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Dr Campbell Gourlay

Reader in Cell Biology/Director of Graduate Studies

School of Biosciences


Dr Campbell Gourlay joined the school in November 2006. He is a member of the Kent Fungal Group and the Yeast Molecular Biology Group.

Campbell Gourlay began his career at The John Innes Centre in 1996 where he studied the genetic control of leaf development. Following this he began to work with budding yeast as a model eukaryote in the lab of Kathryn Ayscough, where he investigated the role of actin in the process of endocytosis. During this time he discovered a link between actin, the regulation of mitochondrial function and the control of ageing and apoptosis. This led to his involvement in the emerging field of yeast apoptosis, which has popularised the novel concept that unicellular organisms possess the ability to undergo programmed cell death as an altruistic act for the betterment of a population.

In 2006 he was awarded a five year MRC Career Development Fellowship to establish his own lab within the Kent Fungal Group at the University of Kent where is now a Senior Lecturer in Cell Biology. The Gourlay lab maintains a strong interest in the role that actin plays in the control of homeostatic mechanisms that contribute to healthy ageing. Of particular interest are interactions between actin, mitochondria and signal transduction pathways that are crucial to cellular response to stress. The lab also uses yeast as a model eukaryote to study a number of aspects of cancer biology and the toxicity associated with protein aggregations linked to human disease.

ORCID ID: 0000-0002-2373-6788

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Also view these in the Kent Academic Repository

