Institute for Cell and Molecular Biosciences

Staff Profile

Dr Timothy Cheek

Reader in Cell Signalling


PhD VACANCIES – we are always open to informal enquiries from prospective PhD students, whether Home/EU or non-EU. Please feel free to email me if you are interested (


Postgraduate supervision


Natalie Bell, BBSRC DTG Studentship (MRes/PhD)

Magomet Aushev, non-EU (MRes/PhD)

Claire Whitworth, Randerson Foundation Studentship (MRes/PhD)


Roles and Responsibilities

Postgraduate Tutor, ICaMB




BSc (Hons), Sheffield City Polytechnic (CNAA) 1984

PhD, University of Liverpool 1987


Previous Positions


Royal Society University Research Fellow, University of Cambridge 1992-96

Junior Research Fellow, Churchill College, Cambridge 1993-96

Visiting Associate Professor, INSERM U.274 Physiologie et Pharmacologie Cellulaire, Orsay, France 1995

Official Fellow, Girton College, Cambridge 1996-98



Research Interests

The mechanisms and functions of intracellular Ca2+ signals. Specifically the role of Ca2+ signals in electrically excitable (neuronal) cell types.

Current work

Ca2+ signalling in neuronal development

Neurones in the brain are the result of differentiation of neuronal stem cells during development. One of the goals in modern neurobiology is to understand the molecular mechanisms controlling neuronal differentiation, as the ability to produce neurones in vitro will have enormous implications for treatment of neurological disorders and age-related neurodegenerative diseases. Stimulus-induced changes in the concentration of intracellular fee Ca2+ underlie many aspects of neuronal cell function, including differentiation, and Ca2+ signalling dysfunction has been implicated in a number neurological diseases and disorders.

Our group discovered that the switch from proliferation to differentiation in human neuroblastoma cells is accompanied by a switch in two key Ca2+ signalling pathways; one pathway (store-operated Ca2+ entry) becomes down-regulated, while there is a functional upregulation of a non-store-operated pathway.

We are using a combination of molecular, biochemical and cellular techniques to understand the molecular mechanisms that coordinate the switch in Ca2+ signalling pathways and to unravel the role that the switch plays in driving and maintaining the differentiation response.


Research in our laboratory is funded by the MRC, the BBSRC and the Wellcome Trust.



BSc (Hons) - Stage 1, Stage 2, Stage 3

BDS - Stage 1

MBBS - Stage 1, Stage 2

Accelerated MBBS - Stage 1



Postgraduate Tutor, ICaMB