Dr Hamill completed his doctoral studies as a Wellcome Trust Prize student in the lab of Professor Irwin McLean at the University of Dundee where he focused on identifying the genetic and the molecular mechanisms underlying human genetic disorders with particular emphasis on the wound healing disorder Laryngo-onycho-cutaneous syndrome (McLean et al, HMG 2006). These studies identified not only the mutations responsible for the disease but also uncovered a novel role for the laminin alpha3a subunit in regulating the formation of granulation tissue.
As a direct result of the in-depth in silico analyses of the LAMA3 gene required for this project, KH identified a number of short transcripts derived from the genes encoding laminin subunits, which are now termed LaNts, this study was subsequently to include the molecular characterisation of the LaNts, leading to the first publication on this novel family (Hamill et al JBC 2009)
As a postdoctoral researcher, Dr Hamill joined the lab of Professor Jonathan Jones in the Department of Cell and Molecular Biology at Northwestern University in Chicago. Here, Kevin used molecular and cellular biology approaches to study the regulation of keratinocyte migration. These included the description of a hitherto unidentified role for bullous pemphigoid antigen 1e in regulating Rac recruitment and activity (Hamill et al MBC 2009), characterisation of the role Collagen type XVII plays in regulating lamellipodial stability (Hamill et al JBC 2011), and defining the involvement of actinin-4 in hemidesmosome formation and protein dynamics (Hamill et al FASEB J. 2013, Hamill et al JID 2015). In addition to these cell-matrix interaction studies, Dr Hamill also characterised fundamental compositional difference in the extracellular matrix (ECM) molecules deposited by mouse versus human epidermal keratinocytes and bronchial versus epidermal keratinocyte and defined the relationship between those ECM differences and observed cell migration behaviour patterns (Hamill et al JID 2012, Wu et al Am J Resp Cell Mol Biol 2013)5. KH also was heavily involved in the analysis of laminin alpha3 knockout in mouse (Ulrich et al, JCS 2009) and development of tagged laminins for live cell analysis (Hopkinson et al Matrix Biol 2009).
In the year prior to taking up his current position iUniversity of Liverpool, KH obtained small grant support from the American Cancer Society, a Career Development Award from the Dermatology Foundation and a prestigious National Institutes of Health K99 Pathway to Independence Award. These funding sources enabled further analysis of the LaNt proteins. Kevin joined the institute of Ageing and Chronic disease In Liverpool in June 2013 and the LaNt studies are now continuing with support from the BBSRC, Fight For Sight, British Skin Foundation and an Institute of Ageing and Chronic Disease sponsored PhD studentship.
Dr Hamill is actively involved in the teaching and administration of the MRes in Clinical Sciences as module coordinator of Lab skills module. He also leads the postgraduate student journal club and thesis writing training sessions for the Department of Eye and Vision Science.