Reader in Molecular Lymphopoiesis, Institute of Cancer Sciences, University of Glasgow.
Alison has attained highly competitive and prestigious personal and grant research funding including a post-doctoral fellowship from Cancer Research Institute (USA; while at the University of Toronto, Canada) and an MRC Career Development Award (UK; University of Glasgow). She has significant research experience, having achieved publications in high impact peer-reviewed journals, initially investigating the molecular events that regulate lymphocyte lineage commitment and development, utilising in vitro and in vivo mouse models. During the course of her studies investigating the role of PKC in early lymphocyte development, Alison established that subversion of PKC signalling acts as an oncogenic trigger in B lymphocytes, resulting in the development of chronic lymphocytic leukaemia (CLL) in vitro and in vivo. This finding resulted in a change in focus for her research group from lymphocyte development towards translational CLL research and in 2005, Alison established the Molecular Lymphopoiesis group within Institute of Cancer Sciences at the University of Glasgow.
The main focus of Alison’s research group is to determine the cellular and molecular mechanisms that underlie the initiation and progression of CLL, with a view to identifying novel targets for therapeutic intervention: the CLL-like mouse model offers great potential for translational research, resembling a model of progressive CLL. To complement this work, her group has established in vitro culture systems to replicate the pro-survival and pro-proliferative signals present in CLL patient lymph node (LN) microenvironment to assess the utility of targeted therapies for CLL. Combining these powerful experimental approaches provide a cohesive translational platform to enable full in vitro and in vivo characterisation of novel targets/therapies, delineating the microenvironmental signals that regulate survival/chemoresistance mechanisms that contribute towards CLL progression.