell Biology, School of Biosciences University of Birmingham, UK

  • 2007 – 2010
    MRC Senior Research Fellow and Professor of Cell Biology, Beatson Institute for Cancer Research, Glasgow, UK

  • Since 2010
    Professor of Cell Biology, Senior Research Group Leader, Beatson Institute for Cancer Research, Glasgow, UK

Selected publications

  • Tang, H., Li A., Bi, J., Veltman, D.M., Zech, T., Spence, H.J., Yu, X., Timpson, P., Insall, R.H., Frame, M.C., Machesky, L.M. Loss of Scar/WAVE complex promotes N-WASP and FAK-dependent invasion. Curr. Biol. 2013 Jan 21;23(2):107-17.

  • Yu, X., Zech, T, McDonald, L., Garcia Gonzalez, E., Li, A., Macpherson, I., Schwarz, J.P., Spence, H., Futo, K., Timpson, P., Nixon, C., Ma, Y., Anton, I.M., Visegrady, B., Insall, R.H., Oien, K., Blyth, K., Norman, J.C., Machesky, L.M. N-WASP coordinates the delivery and F-actin mediated capture of MT1-MMP at invasive pseudopods. J. Cell Biol. Oct 29;199(3):527-44.

  • Li, A., Ma, Y., Jin, M., Mason, S., Mort, R.L., Blyth, K., Larue, L., Sansom, O.J., Machesky, L.M. Activated mutant NRas(Q61K) drives aberrant melanocyte signalling, survival and invasiveness via a Rac1-dependent mechanism. J. Invest. Dermatol. 2012 Nov 132(11):2610-21.

  • Li A, Ma Y, Yu X, Mort RL, Lindsay C, Stevenson D, Strathdee D, Insall RH, Chernoff J, Snapper SB, Jackson IJ, Larue L, Sansom OJ, Machesky L.M. Rac1 drives melanoblast organization during mouse development by orchestrating pseudopod-driven motility and cell cycle progression. Dev Cell. 2011 Oct 18;21(4):722-34.

Selected projects

  • The Rho-family of small GTPases control much of actin assembly leading to changes in cell motility, shape and migration. One of the main controllers of actin assembly in most eukaryotic cells is the Arp2/3 complex and the WASP-family proteins. We are interested in how these proteins control migration, membrane trafficking and architecture of normal and cancer cells. We are testing the idea that these proteins are potential targets against invasion and metastasis using mouse models. We are also continuing to pursue basic molecular mechanisms of cell migration and invasion using a cell biological approach. We are particularly interested in the role of lamellipodia, filopodia and focal adhesions in a 3D or tissue environment.

Membership in scientific bodies/juries

  • American Society for Cell Biology, Member since 1984, Elected member of the Council 2012

  • British Society for Cell Biology

  • MRC College of Experts

  • European Cytoskeleton Forum, board member

  • Pathological Society of Great Britain

  • EMBO, Elected member 2012

Editorial Boards:

  • Developmental Cell, since 2008

  • Journal of Cell Biology, 2000 – 2010

  • Journal of Cell Science, since 2005

  • Traffic, 2005 – 2010

  • Biochemical Journal, 2004 – 2010

  • Science, since 2011

  • Journal of Muscle Research and Cell Motility, since 2011

  • Cytoskeleton, since 2011

Committee Membership and Board of Directors:

  • AICR Grants Board, 2007 – 2011

  • The Wellcome Trust Fellowships Interview Committee, 2009 – 2012

  • Sir Henry Dale Wellcome Trust/Royal Society Fellowships Interviews Committee, since 2012

  • CR-UK Biological Sciences Committee, 2010 – 2012

  • Company of Biologists, Board of Directors, since 2012

  • American Society for Cell Biology, elected to council 2012, since 2012

Media coverage

  • Role of Rac1 in melanoma study from Developmental Cell in 2011 was covered in the Scotsman


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