Mr Benjamin Kroeger

DPhil Candidate in Chromosome and Developmental Biology

I graduated from University College London in 2013 with an MSci Biological Sciences (First Class), specialising in Cell Biology.

I then joined Oriel College to begin my Wellcome Trust funded DPhil Programme in Chromosome and Developmental Biology. In my first year I carried out two different lab rotation projects, before settling in Professor Clive Wilson's lab at the Department of Physiology, Anatomy and Genetics for the remainder of my DPhil.

Research interests

My DPhil research uses Drosophila melanogaster to understand fundamental cell biological processes, including organelle trafficking and molecular signalling, that underlie cell-to-cell communication. I study these processes in a highly secretory epithelial cell type found in the male Drosophila accessory glands, known as secondary cells. Work in the lab has previously shown that secondary cells secrete nanovesicles called exosomes and dense core granule-packaged proteins into seminal fluid, which are then transferred to the female upon mating to modulate her behaviour. I have been researching novel genetic mechanisms that regulate both exosome biogenesis and dense core granule formation in secondary cells.

Similar secretory products play important roles in human health, and their misregulation has been implicated in diseases such as cancer, diabetes and neurodegenerative disorders. I am interested in using the results of basic science research to help prevent and treat human disease. I have been collaborating closely throughout my DPhil with Prof. Deborah Goberdhan’s lab, which study human cancer cells, to test whether the new mechanisms discovered in Drosophila cells are conserved with humans.

My DPhil research has involved high quality imaging techniques, and since joining the lab I have developed the application of super-resolution light microscopy, live-cell ex-vivo imaging, and electron microscopy to our system. I have a real appreciation for different techniques and the power of embracing new technologies in microscopy, molecular biology and genetics.

Further information can be found on my departmental webpage.

Research Presentations and Posters

I recently presented a talk of my research at the 58th Annual Drosophila Research Conference in San Diego, April 2017. The year before, I presented another talk at The Allied Genetics Conference (TAGC), during the 57th Annual Drosophila Research Conference in Orlando, June 2016. I also presented both a talk and a poster at the BSCB-BSDB Joint Spring Meeting in Warwick, May 2015.