Fundraising for my Funders!

Welcome to my first “LaNt and laminins” blog post!

I have been a member of Kevin’s team now for nearly 4 years. It all started during my MRes degree when I managed to survive two projects in the Hamill lab, although this was mostly down to the help of Valentina (Iorio). During this time I was introduced to the laminin family, and never looked back! (insert disclaimer here)

My work through my PhD years has been primarily around determining the function of the LaNts in skin cells. LaNts are basically small forms of laminins which we think evolved in order to further diversify the laminin protein family. These evolutionary events are common, and usually the ways in which higher organisms (like ourselves) have become more and more complex.

My project has specifically involved manipulating isolated skin cells in vitro, so that they either make no LaNt or too much LaNt, and then assessing what happens to key cellular functions such as; metabolism, proliferation, and migration etc…

Recently, we took this a bit further and started to look at the expression (and role) of LaNt in squamous cell carcinoma, and to our amazement we have found it is massively up-regulated in most patients samples we have screened. What this means in terms of how those cancer cells are able to uncontrollably divide and metastasize is unknown (for now), but do we hypothesize that the LaNts play a role in allowing them to “breach” through their surrounding matrix to invade and spread through the surrounding tissue.

I am currently planning experiments to test this hypothesis now, and will begin to gather data which helps us reveal what is happening soon!

As this is the first post I’ve written, I thought I’d better make it an important one!

charity-bsf-logoThe BSF are a fantastic charity that provide support for researchers like myself to try and dissect the mechanisms which allow horrible conditions such as eczema and psoriasis, and diseases such as cancer, to thrive. This kind of fundamental biology or “basic science” research is absolutely key to developing new therapeutic drugs and treatments for such conditions, and without charities like the BSF we wouldn’t have the medicines and treatments we do today.

Over the last 2 years I have taken on several personal challenges to try and raise money for the BSF…

What challenges? 

Picture 2

What are they?

They are basically long distance races with many, many muddy and challenging obstacles throughout. We are talking; high walls, barbed wire, river crossings, mud filled pits, monkey bars, fiery pits, electric wires, and my least favourite the ice plunge!

Total Warrior Pic 1
The “Ice Plunge”, my least favourite obstacle!

Last year I ran the Total Warrior Cumbria in August and Tough Mudder in September, raising around £500!

This year I want to try and raise that total to £1,000, by running Total Warrior Leeds (June just gone) and Cumbria in August. 

Visit to Donate now! 😀

Picture 3
Done, washed (mostly), time for a beer!
Thanks for reading,



  1. Well Done Lee!
    Groundbreaking research findings coupled with very challenging fundraising for British Skin Foundation which sounds like an endurance test to us. We hope you sent BSF the photos for publicity use as patients, supporters and fundraisers will all be inspired and encouraged by your heroic efforts.
    Wishing you Health, Wealth and a future filled with wonderful new discoveries and new experiences.,
    Susan and Brian Hamill


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