Rockenfeller, P. and Gourlay, C. (2018). Lipotoxicty in yeast: a focus on plasma membrane signalling and membrane contact sites. FEMS Yeast Research [Online] 18. Available at:
Guaragnella, N. et al. (2018). New perspectives from South-Y-East, not all about death. A report of the 12lnternational Meeting on Yeast Apoptosis in Bari, Italy, May 14th-18th, 2017. Microbial cell [Online] 5:112-115. Available at:
Carmona-Gutierrez, D. et al. (2018). Guidelines and recommendations on yeast cell death nomenclature. Microbial Cell [Online] 5:4-31. Available at:
Rockenfeller, P. et al. (2017). Diacylglycerol triggers Rim101 pathway dependent necrosis in yeast: a model for lipotoxicity. Cell Death and Differentiation [Online]. Available at:
von der Haar, T. et al. (2017). The control of translational accuracy is a determinant of healthy ageing in yeast. Open Biology [Online] 7:160291. Available at:
Pentland, D. et al. (2017). Ras signalling in pathogenic yeasts. Microbial Cell [Online] 5:63-73. Available at:
Saintas, E. et al. (2017). Acquired resistance to oxaliplatin is not directly associated with increased resistance to DNA damage in SK-N-ASrOXALI4000, a newly established oxaliplatin-resistant sub-line of the neuroblastoma cell line SK-N-AS. PLoS ONE [Online] 12:e0172140. Available at:
Tarrant, D. et al. (2016). Inappropriate expression of the translation elongation factor 1A disrupts genome stability and metabolism. Journal of Cell Science [Online] 129:4455-4465. Available at:
Bastow, E. et al. (2016). New links between SOD1 and metabolic dysfunction from a yeast model of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. Journal of cell science [Online] 129:4118-4129. Available at:
Talpaert, M. et al. (2015). Candida Biofilm Formation on Voice Prostheses. Journal of medical microbiology [Online] 64:199-208. Available at:
Jastrzebska, Z. et al. (2015). Mimicking the phosphorylation of Rsp5 in PKA site T761 affects its function and cellular localization. European Journal of Cell Biology [Online] 94:576-588. Available at:
Ayer, A., Gourlay, C. and Dawes, I. (2014). Cellular redox homeostasis, reactive oxygen species and replicative ageing inSaccharomyces cerevisiae. FEMS Yeast Research [Online] 14:60-72. Available at:
Smethurst, D., Dawes, I. and Gourlay, C. (2014). Actin - a biosensor that determines cell fate in yeasts. FEMS Yeast Research [Online] 14:89-95. Available at:
Leadsham, J. et al. (2013). Loss of Cytochrome c Oxidase Promotes RAS-Dependent ROS Production from the ER Resident NADPH Oxidase, Yno1p, in Yeast. Cell Metabolism [Online] 18:279-286. Available at:
Guaragnella, N. et al. (2013). Yeast between life and death: a summary of the Ninth International Meeting on Yeast Apoptosis in Rome, Italy, 17–20 September 2012. Cell Death and Differentiation [Online] 20:1281-1283. Available at:
Kotiadis, V. et al. (2012). Identification of new surfaces of cofilin that link mitochondrial function to the control of multi-drug resistance. Journal of Cell Science [Online] 125:2288-2299. Available at:
Rinnerthaler, M. et al. (2012). Yno1p/Aim14p, a NADPH-oxidase ortholog, controls extramitochondrial reactive oxygen species generation, apoptosis, and actin cable formation in yeast. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences [Online] 109:8658-8663. Available at:
Di, Y. et al. (2011). H2O2 stress-specific regulation of S. pombe MAPK Sty1 by mitochondrial protein phosphatase Ptc4. The EMBO Journal [Online] 31:563-575. Available at:
Jossé, L. et al. (2011). Transcriptomic and phenotypic analysis of the effects of T-2 toxin on Saccharomyces cerevisiae: evidence of mitochondrial involvement. FEMS Yeast Research [Online] 11:133-150. Available at:
Leadsham, J. and Gourlay, C. (2010). cAMP/PKA signaling balances respiratory activity with mitochondria dependent apoptosis via transcriptional regulation. BMC Cell Biology [Online] 11:1471-2121. Available at:
Sudarsha, S. et al. (2009). Fumarate hydratase deficiency in renal cancer induces glycolytic addiction and hypoxia-inducible transcription factor 1 alpha stabilization by glucose-dependent generation of reactive oxygen species. Molecular and Cellular Biology [Online] 29:4080-4090. Available at:
Leadsham, J. et al. (2009). Whi2p links nutritional sensing to actin-dependent Ras-cAMP-PKA regulation and apoptosis in yeast. Journal of Cell Science [Online] 122:706-715. Available at:
Leadsham, J. and Gourlay, C. (2008). Cytoskeletal induced apoptosis in yeast. Biochimica et biophysica acta Molceular Cell Research [Online] 1783:1406-1412. Available at:
Franklin-Tong, V. and Gourlay, C. (2008). A role for actin in regulating apoptosis/programmed cell death: evidence spanning yeast, plants and animals. Biochemical Journal [Online] 413:389-404. Available at:
Gourlay, C., Du, W. and Ayscough, K. (2006). Apoptosis in yeast--mechanisms and benefits to a unicellular organism. Molecular Microbiology [Online] 62:1515-1521. Available at:
Gourlay, C. and Ayscough, K. (2006). Actin-Induced Hyperactivation of the Ras Signaling Pathway Leads to Apoptosis in Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Molecular and Cellular Biology [Online] 26:6487-6501. Available at:
Gourlay, C. and Ayscough, K. (2005). Identification of an upstream regulatory pathway controlling actin-mediated apoptosis in yeast. Journal of Cell Science [Online] 118:2119-2132. Available at:
Gourlay, C. and Ayscough, K. (2005). The actin cytoskeleton: a key regulator of apoptosis and ageing? Nature Reviews Molecular Cell Biology [Online] 6:583-589. Available at:
Gourlay, C. et al. (2004). A role for the actin cytoskeleton in cell death and aging in yeast. Journal of Cell Biology [Online] 164:803-809. Available at:
Gourlay, C. et al. (2003). An interaction between Sla1p and Sla2p plays a role in regulating actin dynamics and endocytosis in budding yeast. Journal of Cell Science [Online] 116:2551-2564. Available at:
Dewar, H. et al. (2002). Novel proteins linking the actin cytoskeleton to the endocytic machinery in Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Molecular Biology of the Cell [Online] 13:3646-3661. Available at:
Warren, D. et al. (2002). Sla1p couples the yeast endocytic machinery to proteins regulating actin dynamics. Journal of Cell Science 115:1703-1715.
Hofer, J. et al. (2001). Expression of a class 1 knotted1-like homeobox gene is down-regulated in pea compound leaf primordia. Plant Molecular Biology [Online] 45:387-398. Available at:
Gourlay, C., Hofer, J. and Ellis, T. (2000). Pea compound leaf architecture is regulated by interactions among the genes UNIFOLIATA, cochleata, afila, and tendril-less. Plant Cell.
Conference or workshop item
Gourlay, C. and Ayscough, K. (2005). The actin cytoskeleton in ageing and apoptosis. in: 3rd International Meeting on Yeast Apoptosis. Elsevier Science, pp. 1193-1198.
Gourlay, C. and Ayscough, K. (2005). A role for actin in aging and apoptosis. in: BioScience 2005 Conference. Portland Press, pp. 1260-1264.
Tsaousis, A. et al. (2018). The human gut colonizer Blastocystis respires using Complex II and alternative oxidase to buffer transient oxygen fluctuations in the gut. Frontiers in Cellular and Infection Microbiology [Online]. Available at:
Total publications in KAR: 37 [See all in KAR]


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Our main research aim is to utilise the power of the simple model eukaryotic budding yeast to further our knowledge as to how cells function and respond to their environment. As such our current projects and interests span a number of disciplines including:

  1. The regulation of mitochondrial health and production of reactive oxygen species
  2. The role of translational accuracy in healthy ageing and apoptosis
  3. Understanding how mitochondrial function can be harnessed to improve recombinant protein production yields
  4. Roles for the actin cytoskeleton in regulating stress response mechanisms
  5. Developing yeast as a model for motor neuron disease
  6. Using yeast to understand the development of drug resistance

If you are interested in joining the group then please contact:
Dr Campbell Gourlay

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Enquiries: Phone: +44 (0)1227 823743

School of Biosciences, University of Kent, Canterbury, Kent, CT2 7NJ

Last Updated: 23/10/2018