Yvonne Jones is Director of the Cancer Research UK Receptor Structure Research Group which is focused on the structural biology of extracellular recognition and signalling complexes. The core technique is protein crystallography, but the group aims to integrate high resolution structural information with correlative light and electron microscopy, as well as cell-based functional studies, to probe molecular mechanisms at the cell surface.
The group's research addresses fundamental questions about cell-cell signalling systems of importance to human health. How are signalling assemblies arranged? Which features are necessary for normal signal transduction into the cell? What mechanisms trigger dysfunctional signalling? The work ties into an extensive network of interdisciplinary local and international collaborations with the ultimate aim of learning how to manipulate these signalling systems for the design of new clinical therapies. Current projects within the group focus on signalling systems of importance in developmental biology. These include systems involved in cell guidance (e.g. semaphorin/plexin and ephrin/Eph signalling), cell adhesion (e.g. the role of RPTPmu mediated adhesion at adherens junctions and of proteoglycan-RPTPsigma interactions in neuronal cell outgrowth). The group also has an active programme of work on the mechanisms controlling signalling by the Wnt family of morphogens.