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Lab Head

Dr John Haynes

Dr John Haynes

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Dr John Haynes is a classically trained pharmacologist with expertise in cellular signalling and the regulation of cell survival and function. Much of his past work has utilised genomic and proteomic approaches, as well as ion imaging, to reveal the roles of protein kinases and ion channels in regulating cell function and survival. The Stem Cell Biology Group works around the basic idea that embryonic stem cells provide an excellent platform for disease modelling, drug discovery and investigations of human cell physiology. To facilitate this current work, John and collaborators have created a number of fluorescent protein/enzyme-tagged reporter cell lines suitable for simple screening and functional assays. The focus of these assays is the identification of new therapeutic targets that minimise neuron death. More recently his team have begun the development of more sophisticated systems employing forebrain and midbrain neuron networks, complete with astrocytes and microglia, to directly explore the impact of inflammation upon neuron function.


I have supervised or co-supervised a number of excellent students during the course of their Doctoral and Masters studies.

Current students

  • Noha Badawy (PhD, Pluripotent stem cell-derived microglial activation is defined by neuronal culture additives: implications for disease modelling, 2023).
  • Horatio Sicilia (PhD, Understanding the role of neuroinflammatory mediators in regulating neuronal function, 2023).
  • Shanti Sibuea (PhD, Directing A9 and A10 differentiation from pluripotent stem cells, 2022).
  • Enubi Kwak (PhD, Deriving human microglia and their interaction with neurons and astrocytes, 2022).

Past graduate students

  • Alita Aguiar (PhD, Stem cell derived neuronal models: A tool for understanding Schizophrenia and for drug discovery, 2021).
  • Adele Quaran (PhD, Role of gangliosides in regulating the activity of glial derived neurotrophic factor, 2021).
  • Teresa Vandekolk (MSc, Characterisation and Functional Biology of Microglia derived in vitro from human embryonic stem cell).
  • Durgesh Tiwari (PhD, Investigating the effect of stem cell based therapy in murine models of Alzheimer’s disease, 2015).
  • Brad Watmuff (PhD, Functional development of mouse and human stem cell derived dopaminergic neurons, 2014).
  • Wendy Rong Zeng (PhD,Neural induction and multipotency in mouse embryonic stem cells, 2014).
  • Benjamin Finnin (PhD, Developing embryonic stem cells derived cardiomyocytes as tools for pharmacology and toxicology, 2014).
  • Cameron Hunt (PhD, Regulating development of mouse embryonic stem cells using small molecules, 2014).
  • Pankaj Gulati (PhD, Influence of the extracellular matrix on the in vitro differentiation of mouse embryonic stem cells into neurons, 2014).
  • Rhys Bellinge (MSc, Generation of Mouse Embryonic Stem Cell Reporter Lines to Identify Developmental Stages during Induction of Dopaminergic Neurons, 2013).
  • Brigham Hartley (PhD, Defining conditions required for the derivation of midbrain dopaminergic neurons from embryonic stem cells, 2013).
  • Angela Xie (PhD, A biological study of growth and development in the mouse prostate, 2013).
  • Colin Su (PhD, Investigating the development of midbrain dopaminergic neurons using mouse embryonic stem cell reporter lines, 2012).
  • Victoria Oliver (PhD, Regulation of intracellular calcium by androgens in stromal cells cultured from the human prostate, 2012).
  • Ebba Louise Lagerqvist (PhD, Functional characterisation of cardiomyocytes derived from mouse and human embryonic stem cells, 2011).
  • Christian Nefzger (PhD, Neural differentiation of murine embryonic stem cells with a focus on serotonergic neuron differentiation, 2009).
  • Simer Khaira (PhD, Characterisation of GABAergic neurons derived from mouse embryonic stem cells, 2009).
  • Anna Cook (PhD, Prostatic stroma cell function: modulation of contractility and viability by cGMP-dependent-protein kinases, 2004).
  • Ashley Preston (PhD, Alpha1-Adrenoceptor responses in human cultured prostatic stromal cells: modulation be adenosine and steroid sex hormones, 2003).