Matthew Freeman investigates how cells communicate with one another, with an emphasis on how this process controls biological functions such as development. Matthew is also interested in the role that such intercellular communication — or signalling — plays in contributing to ill health in humans, including cancer, inflammatory and metabolic disorders, and infectious diseases.
Using fruit fly, mouse and human cell model systems, he is studying the genetics, cell biology and biochemistry of rhomboid proteins — a family of enzymes that cleave neighbouring proteins within the membranes in which they live. This event triggers cellular communications via the epidermal growth factor receptor pathway, a link confirmed by Matthew.
Matthew has received several awards for his research, including the 2001 EMBO Gold Medal. He was awarded the 2015 Novartis Medal and Prize of the Biochemical Society in recognition of his transformative contributions to the fields of signal transduction and developmental cell biology, amongst others.