BBSRC SABR NF-κB project

Key Results

Positive feedback and cell communication (Denise Bakstad, Claire Harper, Pawel Paszek)

RelA phosphorylation and complex formation (Francesco Lanucara, Kate Sillitoe and James Boyd)

Quantitative proteomics (Deborah Simpson, Sheila Ryan and Claire Harper)

The non-canonical pathway (Sheila Ryan, Damon Daniels and Pawel Paszek, with contributed data from Deborah Simpson (proteomics) and Louise Ashall & Boris Noyvert (genomics))

Single molecule model and dynamic equilibria in cells (Kate Sillitoe, Dave Spiller, Pawel Paszek and James Boyd)

Gene expression analysis (Louise Ashall, Boris Noyvert, Damon Daniels and Will Rowe)

Transcriptional control at individual loci (Antony. Adamson and Claire Harper)

Cross–talk between NF-κB and other systems (John Ankers and Raheela Awais, Claire Harper, Louise Ashall, Sheila Ryan and Pawel Paszek)


As one of the UK’s main public funder of life science research, the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) put forward £26 million of new funding for a systems approach to biological research (SABR).

Six new projects, involving thirteen universities and institutes across the UK, were selected to harness and develop systems biology to look at important basic biological science questions. The key aims of such projects included the support of high quality systems biology projects that further established systems biology research in UK universities and research institutes. The projects all encourage cross-disciplinary interactions between the biosciences, physical sciences, mathematical/ computational sciences and engineering.

Why NF-κB as model system?

Nuclear Factor-κB (NF-κB) is present in virtually all cell types. There is a large range of biological factors and environmental conditions including pathogens, stress and injury that can activate the NF-κB pathway, which in turn will induce a large number of target genes. These genes are involved in the regulation of multiple biological processes including inflammation, development, cell survival and apoptosis, cell growth, cellular transformation, to neuronal differentiation. Because of this, NF-κB is still the subject of extensive research focused on understanding the regulation of this complex signalling pathway.

The SABR NF-κB project network

The project was a multi-disciplinary collaboration between 3 UK Universities: Manchester, Liverpool and Warwick. Current staff include:


Past Events:

  • SABR final meeting 20 April 2014 at Museum of Science and Industry, Manchester.
  • Hosting 2013 UK and Eire NF-κB Annual Meeting, 23 – 25th April 2013, Liverpool University & Ness Gardens.
  • BBSRC SABR Joint Project (NF-κB & ROBuST projects) Symposium and Microscopy Training Week: 15 – 20th June 2008, Liverpool University.
  • NF-κB Training Week: 6-10th July 2009, Liverpool University.
  • NF-κB Training Week: 6-10th September 2010, Liverpool University & Ness Gardens
  • Systems Microscopy Centre Opening Symposium & SABR AwayDay: 23-24 April 2012, Manchester University

Based in Manchester:

  • James Boyd (PhD Student and Postdoc)
  • Mr Damon Daniels (PhD student)
  • Dr Claire Harper (Postdoc)
  • Prof Dean Jackson (PI)
  • Dr Connie Lam
  • Dr Mark Muldoon (paternity leave)
  • Dr Pawel Paszek (Postdoc and then Research Fellow)
  • Dr Will Rowe (Postdoc)
  • Dr Dave Spiller (Senior Experimental Officer)
  • Prof Mike White (Lead PI)

Based in Liverpool:

  • Dr Rachel Bearon (PI)
  • Prof Rob Beynon (PI)
  • Karen Dunn (PhD Student)
  • Dr Claire Eyers (PI)
  • Mrs Kate Goodheart (Project Manager)
  • Dr Francesco Lanucara
  • Prof Chris Sanderson (PI)
  • Dr Violaine See (PI)

Based in Warwick:

  • Prof Till Bretschneider (PI)
  • Dr Barbel Finkenstadt (PI)
  • Dr Sascha Ott (PI)
  • Prof David Rand (PI)
  • Dr Dan Woodcock

Past staff in the network:

  • Dr Louise Ashall
  • Dr Raheela Awais
  • Dr Denise Bakstad
  • Dr Marco Marcello
  • Dr Boris Noyvert
  • Dr Sheila Ryan
  • Dr Kate Sillitoe
  • Dr Deborah Simpson
  • Dr Simon West


The project has benefited from generous sponsorship from Carl Zeiss Ltd, Hamamatsu Photonics UK Ltd and Newport Spectra-Physics Ltd towards the provision of a number of symposiums during the course of the project.

harnessing systems biology to look at important biological questions