Professor David Stephens - Inaugural Lecture

Professor David Stephens
Professor of Cell Biology
School of Biochemistry

Imaging membrane dynamics: A personal journey through the cell

The lecture took place on Thursday 16 June in E29, School of Medical Sciences, and discussed how and why are cells organized in the way that they are? How does this organization relate to the cells ability to make and export a vast array of essential biomolecules? I shall describe my work applying Bioimaging techniques to the study of mammalian cell biology in health and disease.


Professor Stephens graduated from Royal Holloway University of London with a first class degree in Biochemistry. He became interested in cell biology and membrane trafficking during his PhD at St. George’s Hospital Medical School in London. Following his PhD he joined the lab of George Banting in Biochemistry here in Bristol. His work on membrane trafficking during this time coincided with the beginnings of what is now the Wolfson Bioimaging Facility. This led David to further postdoctoral training as an EMBO Fellow at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory in Heidelberg, Germany, now applying advanced microscopy tools to further explore the transport pathways within cells. His work in Germany with Rainer Pepperkok led to his move back to Bristol as an MRC Fellow in 2001. Following productive periods as a Career Development and then Senior Fellow, David was appointed to a Chair in Cell Biology in the School of Biochemistry.

The goal of David’s work continues to be to understand the basic function of eukaryotic cells using a combination of approaches based around a core of advanced cell imaging. A particular focus of his work is to define not only how but also why mammalian cells are organized in the way that they are.  The ultimate goal of is to define how this intracellular layout underlies normal cellular function, and more importantly dysfunction, in human disease.