Prior to COVID lock-down, Emily Neil, the post-graduate student undertaking the PhD that EHERCC are funding, reported that she had determined differences in cell cycle progression between endothelial cell populations that express TAZ-CAMTA1 or not using flow cytometry. She had started generating samples of 4 endothelial cell populations to send for RNA sequencing; TAZ-CAMTA1 high, TAZ-CAMTA1 low, TAZ-CAMTA1 negative, and non-induced cells. Unfortunately, this was interrupted in March when the University of Manchester campus was closed due to the coronavirus pandemic, leaving her unable to access the laboratory. They returned to the lab in July, but social distancing guidelines have resulted in limited laboratory access and core facilities essential to her research running a reduced service.
Since returning, she has begun the final two experiments needed to generate samples for RNA sequencing. Having completed this stage, the cells were then harvested and sorted into the populations mentioned above. The aim is to have this completed and the samples sent off to be sequenced before the end of October. Furthermore, Emily is beginning to investigate a role for mechanical stimuli, such as extracellular matrix stiffness and cell density, in regulating TAZ-CAMTA1 activity in endothelial cells. TAZ is widely reported to be regulated by various mechanical stimuli, via Hippo pathway dependent and independent mechanisms, and therefore this could also be relevant to TAZ-CAMTA1 regulation.
We are delighted to see this important project back up and running and wish Emily Neil, the post-grad student undertaking the work, all success going forward.