About us


An interdisciplinary research centre embedded within the Faculty of Life Sciences at The University of Manchester.

Research Themes

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Vision: To determine the mechanisms underpinning how cell-matrix interactions control normal tissue formation and function, and how their disruption causes disease. 

For everyone


Team Mucus (aka members of the Thornton lab) showcased their research at this year’s coveted European Researchers Night event, Science Uncovered, this year hosted by the Manchester Museum. The event took place between 6pm and 10pm on Friday 25th September and saw hundreds of people visit the Museum after hours for music, drinks and to explore current research from across the North West. Read more

Our discoveries

Our core facilities

Our public engagement activities

Our research

Our publications

Latest News

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Get Connected 5:  Qing-Jun Meng, Marghe Scarcia, Helen Williams and Nan Yang did a fantastic job of organising this year’s Get Connected conference. It was a great success with lots of exciting and novel talks and discussion. Congratulations to Elena Valdambrini for winning the poster prize for her poster, "How do the interactions of TSG-6 with BMPs and RANKL contribute to its protective effects in cartilage and bone?" and to Hamish Gilbert for his runner up poster "Response to dynamic strain in Read more

Upcoming events

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"Coordinating genome segregation with cell division"      Current research - outline: The dynamic shape of an animal cell is determined by the interplay of intra- and extracellular forces. In the lab we explore the molecular, cellular and physical processes involved using interdisciplinary approaches including molecular biology, genetics, high-content RNA interference (RNAi) screening, live cell imaging, automated image analysis, microfabrication, biophysical techniques and computational Read more

Latest Discoveries


Neutrophils play an essential role in the inflammatory response to injury/infection, but their destructive potential requires that their migration from the vasculature into tissues is tightly regulated to avoid unwanted damage. The chemokine CXCL8, which is produced in response to pro-inflammatory stimuli, interacts with glycosaminoglycans (GAGs) such as heparan sulphate (HS) on the vascular endothelium to form a ‘haptotactic’ gradient that guides neutrophil recruitment. The Read more


Fibrillin microfibrils are essential elements of dynamic connective tissues, that are often found at epithelial-mesenchymal interfaces such as the dermal-epithelial junction. Deposition of microfibrils by mesenchymal cells is fibronectin-dependent; much less is known about their deposition by epithelial cells. Read more