School of Medical Sciences


Welcome to the Primary Cilia Laboratory

Primary Cilia Laboratory

Our lab is interested in the role of the primary cilium in mechanically-responsive cells such as chondrocytes and fibroblasts.

Primary cilia are single cytoplasmic organelles found in virtually all eukaryotic cells. They protrude from the cell surface into the extracellular space and are thought to function as chemosensors and/or mechanosensors in several tissues such as the photoreceptors in the eye, odorant receptors in the ear and epithelial cells in the kidney.

Since the discovery that defective primary cilia in kidney cells cause polycystic kidney disease (the most common autosomal dominant disease in humans), primary cilia research has undergone an incredible surge of activity.

  • Our lab is specifically interested in the mechanosensory role of primary cilia in connective tissues such as cartilage and renal fibrosis.
  • We use cells derived from transgenic mice with known ciliary defects to examine the role of the primary cilia-related signalling mechanisms involved in connective tissue remodelling and repair.
  • We also have an interest in the application of microscopical techniques in forensic science, and in the development of 3D kidney animations.
  • Techniques used in the lab include mechanical compression of 3D cultures, live cell imaging, confocal and electron microscopy, and standard molecular based assays.
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The team (left to right): Sarah Kennedy, Taryn Saggese, Cynthia Jensen, Benedict Uy, Sue McGlashan and Lulu Zuo.