Lab Head: Nick Leslie Institute of Biological Chemistry, Biophysics and Bioengineering

The Inositol Signalling Lab

Past Lab Members



Virginia Alvarez Garcia

Virginia joined the lab in September 2015 as a postdoc, having completed her PhD studying the roles of melatonin in Breast Cancer in the University of Cantabria. Her project is to develop new methods to detect and study tumour DNA in the circultion of cancer patients in collaboration with Maiwenn Kersaudy Kerhoas' microfluidic bioengineering group as well as the clinicians Olga Oikonomidou and Paul Brennan. Virginia has now started a new postdoc working with Val Brunton and Maragret Frame in the Cancer Research UK Edinburgh Centre.


Yasmine Tawil

Having developed a keen interest in life and nature, Yasmine chose to build a career in biology, mastering in regenerative medicine and molecular biology at Utrecht University, in the Netherlands. She joined the Leslie lab in September 2017 as a PhD student to develop 3D bioprinting techniques for modelling GBM. An avid traveller, and lover of animals, especially dogs, she enjoys crafting and drawing in her spare time.

Dinesh Kumar

Dinesh came to Edinburgh in October 2016 as a postdoc, having completed his PhD and first postdoc in Liverpool, studying the tumour microenvironment in Oesophageal Cancer with Andrea Varro and Graham Dochray. He is contining this interest in tumour biology here, developing 3D bioprinting methods to manufacture brain tumour constructs, funded by the Brain Tumour Charity. Dinesh has now moved on and is a Cell Biologist in the Drug Discovery Unit at the University of Dundee.


Helen Wise

Helen started her PostDoc in the lab in August 2015 having studied influenva virology in Edinburgh and Cambridge. Her project was studying the role of PTEN in prostate cancer. Helen left the lab in late 2018 to do clinical research for NHS Tayside and NHS Lothian.


Miguel Hermida 

Miguel joined the lab in September 2014 as a PhD student, having completed his Masters in Molecular Biomedicine at the Universidad Autonoma in Madrid. HIs project is to study cell signalling and tumour cell biology using novel 3D models and involves collaboration with Will Shu's bioengineering group.

Nisha Kriplani

Nisha is from India where she did her Bachelor’s (BSc Biotechnology) from University of Rajasthan and Masters’ (MSc Microbial Gene Technology) from Madurai Kamaraj University. She joined Nick Leslie’s lab in January 2013 as a PhD student developing FRET based reporters for PI3K/PTEN regulated effector proteins. In her spare time she enjoys listening music, travelling and visiting new places, watching movies. She loves wild life camping, cannoeing, white water rafting, Kettlebells and Yoga.

Amit Gupta

Amit joined the group in 2013 as Research Associate, studying PTEN stability and developing one or two other projects addressing the roles of lipid metabolizing enzymes in tumorigenesis. Before HWU, he did postdoctoral research at National Centre for Biological Sciences (NCBS), India and obtained a Ph.D degree in Biotechnology from National Institute of Pharmaceutical Education and Research (NIPER), SAS Nagar, India. His Ph.D work entailed dissecting the signalling pathways involved in pathogenesis of insulin resistance. Apart from research, Amit enjoys travelling and watching movies. In sports he likes cricket. After a couple of good years in HWU, Amit moved to the Institute for Cancer Research in London in 2015 to work with George Poulogiannis.

Thilo Reich

Thilo joined Heriot Watt in September 2013, working in both Rory Duncan's lab and the Signalling lab. Thilo used new antibody technology to super-resolution microscopy and the study of localised signalling in Oesophageal cancer. After graduating with an MPhil, Thilo moved to Bournemouth University, training and working as a Paramedic.

Laura Spinelli

Laura is from Italy and joined Nick Leslie's laboratory in Dundee in 2008 as a PhD student. The main focus of her research was to understand why many PTEN mutations do not disrupt the phosphatase activity of the enzyme, with some of her work addressing inherited PTEN mutations published in the Journal of Medical Genetics at the end of 2014. She did her undergraduate studies at the Faculty of Sciences, "Federico II" in Naples, where she studied Biology. In spare time she  enjoys travelling, discovering new places, listening to music, watching movies, meeting up with friends [and bakes great cakes]. She successfully completed her PhD in 2012 and after moving with the lab to HWU moved onto a further postdoc with Doreen Cantrell in Dundee in October 2014.

