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Martha Betson
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Natural History Museum
Cromwell Road
London
SW7 5BD

Biography

Employment history

2008-present        

Postdoctoral Research Assistant, Natural History Museum


2002-2007

Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School


Qualifications

2007-2008           

MSc Control of Infectious Diseases, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine

Dissertation: Investigation of the current susceptibility/resistance status of malaria vectors to insecticides used for malaria vector control in The Gambia


2001-2002          

MA Medical Ethics and Law, King's College London

Dissertation: Legal and ethical issues in medical research


1997-2001

PhD Biochemisty, MRC Laboratory for Molecular Cell Biology and University College London

Thesis: Regulation of cell-cell adhesion in keratinocytes: the reciprocal relationship between cadherins and Rho family GTPases. 


1994-1997

BA Hons Natural Sciences, University of Cambridge

Professional Roles

Awards and Scholarships

2004-2005      Department of Defense Prostate Cancer Program Postdoctoral Training Award

1997-2001      MRC PhD Studentship

1996                 Beard Third Year Scholarship, Newnham College, University of Cambridge

1995                 Beard Second Year Scholarship, Newnham College, University of Cambridge


Prizes

2008                 Eldryd Parry prize for best overall performance on MSc in Control of Infectious                           Diseases


Fellowships

Fellow of the Royal Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene

Fieldwork

Fieldwork

Summer 2008     MRC Farafenni, The Gambia

Collection of Anopheles larvae from five different locations across The Gambia (Essau, Farafenni, Mansa Konko, Kuntaur and Basse) to test for resistance to DDT and pyrethroid insecticides.

Gambia fieldwork

Looking for Anopheles larvae in The Gambia.

Research

Research Interests

My background is in molecular cell biology and genetics. Over the past few years I have become interested in international health, in particular the control of tropical infectious diseases. My aim is to use a combined biological and epidemiological approach to gain insights into the transmission dynamics of tropical infectious diseases and how control of such diseases can be improved.

Project

Control of schistosomiasis and molecular epidemiology of Schistosoma mansoni in Ugandan infants and pre-school children

Schistosomiasis (or Bilhazia) is a neglected tropical disease caused by trematode parasitic worms of the genus Schistosoma. Approximately 200 million people are infected worldwide, the vast majority in sub-Saharan Africa. Up to now control of schistosomiaisis has been largely based on mass drug administration of the anthelminthic praziquantel to school-aged childen. However, recent work indicates that infants and preschool children also often show a high prevalence of schistosomiasis infection. We are investigating intestinal schistosomiasis in preschool children and their mothers in villages along the shores of Lakes Victoria and Albert in Uganda with the ultimate goal of improving control of schistosomiasis in these populations.

Supervisor

Dr Russell Stothard

Colleagues

Jose de Sousa-Figueiredo

Claire Standley

Publications

Publications

2008
  • Jiang, W., Betson, M., Mulloy, R., Foster, R., Ligeti, E. and Settleman, J. ( 2008 ) p190A RhoGAP is a glycogen synthase kinase-3-beta substrate required for polarized cell migration. J. Biol. Chem. 283 : 20978-88 . 10.1074/jbc.M802588200
2007
  • Betson, M. and Settleman, J. ( 2007 ) A Rho-binding Protein Kinase C-like activity is required for the function of the PKN kinase in Drosophila development. Genetics 176 : 2201-12 . 10.1534/genetics.107.072967
2006
  • Verdier, V., Johndrow, J.E., Betson, M., Chen, G.C., Hughes, D.A., Parkhurst, S.M. and
    Settleman, J. ( 2006 ) Drosophila Rho-kinase (Drok) is required for tissue morphogenesis in diverse compartments of the egg chamber during oogenesis. Dev. Biol. 297 : 417-32 . 10.1016/j.ydbio.2006.05.016
2005
  • Zhang, J., Betson, M., Erasmus, J., Zeikos, K., Bailly, M., Cramer, L.P. and Braga, V.M. ( 2005 ) Actin at cell-cell junctions is composed of two dynamic and functional populations. J. Cell Sci. 118 : 5549-62 . 10.1242/jcs.02639
2004
  • Braga, V. M. and Betson, M. ( 2004 ) Cell-cell adhesion., In: Rho GTPases . Landes Biosciences : Georgetown, Texas , 115-139 .
  • Song, Y.H., Mirey, G., Betson, M., Haber, D.A. and Settleman, J. ( 2004 ) The Drosophila ATM ortholog, dATM, mediates the response to ionizing radiation and to spontaneous DNA damage during development. Curr. Biol. 14 : 1354-9 . 10.1016/j.cub.2004.06.064
2003
  • Lozano, E., Betson, M. and Braga, V.M.M. ( 2003 ) Tumor progression: Small GTPases and loss of cell-cell adhesion. Bioessays 25 : 452-63 . 10.1002/bies.10262
  • Marie, H., Pratt, S.J., Betson, M., Epple, H., Kittler, J.T., Meek, L., Moss, S.J., Troyanovsky, S., Attwell, D., Longmore, G.D. and Braga, V.M. ( 2003 ) The LIM protein Ajuba is recruited to cadherin-dependent cell junctions through an association with alpha-catenin. J. Biol. Chem. 278 : 1220-8 . 10.1074/jbc.M205391200
2002
  • Betson, M., Lozano, E., Zhang, J. and Braga, V.M. ( 2002 ) Rac activation upon cell-cell contact formation is dependent on signaling from the epidermal growth factor receptor. J. Biol. Chem. 277 : 36962-9 . 10.1074/jbc.M207358200
  • Lampugnani, M. G., Zanetti, A., Breviario, F., Balconi, G., Orsenigo, F., Corada, M.,
    Spagnuolo, R., Betson, M., Braga, V. and Dejana, E ( 2002 ) VE-cadherin regulates endothelial actin activating Rac and increasing membrane association of Tiam. Mol. Biol. Cell 13 : 1175-89 . 10.1091/mbc.01-07-0368
2000
  • Braga, V. M. M., Betson, M., Li, X. and Lamarche-Vane, N. ( 2000 ) Activation of the small GTPase Rac is sufficient to disrupt cadherin-dependent cell-cell adhesion in normal human keratinocytes. Mol. Biol. Cell 11 : 3703-21 . Mol. Biol. Cell