Twelvetrees Lab

The Team


Ali Twelvetrees

In 2017 I moved to Sheffield University and the Sheffield Institute for Translational Neuroscience as a Vice Chancellor’s Fellow, where I am now establishing my own independent research group. Prior to this, as a post-doc I worked on the coordination of microtubule-dependent motors during axonal transport with Prof Erika Holzbaur at the University of Pennsylvania and Prof Giampietro Schiavo at the UCL Institute of Neurology. I obtained my PhD under the supervision of Prof Josef Kittler in the department of Neuroscience, Physiology and Pharmacology at University College London (UCL) whilst studying the molecular mechanisms of gamma-aminobutyric acid type A receptor (GABA-A receptor) transport by kinesin in neurons.

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2017 - present, Vice Chancellor’s Fellow, Sheffield Institute for Translational Neuroscience, University of Sheffield, Sheffield, UK

2011 - 2017, Sir Henry Wellcome Postdoctoral Fellow, University of Pennsylvania, Cancer Research UK London Research Institute & UCL Institute of Neurology

2010 - 2011, Postdoctoral Research Scientist, Dept of Neuroscience, Physiology & Pharmacology, University College London

2005 - 2010, PhD in Molecular Neurobiology, Dept of Neuroscience, Physiology & Pharmacology, University College London

2001 - 2005, MSci Hons (1st Class) in Biochemistry, Imperial College London

Evie Smith, PhD student

In July 2018 I graduated from an integrated MChem in Chemistry with Biological and Medicinal Chemistry from the University of Sheffield. My Masters' project looked at developing a drug screening assay to find protein interaction inhibitors between amyloid-beta oligomers and cellular prion protein for the potential use in Alzheimer's disease. In October 2018 I began studying for a PhD under the supervision of Dr. Alison Twelvetrees at the Sheffield Institute for Translational Neuroscience at the Univeristy of Sheffield. My PhD focuses on kinesin-1 activation in response to cargo binding. 

I grew up in Cornwall taking part in the traditional pastime of playing in a brass band. I have been lucky enough to play at the Royal Albert Hall twice; once during my time in the National Youth Brass Band of Great Britain.

Ashleigh Davey, MBiolSci student

I came to the University of Sheffield in 2015 to study Biochemistry and Genetics in the Molecular Biology and Biotechnology department. I am currently in my fourth year of an MBiolSci integrated masters for which I decided to join the Twelvetrees lab. I enjoyed the neuroscience we'd covered in my degree and I was eager to learn more while also experiencing working in a research lab. My extended laboratory project will look use microfluidic devices to study neurodegeneration.


Emma Seddon, MSc Translational Neuroscience

I graduated from Edge Hill University in 2018 from a BSc Psychology Degree. During my degree, I became more interested in the neuroscience aspects of Psychology, learning about neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's really enhanced my interest and eagerness to learn more. Because of this I decided to use Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation as part of my undergraduate degree dissertation, investigating the role of the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex on working memory. This experience led me to apply for a master's degree in Translational Neuroscience. My project within the Twelvetrees lab is looking to understand the role of microtubule dynamics in the homeostasis of axonal transport.

Emma Turner, MSc Translational Neuroscience


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Alumni 2018


Dominic Bingham, MSc Translational Neuroscience

I was raised in Manchester before I studied for my undergraduate BSc Biology at Sheffield Hallam University. After realising I wanted to pursue a career in academic research I switched over to the University of Sheffield to study for an MSc Translational Neuroscience. Neuroscience is something I’ve always been interested in so it was a logical next step from my bachelors. For my MSc research project I developed new methods to understand the activation of kinesin-1 in response to cargo binding.

In October 2018 Dom joined the NeuroCyto Lab in Marseille for his PhD research.


Michelle Moore, MSc Molecular Medicine

I decided to go to university as a mature student after working in the telecoms industry for 7 years and then working in care for the elderly for 2 years. Working with people who suffered from diseases associated with aging inspired me to pursue a research career studying neurodegeneration. I obtained my BSc in Biomedical Science at the University of Sheffield, where I became interested in the molecular aspects of disease and specialised in cellular and molecular biology in my third year. From there, I went on to study for an MSc in Molecular Medicine at the University of Sheffield. I wrote my MSc thesis on the role that microtubule dynamics play in neurodegenerative diseases.



Harriet Pratley, SURE student

I grew up in Birmingham, then came to Sheffield for University in 2016. I am currently studying for a MBiolSci degree in Biochemistry at the University of Sheffield. I would love to pursue a career in research, so I applied for the Sheffield Undergraduate Research Experience scheme in the Twelvetrees lab. As well as giving me the opportunity to study neuroscience practically, this gave me a chance to experience what a research career actually entails. I helped to build a molecular tool to visualise microtubules in neurons.

Harriet is currently in the third year of her undergraduate degree.