Dr Cathy Tournier BSc, MSc, PhD

Senior Lecturer

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Cells in every organism can process external signals thanks to clever systems that enable the information encoded by the signals to be transmitted inside the cell. These systems, also known as pathways, allow healthy cells to communicate with each other and to respond to changes in their environment. Consequently, diseases can occur when these networks are disrupted or inappropriately stimulated. For example, we have identified a pathway that causes cancer cells to grow and divide in an uncontrolled manner, forming a tumour. We have also found that a similar pathway is responsible for instructing brain cells to die. The importance of this finding is highlighted by the fact that excessive loss of brain cells is associated with neurological disorders characteristic of age-related degenerative diseases or associated with brain injury. Based on these initials findings my laboratory is interested in understanding how pathways transmit specific information within the cells, so that strategies to repair networks of signal transduction can be developed to treat diseases.


I was a post graduate student in the Laboratory of Research on the Thyroid Gland and Hormonal Regulation, directed by Professor Claude Jacquemin, University of Paris XI Orsay, France. My studies were focused on the regulation of mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) signalling pathways in primary cultures of rat astrocytes. Following the award of my PhD in 1996, I became a post-doctoral fellow in the laboratory of Professor Roger J Davis (University of Massachusetts, USA) where I discovered the power of combining molecular biology with mouse genetics to demonstrate the biological importance of mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) signalling pathways. My major contribution in Roger's lab was the genetic demonstration that mitochondria are influenced by pro-apoptotic signal transduction through the c-Jun N-terminal protein kinase (JNK) subfamily of MAPK. In July 2000, I was appointed as a lecturer in the Faculty of Life Sciences at the University of Manchester. I became a senior lecturer in 2012.


1990: Bachelor (Licence) in Biochemistry, University of Montpellier, France

1991: Master (Maitrise) in Biochemistry, University of Montpellier, France

1996: PhD in Endocrinology and Cellular and Molecular Interactions, University of Paris XI, France

Memberships of committees and professional bodies

 I am a member of the scientific committee of Worldwide Cancer Research (formerly AICR).

Further information

10/92-01/96: Scholarship from the "Ministère de l'Enseignement Supérieur et de la Recherche" (French Department of Education and Research)

02/96-01/97: Post-doctoral fellowship from the "Association pour la Recherche contre le Cancer" (ARC).

02/97-01/98: Post-doctoral fellowship from the "Institut National de la Santé et de la Recherche Médicale".

02/98-06/00: Research associate of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute.

10/01-09/06: Senior Research Fellowship from the Lister institute of Preventive Medicine

Research Beacons, Institutes and Platforms

Sustainable Development Goals

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