The power of real-time observations in understanding cellular decision making: Jenkinson Memorial Lecture 2022

In recent years, our understanding of how cells transition from proliferation to differentiation has been transformed by the application of single cell quantitative approaches and live imaging. In my talk, I will combine such approaches with theoretical modeling to show how we can gain a deeper understanding of the decision points that lead to different cell states during vertebrate neural development, taking into consideration heterogeneity and stochasticity. I will focus on the dynamic expression of key transcription factors in real time and at the single cell level, and how they are synthesised in a tissue environment to decipher how fundamental cell-state transitions are controlled.

Nancy Papalopulu did her PhD at the National Institute for Medical Research, UK with Rob Krumlauf on the role and regulation Hox genes, followed by a post-doc at the Salk Institute for Biomedical Research, US with Chris Kintner on Xenopus neural development. She was a Group Leader at the Gurdon Institute, Cambridge, UK, for 10 years and then moved to the University of Manchester in 2006 to take up a Professorship in Developmental Neuroscience. She was a Wellcome Trust Senior Research Fellow for 15 years and is now a Wellcome Trust Investigator. She is an elected member of EMBO, a Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences and has served as the head of Developmental Biology as well as in the Senate and Board of Governors of the University of Manchester. Nancy’s work combines experimentation, in particular quantitative and dynamic imaging, with theoretical modeling to understand how cells make fundamental cell state transitions during the development of the vertebrate central nervous system, using zebrafish and mouse.

A post-lecture drinks reception will be held in the Illy Café (Oxford Martin School).