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ePortfolio of Bhavini Patel


I am a MIBTP PhD student in Nezis Lab based at the University of Warwick School of Life Sciences. During my MIBTP training year, I did my first rotational lab under the supervision of Prof. Flaviano Giorgini and Dr Mariaelena Repici in the Department of Genetics at University of Leicester. My research project entitled 'Investigating the Co-localisation of Microtubule Protein Associated Protein Tau and DJ-1' contributed towards a publication in the journal of Molecular Neurobiology in 2018.

Prior to my PhD, I studied an MSc in Neuropharmacology at Nottingham Trent University (Distinction). My masters research project, under the supervision of Prof. Ellen Billet and Dr Aslihan Ugun-Klusek, was entitled 'Investigating the Effects of Monoamine Oxidase (MAO-A) levels on the 20S Proteasome' and was awarded a distinction. I hold a BSc in Biochemistry With Chemistry from University of Keele. In the second year of my undergraduate degree, I studied a semester abroad at the University of Guelph in Ontario, Canada (Department of Chemistry/ Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology). At the end of my second year, I had also undertaken a research project in 'Aluminium Toxicity in Infant Formula' with Prof. Christopher Exley which was later published in the journal of BMC Pediatrics in 2013. My final year undergraduate research project, under the supervision of Prof. Christopher Exley and Dr Matthew Mold, entitled 'The Influence of Human Serum Amyloid P Component & Goodpasture Antigen-binding Protein on the Formation of Aβ42 Amyloid Fibrils' and was also awarded a distinction.

Current PhD Research

My current PhD project is BBSRC funded and is based on investigating 'Molecular Mechanisms of Selective Autophagy During the Course of Ageing'. The main objective of my project is the functional characterisation of the role of ArfGAP3 protein in the interplay between endosomal trafficking and selective autophagy during ageing. I use Drosophila Melanogaster as a genetically modifiable model organism to carry out experiments. My research project employs a number of experimental techniques outlined below:

  • Basic cell, molecular biology and biochemistry

  • Drosophila genetics and cell biology

  • Confocal microscopy

  • Electron microscopy

Research Abstract:

'ArfGAP3 is a novel Atg8a-interacting protein in Drosophila'

Autophagy is one of the two key mechanisms that regulates protein homeostasis by intracellularly degrading cellular components. Macroautophagy is closely related to the endocytic pathway as both have converging steps and common participating molecules. Atg8a, is key protein essential for the autophagosome formation. In order to find Atg8a-interacting proteins in Drosophila we performed a yeast-two hybrid screening. We found that ArfGAP3, an endosomal trafficking associated protein, is a novel Atg8a interactor. ArfGAP3 belongs to the ArfGAP sub-family of multi domain proteins with a primary function to hydrolyse GTP-bound Arf proteins. Co-localisation experiments in Drosophila fat body further supported this interaction as strong co-localisation of ArfGAP3 and Atg8a to autophagosomes was observed when cells were subjected to starvation to initiate autophagy. Biochemical analysis also confirmed that endogenous ArfGAP3 is selectively degraded by autophagy as accumulation of endogenous ArfGAP3 was observed in Atg8a mutant flies compared to wild-type. Our study provides convincing evidence of the interaction between ArfGAP3 and Atg8a suggesting ArfGAP3 potentially plays a role in relationship between endosomal trafficking and selective autophagy.

Research Interests

My main research interest in Neurodegeneration stems from my undergraduate degree research project on amyloid fibrils in Alzheimer's Disease, which then led me to undertake a Masters research project and PhD training year rotational lab research project related to Parkinson's Disease. My research ambition is to pursue a research career in neuroscience research, in particularly in neurobiology in the field of Neurodegeneration.


2019 - Postgraduate symposium (University of Warwick) - Poster presentation

2019 - MIBTP symposium (University of Leicester) - Flash talk

2018 - Autophagy UK network (University of Cambridge) - Poster presentation

2018 - Postgraduate symposium (University of Warwick) - Abstract submission

2018 - MIBTP symposium (University of Leicester) - Poster presentation


2016 - Midlands Integrative Biosciences Training Partnerships (University of Warwick)

2015 - The School of Science and Technology Master's Scholarship (Nottingham Trent University)


2016 - MSc Neuropharmacology - Distinction

2016 - Completed Home Office Licensee Training Course PIL A+B ['Animals in Scientific Procedure Act' (ASPA) course] - PASS

2013 - BSc Biochemistry With Chemistry - Second Class Honours (Division I)


Repici, M., Hassanjani, M., Maddison, D.C., Garção, P., Cimini, S., Patel, B., Szegö, E.M., Straatman, K.R., Lilley, K.S., Borsello, T., Outeiro, T.F., Panman, L., and Giorgini, F. (2019), 'The Parkinson's Disease-Linked Protein DJ-1 Associates with Cytoplasmic mRNP Granules During Stress and Neurodegeneration'. Molecular Neurobiology; 56(1), pp61-77

Chuchu, N., Patel, B., Sebastian, B., and Exley, C. (2013), 'The aluminium content of infant formulas remains too high'. BMC Pediatrics; 13:162, pp1-5

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Bhavini Patel