London Research Institute
44 Lincoln's Inn Fields
Web: Lab website
About Nic Tapon
Dr Nic Tapon leads a research group at our London Research Institute. He is studying the genes and proteins that control the growth and death of the cells that make up our bodies. A greater understanding of these key processes will highlight ways in which they might go wrong in cancer cells.
Dr Tapon and his team use fruit flies for their research as these tiny creatures are extremely useful for lab studies focusing on how cells behave. Importantly, the genes that control the growth and death of fly cells are almost identical to those found in human cells, making these findings highly relevant to what goes on in the human body.
The researchers are studying three genes, Salvador, Warts and Hippo. Dr Tapon's previous work has shown that if these genes are faulty, fly cells multiply out of control. His team are now investigating how the proteins produced by these genes work together with other components of the cell to control cell division and cell death.
As uncontrolled cell growth is a hallmark of every type of cancer, Dr Tapon's research will greatly improve our understanding of what might go wrong in tumour cells and open up new avenues of investigation into human cancers.
Listen to an interview with Dr Tapon, explaining how tiny fruit flies are providing important clues to cancer: