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Department of Zoology



2010-2013 Junior Research Fellowship: Three year post as a member of the Senior Common Room at Worcester College, University of Oxford.

2008-2010 Marie Curie Incoming International Fellowship: Fellowship for postdoctoral research at the University of Oxford.

2002-2008 Princeton University: Doctor of Philosophy, Department of Molecular Biology, Advisor: Prof. Elizabeth R. Gavis.

1998-2002 Washington University in St. Louis: Bachelor of Science, Major: Biology, Minors: Drama, Legal Studies, Pre Medical Studies. 


Changes in protein expression underlie cell activity. One way to control protein levels is through post-transcriptional regulation of mRNAs, which can be localised to sub-cellular domains. This conserved mechanism for the spatial regulation of gene expression enables cells to target protein function in space and time and is especially relevant in the patterning of embryonic axes, formation of neuronal networks and movement of cells. Failure to control localised translation is implicated in a number of human diseases, including Fragile X Syndrome, schizophrenia, spinal muscular atrophy and cancer.

Localised translation is especially crucial at times when cells transition from one fate or function to another. Egg activation in many animals is one such transition and in part involves a wave of increased intracellular calcium, reorganisation of the cytoskeleton and release from cell cycle arrest. 

To understand how the fundamental processes of localised translation and egg activation are achieved, we use Drosophila as a model system since imaging, biochemistry and genetic approaches can be readily combined to examine molecular mechanisms. Drosophila research has identified thousands of genes with human homologues and has provided key insights into developmental pathways, oncology, neurobiology and immunology. Our use of the egg chamber and early embryo has the added experimental benefits of: being an in vivo developing system; allowing for a controllable switch at egg activation; ease of physical manipulation; and providing ample material for experimentation. 


Key publications: 

Derrick C. J. & Weil T. T.* Translational control of gurken mRNA in Drosophila development. Cell Cycle, Vol. 16 , Iss 1, 23-32 (2017).

Davidson A., Parton R.M., Rabouille C., Weil T.T.*, Davis I.*: Localized Translation of gurken/TGF-α mRNA during Axis Specification Is Controlled by Access to Orb/CPEB on Processing Bodies. Cell Reports; 14(10):2451-62. Mar 15 (2016). 

York-Andersen A.H., Parton R.M., Bi C.J., Bromley C.L., Davis I., Weil T.T.: A single and rapid calcium wave at egg activation in Drosophila. Biology Open; 4(4):553-60. Mar. (2015). 

Weil T. T., Parton R. M., Herpers B., Soetaert J., Veenendaal T., Xanthakis D., Dobbie I., Halstead J. M., Hayashi R., Rabouille C., Davis I.: Drosophila patterning is established by differential association of mRNA with P bodies. Nat Cell Biol.; 14(12) 1305-13 Dec. (2012).

Weil T. T., Xanthakis D, Parton R., Dobbie I., Rabouille C., Gavis E. R., Davis I.: Distinguishing direct from indirect roles for bicoid mRNA localization factors. Development; 137: 169-76. Jan. (2010).

Weil T. T., Parton R. M., Davis I., Gavis E. R: Changes in bicoid mRNA anchoring highlight conserved mechanisms during the oocyte-to-embryo transition. Curr Biol.;18: 1055-61. Jul. (2008).

Weil T. T., Forrest K., Gavis E. R.: Localization of bicoid mRNA in late oocytes is maintained by continual active transport. Dev Cell; 11: 251-262. Aug. (2006). 


Other publications: 

Weil T.T.: Post-transcriptional regulation of early embryogenesis. F1000 Prime Rep.; 7:31. Mar. (2015).

Weil T.T.: mRNA localization in the Drosophila germline. RNA Biol.; 11(8)1010-8. Aug. (2014).

Parton R.M., Davidson A., Davis I., Weil T.T.: Subcellular mRNA localisation at a glance. J Cell Sci.; 27(10) 2127-33. May (2014). 

Weil T. T., Parton R. M., Davis I.: Preparing individual Drosophila egg chambers for live imaging. J Vis Exp.; (60) Feb. (2012).

Weil T. T., Parton R. and Davis I.: Making the message clear: visualizing mRNA localization. Trends Cell Biol.; 20(7): 380-90 Jul. (2010).



Senior Lecturer

Contact Details

Room B31
01223 (7)65391 or 01223 (3)36631
Accepting applications for PhD students.