Current Projects

The Hilary Ashe lab was established in 2002 and is part of the Faculty of Biology, Medicine and Health in the Michael Smith Building, University of Manchester, UK.

The primary research interest of this group is to understand how BMP signalling is regulated and interpreted in the early embryo and the ovary. Continuing from past projects current research is based around:

  1. Gene Expression Dynamics during Embryogenesis
  2. Extracellular Regulation of BMPs
  3. Germline Stem Cell Maintenance in the Germarium

If you are looking for Job Opportunities please contact Hilary for more information.

Gene Expression Dynamics during Embryogenesis



Lauren Forbes Beadle: Transcriptional dynamics underlying development

Transcription is not a static process and occurs dynamically throughout development. Using a combination of techniques including RNAseq, live imaging using the MS2/MCP system and smFISH the dynamic expression of genes is uncovered during important biological processes such as zygotic genome activation in the Drosophila embryo. By using this data in combination with computational modelling we aim to understand how processes such as transcriptional delays and mRNA degradation contribute to development. In addition we are making a number of tools to enable us to study transcription of a wide variety of genes by utilising the MiMIC insertion system.


JLJennifer Love: mRNA Degradation and Regulation during Development

This project is part of the wider lab research goal of understanding how genetic information is decoded to specify cell fates during development. In particular, this work focuses on how mRNA degradation is regulated and the impact of stability on developmental outcomes. We investigate this in collaboration with the Rattray and Griffiths-Jones labs using a combined theoretical and experimental approach including machine learning methods, Drosophila genome engineering and state of the art imaging techniques.


DaisyDaisy Vinter – Translation Regulation during Development

The translation of mRNAs can be regulated to modulate the output of protein, impacting cell fate. My project aims to develop and use new imaging techniques to visualize the translation output on single mRNAs. Using these techniques, we can identify mRNAs which undergo translational regulation, investigate how sequence elements in the mRNAs control translation, and assess how translation impacts on the protein output of noisily expressed mRNAs caused by dynamic transcription. 


Extracellular Regulation of BMPs



Sophie Frampton: Structure and Function of Sog in the Early Embryo

My project focuses on the role of the extracellular protein Short Gastrulation (Sog) in the regulation of BMP signalling during Drosophila embryo dorsal ventral axis patterning. I work in collaboration with the Baldock lab to use structural biology techniques, including cryo-EM, in combination with molecular and developmental biology methodologies to investigate Sog function in vitro and in vivo.




Gareth Moore: Structure and Function of Tsg

I work on the extracellular regulation of BMP signalling, focusing on the interactions of the protein Twisted Gastrulation (Tsg) with other regulators of BMP signalling. In collaboration with the Baldock Lab I aim to characterise structures of Tsg in complex with BMP antagonists and then relate these to in vivo function, within the context of the shuttling model..


Germline Stem Cell Maintenance in the Germarium


CSCatherine Sutcliffe: Cellular projections in the Germarium

My role is to provide technical support to the lab, assisting in various research projects and managing the day to day running of the lab. I am also continuing with the project to characterise cellular projections in the Drosophila ovary. This focuses on how Germline Stem Cells (GSCs) use actin-based projections to access the source of Dpp in the niche and how this is regulated to achieve the required levels of Dpp signalling for GSC maintenance.