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Research groups

Martin Ducker

Postgraduate Student


I study the migration of subventricular zone neuroblasts. Surrounding the lateral ventricle of the mammalian brain is a neurogenic niche that gives rise highly motile cells call neuroblasts. A substantial body of data now supports the hypothesis that these cells migrate to sites of injury and that enhancement of this migration can aid in neuroregeneration.

Using a combination of in vitro techniques we have demonstrated that Insulin Like Growth Factor 1 (IGF1) stimulates the migration of neuroblasts and that this is achieved via the PI3K/Akt pathway. Recently I have developed a technique based on 3D spheroids to study the migration of neuroblasts in a high throughput manner. We have used this to screen ~1000 small molecule kinase inhibitors and have identified several hits that significantly increase and decrease the motility of neuroblasts in vitro. We are now working to confirm the mechanism through which these work with the ultimate goal of optimising these compounds for the treatment on neurological disorders.


I am a final year DPhil Student on the Systems Approaches to Biomedical Sciences DTC programme. I hold an MPhil in Bioscience Enterprise from the University of Cambridge and a BSc in Neuroscience from the University of Sussex and University of California, Los Angeles. In my spare time you'll likely find my out running and cycling (slowly) or pottering about in the garden.