Living Systems Institute
Living Systems Institute, University of Exeter, Stocker Road, Exeter, EX4 4QD
Megan has a background in physiology and cellular biology. Her research career has mostly focused on the role of alternative splicing in kidney disease, specifically diabetic nephropathy. More recently, she has been focusing on the identification of novel drug targets in cancer. Megan currently works as a Postdoctural Researcher in Dr Benjamin Housden's at the LSI, University of Exeter. Her current research interests are focused on identifying novel drug targets for Neurofirbomatosis type 1 (NF1) using combinatorial screening in a Drosophila NF1 mutant model.
Megan is also currently co-supervisor to two PhD students within Dr Sebastian Oltean's lab, and two MSc students with Dr Housden.
- PhD in Glomerular Physiology and Alternative Splicing (University of Bristol, 2011-2014).
- BSc in Physiology (University of Bristol, 2008-2011).
Megan carried out a BSc degree in Physiology at the University of Bristol (2008-2011), followed by a PhD in Physiology under the supervision of Professor David Bates (currently Nottingham University), Professor Steven Harper (Bristol University) and Dr Sebastian Oltean (currently Exeter University) at the University of Bristol (2011-2014). Her PhD thesis was titled: "Manipulation of VEGF-A splicing repertoire as a potential therapeutic in chronic kidney disease".
In 2015, Megan was awarded a 1-year Junior Fellowship from the Richard Bright VEG Research Trust to continue her research in to the role of VEGF-A splicing in chronic kidney disease, with a focus on diabetic nephropathy. This project was supervised by Dr Oltean at the University of Bristol. From here. Megan continued to work with Dr Oltean as a post-doctoral researcher on BHF and Richard bright VEGF Research Trust funded projects on how VEGF-A splicing can be manipulated to be therapeutically beneficial in diabetic nephropathy.
In 2017, Megan moved to the University of Exeter to work as a Research Fellow, under the supervision of Dr Oltean. At this point, Megan began to establish herself as an independent researcher in her niche area of research: the role of alternative splicing on the development and progression of diabetic nephropathy. She is curently working on a Diabetes UK funded project grant developing pilot data on the role of the apoptosis gene, Bcl-x, splicing in diabetic kidney disease. In 2019, Megan was awarded the Diabetes Centre of Excellence Consumables Award (2 years) to continue her research.
In 2021, Megan began a 3-year MRC-funded Postdoctural research project with Dr Benjamin Housden. Her research focus has shifted slightly to the use of combinatorial screening methods to identify novel drugs for the treatment of Neurofibromatosis type 1 in a Drosophila cell model.
A major goal of Megan's current work is to identify new drugs that can be used either alone or in combination to effectively kill NF1 tumour cells, without causing side effects. To achieve this, we have used a novel approach in which we perform genetic screens in insect cells to identify genes that kill NF1-mutant cells. We then filter the results from these screens using human NF1-mutant cells. By assessing in these two very different systems, we are able to identify the most robust candidate drug targets for further development. By focusing on repurposed drugs, we are able to accelerate the development process in order to provide effective therapies to patients in the shortest time possible.
Megan is currently working on an MRC-funded postdoctural research project awarded to Dr Housden on the identification of novel drug targets for the treatment of NF1 using combinatorial screening in a Drosophila NF1 mutant model.
Publications by category
Publications by year
External Engagement and Impact
Conferences and invited presentations
- The International Splicing Conference 2020, Lisbon, Portugal.
- Poster at the European Diabetic Nephropathy Study Group 2019, Paris, France.
- British Microcirculation Society 2019, Exeter, UK.
- RNA Splicing 2019, Lake District, UK.
- Diabetic Complications 2018, Osaka, Japan.
- The International Splicing Conference 2018, Lisbon, Portugal.
- RNA Splicing 2017, Lake District, UK.
- The International Splicing Conference 2016, Lisbon, Portual.
Supervision / Group
- Monica Lamici Ayine PhD Student
- Kyle Hoggard
- Alex Marsh
- Jinxia Zheng