I studied my BSc (Hons) at the University of Manchester and followed those studies with a MSc (by research) at the University of Lancaster, where I studied proteins involved in Dementia with Lewy bodies and Parkinson’s disease. Since then for the past 9 years I have been employed in the Research and Development team at Abcam, based in Cambridge, UK. Through my employer I have been given this amazing opportunity to undertake a PhD in the AMA lab, entering a new field and gaining invaluable skills and experiences.
My current area of research focuses on primordial germ cells (PGCs), which are the precursors to the germ cells and gametes (sex cells) of an organism. These cells are unipotent, however express many pluripotency proteins as well as suppressing somatic genes, and as gametes possess the ability upon fertilisation to become totipotent (form all the cells of the embryo and extraembryonic tissues). This quality among others make these a unique and interesting cell type to study. Unfortunately, they have been difficult to study as they are first specified at the post-implantation stage of development, reducing accessibility. Furthermore, they begin as a very small population of cells, making it difficult and unethical to study in assays which require large amounts of material. Using mouse gastruloids we leverage the many benefits of this technology (accessibility, scalability, etc) to study these intriguing cells whilst simultaneously gaining greater understanding of the capacity of this system.
You can find me on LinkedIn at: https://www.linkedin.com/in/chris-cooke-57ba2378/ or see the Contact page.