About us


An interdisciplinary research centre embedded within the Faculty of Biology, Medicine and Health at The University of Manchester.

Research Themes

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

For everyone


Friday 30 September saw a take-over of the Manchester Museum for European Researchers Night. The Grencis & Thornton Labs (Eamon Dubiassi, Maya Glover, Gareth Hughes) hosted a brilliant interactive stand all about their research on mucus and the microbiome. Jade Whittingham-Dowd gave a talk on mucus in the Lightening Talks in The Study whilst Rebecca Shears and Dave Thornton entertained and inspired the public in the Science Bar.  Read more

Our discoveries

Our core facilities

Our public engagement activities

Our research

Our publications

Latest News

Centre members in the press:  Charles Streuli’s paper in Developmental Cell (citation below) This article achieved a high Altmetric score of 274 - this is the 2nd top score in Dev Cell ever, and it is in the top 5% of bioscience papers ever recorded by Altmetric. It also featured in a Developmental Cell preview (Dev Cell. 38, 450-451), there has been a New Scientist article about the paper, and it has been in 24 different news stories in the public press (e.g. Independent, Metro, Mirror) Read more

Upcoming events


Get close to patterns in art and nature, as you discuss how living things respond to the world around them with artists and scientists. You can also create your own colourful works to take home; and consider what makes us human. Plus, take part in drop-in printmaking activities inspired by bio images. Read more

Latest Discoveries


We have discovered that the catalytic activity of TSG-6 is dependent on the presence of a calcium ion within its CUB domain; a chelating amino acid (E183) mediates the formation of a covalent complex between TSG-6 and heavy chains, which act as intermediates in the process. This transferase activity of TSG-6 was shown to be essential for cumulus matrix formation by analysing whether particular TSG-6 mutants (with differential activities) could rescue expansion of matrix around oocytes from TSG-6 Read more


We have shown that cancer cell migration and invasion deep into 3-dimensional extracellular matrix and in vivo is driven by the remodelling of actin into spike-like bundles of filopodial actin, rather than waves of dendritic actin which make up lamellipodia (as observed in 2D). This is determined by Rab11 vesicles, and its effector Rab-coupling protein, which carry integrins and growth factor receptors to provide a local signal to switch from Rac-Arp2/3 mediated polymerization of a branched Read more