Simon Bullock

Shedding light on microtubule-based cargo transport in vitro and in vivo
Group Leader page

Microtubule-based transport plays a critical role in the distribution and sorting of cellular components and pathogens. The importance of this process is underlined by the discovery that mutations in microtubule motor proteins and their co-factors cause neurodevelopmental and neurodegenerative diseases. The primary goal of the group is to elucidate how microtubule-based cargo trafficking is controlled in time and space. We use a spectrum of techniques, from biochemistry and single molecule microscopy in vitro to visualisation of transport in a living organism, using Drosophila as a model. We have also developed highly efficient CRISPR/Cas genome engineering tools for Drosophila and are applying these to several projects.

The PhD project is likely to focus on one of the following questions: (1) how are dynein and kinesin motors linked to specific cargoes within cells and how is this process regulated; (2) how do multiple motor complexes co-operate on a single cargo; (3) how are specific mRNAs sorted to different locations within neurons and how does this influence the function of the nervous system? The precise project will be decided together with the successful applicant based on their conceptual interests and the methods they wish to learn.

Our group would suit a student who is highly enthusiastic, enjoys working in an interactive environment and is interested in tackling challenging problems with multiple different techniques.

Please see our website for further information.


Port, F. and Bullock, S.L.  (2016)
Expansion of the CRISPR toolbox in an animal with tRNA-flanked Cas9 and Cpf1 gRNAs.
Nature Methods (in press).

Buxbaum, A.R., Haimovich, G. and Singer, R.H. (2015)
In the right place at the right time: visualizing and understanding mRNA localization.
Nat Rev Mol Cell Biol. 16:95-109

Schlager, M.A., Hoang, H.-T., Urnavicius, L., Bullock, S.L. and Carter, A.P. (2014)
In vitro reconstitution of a highly processive recombinant human dynein complex.
EMBO J, 33:1855-1868.

Soundararajan, H.C. and Bullock, S.L. (2014)
The influence of dynein processivity control, MAPs and microtubule ends on directional movement of a localising mRNA.
eLife, 3:e01596.