Sharon A. Tooze has a long-standing interest in molecular cell biology, starting with her PhD work at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) in Heidelberg, Germany.
At EMBL she studied transport of a viral glycoprotein from a SARS virus and showed that O-linked glycosylation starts in the ER-Golgi intermediate compartment (Tooze et al., JCB 1988). Afterwards she became interested in organelle biogenesis and in how immature secretory granules form from the trans-Golgi network in neuroendocrine cells (Tooze et al., Cell, 1990, Nature 1990).
Tooze maintained her interest in the biogenesis of secretory granules when she moved to the Imperial Cancer Research Fund, later the Cancer Research UK London Research Institute (and now part of the Francis Crick Institute) and in 2006 developed her interest in autophagy and the biogenesis of autophagosomes.
Her lab has identified several mammalian Atg proteins since 2006 and continues to contribute to understanding of autophagy at the molecular cell biology level.