Spatial and temporal control of cell adhesion and motility is essential during the development and throughout the lifetime of multi-cellular organisms.
Unfortunately, deregulation of these two fundamental cellular processes frequently occurs during pathological situations such as tumour cell metastasis. Intracellular pathogens also frequently take advantage of the signaling networks and cytoskeleton of their hosts to facilitate their entry, replication, survival and spread.
Investigating exactly how pathogens hijack and subvert their unwilling hosts offers a unique opportunity to obtain mechanistic insights into the regulation and function of a multitude of cellular processes. To this end, we use a combination of quantitative imaging, genetic and biochemical approaches to study Vaccinia virus as a model system to interrogate the regulation and function of Src and Rho GTPase signalling networks, actin and microtubule-based transport as well as cell migration.
Outside the context of Vaccinia infection, we also investigate the cellular function of Tes, a tumour suppressor that negatively regulates Mena-dependent cell migration, Actin related proteins (Arps) as well as the mechanisms regulating the assembly and function of invadopodia.