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Department of Zoology



Research is on the structure and function of intercellular junctions, especially in the tissues of arthropods and urochordates. Particular attention has been paid to the intramembranous assembly of these as visualised in freeze-fracture replicas. Tight and gap junctions, as well as septate junctions, (this last type unique to the invertebrates) have been analysed in this way and the lateral migration of junctional IMPs (intramembranous particles) into functional macular plaques or linear arrays has been observed and documented. Deep-etching investigations are clarifying the mechanisms of the underlying cytoskeletal attachments to junctional membrane components. This research is in collaboration with Italian colleagues as is that on the embryonic development of ascidian neural ganglion gland.

Studies have also been made of cultured endothelial cells isolated from rat brain microvasculature in collaboration with physiologists at King's College London, with special concern for junctional contacts.

Working with the National Institute of Ageing at the NIH in Bethesda, studies have been carried out on trisomic murine systems and cultured cells which serve as models of Alzheimer's Disease (AD). Studies also took place on the effects of B-amyloid, the protein which helps form the plaques which characteristic of the AD brain.

Activities centring on encoraging more women to become scientists have continued as has raising public awareness of science with the British Science Association.

Current and recent positions

  1. Director, WiSETI initiative from 1999 to 2007
    Consultative Director, WiSETI initiative from 2007
  2. Chair, Athena Project, Royal Society
  3. Partner UK resource centre for women
  4. Council member, Biosciences Federation
  5. Immediate Past President, IoB,
  6. Chair, Editorial Committee of People and Science, journal of the British Science Association


Key publications: 
  • Lane, N.J. 2001. Tight junctions in invertebrates. Chapter 3 In: Tight Junctions. (Second edition) Eds. M Cereijido and J. Anderson. pp 39-59. CRC Press, New York.
  • Lane, N.J., Manni, L., Burighel, P., Zariolo, G. 2001. Ascidian brain originates from the neural gland primordium. Proceedings of the 14th International Congress of Comparative Endocrinologists. Sorrento, Italy, 26-30 May, Eds. Goos, Rastogi, Vavory, Pierantoni, 239-244.
  • Manni, L., Lane, N.J., Burighel, P. and Zaniolo, G. 2001. Are neural crest and placodes exclusive to vertebrates? Evol. Dev. 3:5, 297-298.
  • Zaniolo, G., Lane, N.J. Burighel, P. and Manni, L. 2002. Development of the motor nervous system in ascidians. Journal Comparative Neurology, 443, 124-135.
  • Manni, L., Lane, N.J., Zaniolo, G. and Burighel, P., 2002. Cell reorganization during epithelial fusion and perforation: the case of ascidian branchial fissures. Developmental Dynamics, 224, 303-313.
  • Burighel, P., Lane, N.J., Fabio, G., Stefano, T., Zaniolo, G., Carnevali, M. D-C. and Manni, L. 2003. Novel, secondary sensory cell organ in Ascidians. In search of the ancestor of the vertebrate lateral line. J. Comp. Neurol., 461, 236-249.
  • Manni, L., Lane, N.J., Joly, J-S., Gasparini, F., Tiozzo, S., Caicci, F., Zaniolo, G and Burighel, Pl. 2004. Neurogenic and Non Neurogenic Placodes in Ascidians. J. Exp. Zool. (Mol. Dev. Evol), 302B, 483-504.
Zoology Research Fellow

Contact Details

Austin Building, Room S4
01223 (3)36609