Lab members

Chris MacDonald (Principal Investigator)

Chris completed his undergraduate degree (Biomedical Science, 2005) and PhD (Molecular and Cellular Biology, 2009) at the University of Glasgow. His PhD work in Nia Bryant's lab was aimed at understanding mechanisms that drive endosomal membrane fusion events. Following graduate school, Chris began his post-doctoral work in Rob Piper’s lab at the University of Iowa (Molecular Physiology & Biophysics, 2010-2017), working on various projects to understand how ubiquitin and E3-ubiquitin ligases mediate lysosomal degradation of membrane proteins. Much of this work was funded through American Heart Association (AHA) Fellowships. Whilst in the Midwest Chris developed a passion for yeast, both in the form of hoppy IPAs and as a model system to study membrane trafficking pathways. Chris returned to the UK in the summer of 2017 to start a lab in the Biology Department at the University of York.


Project: Metabolic control of cell surface membrane proteins.

Hobbies: Spending time outdoors with my wife and kids.

Special skill: Developing conspiracy theories to explain data and other lab related happenings.

Kamilla Laidlaw (Post-doc)

Kamilla website.jpg

Kamilla did her undergraduate training in Biochemistry at the University of Glasgow. During her undergraduate degree Kamilla carried out work at the Paul O’Gorman institute for Heather Jørgensen on the novel NADPH oxidase inhibitor imipramine blue in CML chronic phase cells  (Laidlaw et al. Blood, 2016). She continued on with a PhD at the University of Glasgow working in Gwyn Gould's lab trying to identify a molecular mechanism behind the insulin dependent dispersal of GLUT4 at the plasma membrane. 


Project: Endosomal organisation and mechanisms of cell surface recycling.

Hobbies: Chicken rearing, knitting and sailing.

Special skill: Hiding things on high shelfs and Phusion PCR

Katherine Paine (PhD student)

Katherine did her undergraduate studies at the University of York. During her integrated Master's course Katherine managed to get lab experience in a range of labs, including: working in Nia Bryant’s lab studying the role of Vps45 during apoptosis; working in Darren Goffin’s lab looking at network changes in Rett syndrome; and Sangeeta Chawla’s lab looking at nuclear hormone receptors and circadian rhythms in Drosophila melanogaster. Katherine also completed an undergraduate project in Bob White’s lab looking at the role of the RNA polymerase III repressive Maf1 in Arabidopsis thaliana. Katherine is also interested in outreach and public engagement activities, and runs the lab instagram account.

Project: Folding and trafficking of cell surface membrane proteins 

Hobbies:  Yoga, reading and all things food related. 

Special skill: Sourcing free food at courses / conferences and HDA robotics

Savvas Ioannou (PhD student)

Savvas completed his undergraduate degree (BSc Molecular and Cellular Biology, 2016) and master's degree (MRes Biomedical Sciences, 2017) at the University of Glasgow. During his master's he worked at the Paul O'Gorman institute for Dr Xu Huang  on the characterisation of RUVBL1/2; members of EP400 epigenetic regulatory complex in Acute Myeloid Leukaemia. He continued on working at the Centre of Cellular Microenvironment for Prof Matthew Dalby exploiting the maturation of osteoblasts using a novel mechanical technique termed nanokicking. After his masters he worked for a year with Prof Pat Monaghan at the University of Glasgow on her latest project on Circadian disruption and telomere dynamics. He now started his PhD at the University of York working with Paul Genever on mesenchymal stem cells and also using budding yeast. 


Project: Understanding mechanisms of cargo packaging into multivesicular bodies

Hobbies:  Hiking, running and cooking 

Special skill: All things related to computer software and knowledge of exotic foods

Sarah Lecinski (PhD student)

Sarah did her undergraduate studies at the University Paris Descartes in health sciences. During her master at the University Paris Diderot she worked at the Institute of Genetics and Molecular Medicine at Edinburgh in Nick Hastie’s lab to investigate the role of the transcription factor WT1 during heart development. She continued working for her master project at Prof.Raffaele Mezzenga’s lab, at the institute of Food, nutrition and health in Zurich, studying amyloids and the fundamental process of aggregation.


In 2018, Sarah joined the lab of Professor Mark Leake to start her graduate studies using biophysical approaches, including single molecule imaging techniques, to study cellular metabolism. Sarah is developing tools in budding yeast to study asymmetric division and the retention of harmful protein aggregates in the mother cell.


Blythe Wright (PhD student)

Blythe completed a BSc in Biomedical Sciences at Northumbria University, during this time she had a placement year with Dr Anna Basu working on the eTIPS (early therapy in perinatal stroke) project and the validation of the Tyneside Pegboard Test. After her BSc she attended Newcastle University and obtained a masters in Cell Signalling in Health and Disease. Her project investigated histone phosphorylation in the cell cycle with Prof. Jonathan Higgins. Prior to moving to York she worked in the dermatology research lab at Newcastle University for Prof Nick Reynolds. 

Project: Mechanistic dissection of interplay between membrane traffic and apoptosis by mutations in the endosomal sorting regulatory protein Vps45.

Special Skill: Knows how to make Kit-Kats and has an excellent eye for detail when looking at scientific posters.