Priyanka Tibarewal

Priyanka comes from India where she did her B.Sc in Biotechnology and M.Sc in Microbial Gene Technology. In September 2008 she joined the Inositol Signalling Lab for her PhD with a Dorothy Hodgkin Postgraduate studentship.  During her PhD studies 2008-2012 she worked to understand the role of PTEN's protein phosphatse activity and published much of this work in Science Signaling in 2012. Priyanka was the Chairperson for the PhD association (PiCLS) in the College of Life Sciences at the University of Dundee and was involved in organizing the Inaugural PiCLS PhD symposium in May 2010. She moved to HWU with the lab as a postdoc before moving on to take up a further postdoc in Marcus Muschen's new lab in Cambridge in the summer of 2014.

Giulia Marzano


Giulia joined the lab when we moved to Heriot Watt University in Jan 2013 studying the effects of PTEN both on transcriptional events and on tumours in vivo. She completed her MPhil in the summer of 2014 and moved on to a post in Milan working in clinical trial managment.


Joseph Lim


Joseph Corteza Lim joined the lab in 2008 having completed his medical training in the Phillipines and his PhD in neuropharmacology in the University of Cambridge. Here in Dundee, Joseph was studying the role of PTEN in regulating epithelial architecture. Tragically, Joseph died in February 2010 from colon cancer. He was a remarkable medical scientist and is greatly missed, both professionally and personally


Helene Maccario


Helene is from Marseille and spent her first PostDoc in the Inositol Lipid Signalling Laboratory working on PTEN regulation by phosphorylation and ubiquitination. In early 2010 she moved to Dublin to work with Walter Kolch as part of the Systems Biology Ireland initiative.


Perdita Backes


Perdita completed her PhD at the University of Heidelberg, working with Volker Lohmann. She joined the Inositol Lipid Signalling lab in late 2010 and spent six months studying PTEN ubiquitination before returning to Germany.


George Zilidis


George studied medicine in the 1st Faculty of Medicine of Charles University in Prague, graduating with distinction MD summa cum laude. He did his basic surgical training in Oxford and Cardiff. He is a member of the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh and came to Dundee as a Registrar in Neurosurgery. He joined the lab on a Wellcome Trust Clinical PhD Fellowship to study the molecular mechanisms and signaling pathways controlled by PTEN activity in Glioblastoma. George also has an interest in the use of Photodynamic therapy for brain tumours and in Stereotactic and Functional Neurosurgery and has presented his work in the Annual meeting of the British Stereotactic and Functional Neurosurgery Group, the World Congress of Pain, the American Society for Stereotactic and Functional Neurosurgery meeting, the Society of Academic and Research Surgery meeting and the British Neurosurgery Research Group meeting. For his work on PTEN he received the 2nd prize for his oral presentation 'A novel molecular pathway that drives tumorigenesis and invasion in Glioblastoma points to novel effector candidates for PTEN tumour suppression' at the British Neurosurgery Research Group annual meeting in Winchester in 2010.


Nimmi Weerasinghe


Nimmi Ranjala Weerasinghe obtained a BSc in Biochemistry and Genetics from the University of Sheffield followed by an MSc in Bioinformatics from the University of Manchester. She then came to Dundee in 2008 and joined the lab as a Wellcome Trust 4-year PhD student. For her PhD she is trying to define changes in signalling, gene expression and tissue architecture driven by different components of the PI3K signalling pathway.


Fredrik Berglund


Fredrik is originally from Sweden, where he did his undergraduate degree in Medical Biology at the University of Linköping.  He came to Scotland, and Dundee, to study for a PhD with Prof Paul Clarke (Biomedical Research Institute) working on DNA damage checkpoint regulation.  Moving field a little, he joined Nick’s lab in 2010, working now on PTEN and its involvement in epithelial cell polarity.


Yvonne Lindsay


Yvonne joined the University of Dundee in 1988 and worked in the departments of Physiology, Child Health and Biological Sciences, before joining The Inositol Signalling Lab in 2001.  Since joining the group as Lab Manager/Research Technician Yvonne has gone on to obtain an MSc, studying the redox regulation of PTEN in tumours and the sensitivity of different subcellular pools of PtdIns(3,4,5)P3 to regulation by PTEN. 


See also current lab members.