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Dr Sonia Lopez de Quinto  -  PhD


Telephone:+44 (0)29 208 79008
Fax:+44 (0)29 208 74116
Location:Cardiff School of Biosciences, The Sir Martin Evans Building, Museum Avenue, Cardiff CF10 3AX

Research Overview

Our work aims at elucidating the molecular mechanisms regulating mRNA translation in time and space. This post-transcriptional mode of gene regulation allows cells to respond quickly to external stimuli and plays a pivotal role in the establishment and maintenance of cell polarity. mRNA targeting coupled to translational control underlies essential biological processes such as embryonic body axis specification, morphogen secretion, synaptic plasticity, cell migration and thus, tumour invasiveness. Using Drosophila as a model system and a variety of techniques, we seek to identify and functionally characterize in vivo localized mRNAs sharing similar regulatory networks.

Research Division

Molecular Biosciences

Education and Outreach

As an RCUK fellow, I significantly contribute to the outreach activities undertaken in the School of Biosciences. The general goal of my engagement is to showcase my research to school pupils to develop awareness of the benefits of using the fruit fly (Drosophila) as a model system to tackle essential biological and cellular functions with implications in human health.

I am also part of the STEM Ambassador Programme (which is run from the Techniquest Science Centre in Cardiff).

Some examples of my recent engagement with local schools:

Widening Access to Higher Education among under-represented groups:

  1. Step-Up-to-Health event. “A Supermodel organism: Science from a FLY perspective”. One-day workshop aimed at actively engaging with a group of ‘A’ level students about the nature, purpose and benefits of using Drosophila as a model organism in my research. See programme for further details.
  2. Demonstration on how we work with flies in the School, as part of a one-day workshop with around 40 ‘A’ level students from Bridgend College.
  3. Summer Residential course, run by Hands On Science (an RCUK and Welsh Assembly funded widening access initiative), with pre-GCSE pupils. As part of a two-day event in the School, the visiting pupils participated in a workshop in the Drosophila group laboratory suite to highlight the collaborative work of the group and to examine genetically modified flies. See Innovation and Engagement Events for details of this workshop and the other research activities.

Annual "Learn About Life" event for visiting Primary schools during National Science and Engineering Week: in this workshop the pupils visualise and draw their own stained cheek cells under the microscope. For further information visit:

Annual University Open Day: drop-in demonstration for prospective students and their parents on the usage of fruit flies as a model organism for basic research.