Photo of Dr Mark Morgan

Dr Mark Morgan Ph.D

Principal Investigator / Senior Lecturer Molecular Physiology & Cell Signalling

Research

MICROENVIRONMENTAL SENSATION AND REGULATION IN CANCER

How do cells interpret, influence, and respond to their extracellular environment in cancer? Our major, inter-connected, research questions are:
1) How are adhesion and growth factor receptor signalling networks integrated in tumour and stromal cells?
2) How are adhesion and growth factor receptor dynamics spatially and temporally co-ordinated?
3) How does the co-ordination of adhesion and growth factor receptor signalling and function regulate cancer progression?
- i) Tumour cell invasion and metastasis
- ii) Tumour-stromal interactions
- iii) The tumour microenvironment

Lay Abstract
Metastasis, the process by which a tumour spreads, is the most devastating feature of cancer. A variety of processes contribute to metastasis, including the ability of tumour cells to crawl and invade through tissue and the formation of a blood supply to feed the tumour and provide an escape route for the cells.These processes are directly regulated by molecules, on the cell surface, which control the way cells sense and respond to their surrounding environment: adhesion and growth factor receptors. These receptors therefore are attractive targets for cancer therapy. However, drugs that target them have had very variable results in the clinic. One reason for this is that these molecules don't just work in isolation but actually communicate with one-another to control when they each are stimulated. So, for example, a drug targeting one of the adhesion receptors can actually stimulate a growth factor receptor and make cancer worse.To develop new strategies to combat cancer, it is essential that we know exactly how these different receptors talk to one-another. We are using a range of advanced proteomics and imaging techniques to identify exactly how the receptors communicate with each other and how this controls tumour invasion.Ultimately, this knowledge will help us identify new drug targets and treatment strategies

Research Grants

Sensing tension: Bidirectional feedback mechanisms controlling breast cancer invasion

NORTH WEST CANCER RESEARCH INCORPORATING CLATTERBRIDGE CANCER RESEARCH (UK)

April 2020 - May 2024

Lonza 4D-Nucleofector Advanced Platform with X-Unit, Y-Unit and 96-Well Shuttle modules

NORTH WEST CANCER RESEARCH INCORPORATING CLATTERBRIDGE CANCER RESEARCH (UK)

March 2019 - September 2019

Translating discovery science: DUBs that regulate centrosome clustering, an Achilles' heel of cancer

BREAST CANCER NOW (UK)

October 2019 - September 2023

Wellcome Trust Four-Year PhD Studentship Programme

WELLCOME TRUST (UK)

October 2017 - March 2022

Force in Migration: The Mechanism of Nuclear Force Coupling driven invasive cell migration

MEDICAL RESEARCH COUNCIL

February 2019 - September 2022

Forcing angiogenesis: Transcriptional control by integrin-dependent mechanotransduction during angiogenesis

NORTH WEST CANCER RESEARCH INCORPORATING CLATTERBRIDGE CANCER RESEARCH (UK)

August 2017 - September 2022

Regulation of pro-invasive receptor crosstalk mechanisms in HER2-positive breast cancer

BREAST CANCER NOW (UK)

March 2016 - March 2019

Optimising NK cell cytotoxicity and infiltration of the tumour microenvironment for successful adoptive immunotherapy in cancer

NORTH WEST CANCER RESEARCH INCORPORATING CLATTERBRIDGE CANCER RESEARCH (UK)

September 2015 - September 2018

Wellcome Trust four year PhD studentship with the Cellular and Molecular Physiology Programme

WELLCOME TRUST (UK)

October 2013 - September 2017

Analysis of heterodimer-specific integrin signalling networks and functions

NORTH WEST CANCER RESEARCH INCORPORATING CLATTERBRIDGE CANCER RESEARCH (UK)

July 2014 - July 2017