Our Team

Margherita Yayoi Turco

GROUP LEADER

Margherita received her degree in Veterinary Biotechnology at the University of Bologna (Italy), where she did her thesis on cannabinoid signalling in pre-implantation embryos. She then did her PhD in Molecular Medicine at the European Institute of Oncology and the University of Milano (Italy) where she characterised the role of SHC adaptor molecules in the differentiation of mouse embryonic stem cells towards neural lineages. During this time she developed an interest in the mechanisms governing cell identity and differentiation of the early lineages during development. She then joined the Centre for Trophoblast Research at the University of Cambridge as a postdoctoral fellow under the joint supervision of Prof. Graham Burton, Dr. Myriam Hemberger and Prof. Ashley Moffett and was awarded the Intra-European Marie-Curie fellowship to establish and characterize trophoblast stem cells from the human placenta. She has developed both trophoblast and endometrial 3D culture systems (organoids) to model the fetal-maternal interface.  She is now a Royal Society Dorothy Hodgkin Research Fellow at the University of Cambridge.

Lucy Gardner

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LAB MANAGER

Lucy received her degree in Applied Biology at the University of Hertfordshire. She has spent 30 years at the Department of Pathology working first with Professor Charlie Loke and then Professor Ashley Moffett. 

Megan Sheridan

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POST-DOC

Megan completed her PhD in Biochemistry at the University of Missouri under the supervision of Dr. R. Michael Roberts. Her work focused on the utilization of embryonic stem cells as a model for trophoblast differentiation. Her research explored the use of this stem cell-derived trophoblast model to study oxygen sensitivity in early onset preeclampsia and trophoblast vulnerability to zika virus infections.

 

Megan joined the laboratories of Prof. Ashely Moffett and Dr. Margherita Y. Turco in 2018 as a Post Doc to continue her interests in trophoblast development and disease modeling.

Vicente Perez-Garcia

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POST-DOC

Vicen did his PhD in Molecular Biology at the National Centre for Biotechnology (Madrid, Spain) focusing on phosphatidylinositol 3-kinases (PI3K) and cancer signalling. Then, he moved to Cambridge to do his postdoctoral training under the supervision of Prof Myriam Hemberger at The Babraham Institute working on placenta development and epigenetics. From the very beginning, he was fascinated by the trophoblast invasion capacity and its similarities with metastatic cells. In 2018, Vicen was awarded a CTR Next Generation Fellowship and joined the Turco lab to investigate the common molecular mechanisms shared between trophoblast and cancer cells.

Lama Alzamil

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PhD STUDENT

Lama received her BSc in Clinical Laboratory Sciences from King Saud University in Riyadh. The degree involved 1-year internship rotating in different clinical labs, which she completed at King Faisal Specialist hospital in Riyadh. She then continued perusing her MSc in molecular virology and viral pathogenesis at Imperial College London.

The origin of cervical cancer has been the subject of speculation. One challenge facing scientist is the lack of physiologically relevant experimental models in the field. We aim in this project to establish a 3D tissue culture system based on the organoid technology.

Ridma Fernando

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RESEARCH ASSISTANT

Ridma received her BSc in Biomedical Science from The University of Lincoln where she completed various modules in human cell biology, anatomy and biochemistry. She then moved to the University of Nottingham to complete her MSc in Stem Cell Technology, honing her skills in cell, development and molecular biology as well as gaining experience working with both pluripotent and adult stem cells. Ridma joined the Turco Lab after 2 years of experience working with induced pluripotent stem cells and their differentiation into both mesoderm and endoderm lineages.

Ritu Rani

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RESEARCH ASSISTANT

Ritu completed her MSc in Biochemistry at Delhi University in India. She acquired various biological and biochemistry skills which involve mammalian tissue culture, DNA and RNA analyses, protein expression and purification, Co-IP, SDS-PAGE and image analysis while working in a pharmaceutical company. She is working as a research assistant at the Turco lab and she is helping the team by processing primary human tissue and performing other duties that support research.

Konstantina Nikolakopoulou

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PhD STUDENT

Konstantina received her BSc degree in Biochemistry and Biotechnology at the University of Thessaly in Greece. She then continued with a one-year Erasmus internship in the Netherlands (Nijmegen) studying the immunological environment of the uterus during pregnancy. She remained in the Netherlands where she completed her MSc degree in Molecular Mechanisms of Disease at Radboud University. She initially joined the Turco Lab for her master’s thesis and kept working as a research assistant aiming to investigate the mechanism by which endometrial cells proliferate and differentiate using the endometrial organoids. Now she is a PhD student supported by the Centre for Trophoblast Research (Cambridge, UK) and the Bodossaki Foundation (Greece). Her main interest in unravelling the mechanisms of regeneration in the human endometrium. 

Alumni

 

Yassen Abbas, Post-doc (2018-2020), currently bioengineer at CN Bio Innovations, Cambridge U.K.