I joined the University of Glasgow in 2007 after being awarded a PhD in Mathematics and Natural Sciences by the University of Leiden, The Netherlands. Since then I have held a position as Post-doctoral Research Associate in the Molecular Pharmacology group led by Professor Graeme Milligan at the Institute of Molecular, Cell and Systems Biology. Here I have focused my research on investigating several facets of the pharmacology of G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs), from their molecular structural arrangements at the plasma membrane to their roles and relevance in disease.
The molecular organisation of GPCRs at the plasma membrane into dimers or higher order oligomers is a contested area of research in the receptor pharmacology field. I dedicated part of my research efforts to elucidating aspects of the oligomeric organisation of the acetylcholine muscarinic receptors using cutting-edge technologies such as single cell FRET, and time-resolved FRET based on SNAP and CLIP tagged receptors.
Most recently the main focus of my investigations has been the pharmacology and biology of a free-fatty acid receptor (GPR120) thought to play a crucial role in glucose homeostasis, insulin regulation and inflammatory processes related to metabolic syndrome, obesity and type 2 diabetes. Through collaborations with Dr Ashely Miller (ICAMS, University of Glasgow) and Professor Andrew Tobin (MRC Unit, University of Leicester) we hope to better define the interactions of this receptor and others with small regulatory molecules in a physiological context. This should contribute not only to a better understanding of the biology and pharmacology of the receptor but also to the development of more efficacious drugs to treat the aforementioned diseases.