Prof. Gabriel Lord


+44 131 4518196


Heriot-Watt University


EH14 4AS


Prof. Gabriel Lord is a mathematician based in the Mathematics Department which is part of the Maxwell Institute. His general research interests are in the area of applied computational mathematics. One of the areas he is working in is computational neuroscience, examining models across the range of scales : from cellular signalling, models of a single neuron to neural fields.


Spatial Organisation of the Fusion Machinery

The process of membrane fusion is catalysed by the SNARE proteins. This highly conserved protein family mediates the fusion of membrane-bound compartments in all eukaryotic cells. These proteins have been proposed to provide the energy to drive membrane merger in the final steps of membrane fusion. In humans, regulated secretion occurs in highly specialised regions of cells, epitomised by the localised fusion of synaptic vesicles at the active zone of a synapse. We are investigating the spatial organisation of the SNARE fusion machinery from the whole cell to the single molecule level. To examine this we are using advanced optical bio-imaging techniques including the super-resolution PALM technique, which allows the observation of thousands of single proteins at the plasma membrane. By examining the SNAREs and other components of the release machinery (ion channels and accessory proteins) we aim to generate a molecular map of these proteins and uncover the determinants of their spatial organisation.

(In collaboration with Colin Rickman, Rory Duncan and Weiping Lu)