Photo of Dr Kevin Hamill

Dr Kevin Hamill PhD

Lecturer Eye and Vision Science

    Research

    How does the cellular microenvironment influence cell behaviour?

    human epidermal keratonocytes stained with antibodies against actinin-4 (green), laminin-332 (red), and f-actin labelled with phalloidin (blue)
    human epidermal keratonocytes stained with antibodies against actinin-4 (green), laminin-332 (red), and f-actin labelled with phalloidin (blue)

    Research in the Hamill lab is broadly focused on understanding how the behaviour of cells is controlled through interaction with their local environment (microenvironment).
    Generally, this work is at the protein-protein, signalling pathway and cellular phenotype level and is therefore applicable to a wide range of situations. Indeed, one of our key interests is asking how the specific microenvironmental features of tissue context, developmental stages and disease states influence the way the cells respond.

    Specific questions that are currently being investigated;
    1) Understanding the role of laminin network assembly status as a regulator of corneal homeostasis, epidermal wound repair, cancer stem cell maintenance and angiogenesis
    2) Dissecting the role of LaNt proteins in regulating laminin network assembly and outside in signalling
    3) Investigation the contribution to LaNt proteins to squamous cell carcinoma development, invasion and metastasis
    4) Post-transcriptional regulation of laminin production

    Our approaches span from histological examination of whole tissue, through genetic analysis, -omics, minigene constructs, to cell and molecular biology approaches including live cell imaging and live fluorescent protein imaging in two, three and four dimensions.

    Read more about projects in the Hamill lab here as well as seeing images and videos from our work.Hamill lab web pages

    Sunscreen application and UV protection

    A panel of UV images of eyelid regions, before (left) or after sunscreen application (middle). Right hand column is the same person who has applied sunscreen after receiving public health information
    A panel of UV images of eyelid regions, before (left) or after sunscreen application (middle). Right hand column is the same person who has applied sunscreen after receiving public health information

    Our discovery science work in the lab has led us to a deep interest in how skin cancers develop and spread. Working with our clinical collaborator Austin McCormick, an oculoplastics surgeon who specialises in eyelid tumours, we have begun to investigate behavioural aspects that contribute to disproportionately high incidence of cancers in the eyelid.

    Using a specially modified camera that only responds to ultraviolet light we have investigated if common issues occur in routine sunscreen application in order to inform the public of potential dangers. Ongoing work is looking into make up formulations and longevity of coverage.

    This work is also run as public engagement events, for example at the world museum, where we run the "sunscreen challenge" inviting children and adults to see how effective their sunscreen usage really is.

    This work has received some press attention;Telegraph Story Story on University of Liverpool website

    read about our public engagement events on the lab blog;Sunscreen challenge blog post

    Research Grants

    • Super-resolution imaging of laminin deposition and organisation
    • Unravelling the molecular mechanism of CCN2 in glaucoma
    • 2014 allocation - Wellcome ISSF non clinical fellowships
    • Characterisation of LaNt roles in basement membrane formation in wound repair and angiogenesis
    • Dissecting the Role LaNts and their Receptors in Epidermal Wound Healing and Squamous Cell Carcinoma
    • Development of enhanced techniques for limbal stem cell culture via LaNt mediated modification of ex vivo substrates.