Professor Inke Näthke

Inke Nathke

Position: Professor of Epithelial Biology

Address: Cell & Developmental Biology, University of Dundee, Dundee, DD1 5EH

T: +44 (0) 1382 385821

Website: Nathke Lab




Originally from Itzehoe, Germany, Inke received her training at San Jose State University in California, the University of California San Francisco, Stanford and Harvard Medical Schools. She began her studies as a medical student in Germany but longed to leave and return to her adopted home of California. She returned in 1982 and graduated from San Jose State University in 1985 with an Honours degree in Chemistry and a minor in Biochemistry.

She completed her PhD at the University of California San Francisco in the lab of Frances Brodsky. It is here where she first gained an understanding of the techniques of cell biology that would help her in her research years later. In 1992, Näthke moved to Stanford and the Nelson lab for her first post-doc, where her ground-breaking APC research would later commence.

Inke has two children and moved to Dundee in 1998 with her family, partly because of the quality of life available for her family but also to begin work in the newly constructed Wellcome Trust Biocentre. Today she runs her own lab and receives funding from Cancer Research UK. 


Inke Nathke can be described as a trailblazer in research into colorectal cancers having discovered the significance of APC, an important marker in detecting colorectal cancer, as a young postgrad. Since then she has started her own lab at the University of Dundee to further understand how molecular changes produce tissue changes during early stages of colorectal cancer.

The Nathke lab is interested in understanding how specific molecular events change cells and ultimately whole tissues during early stages of tumorigenesis. There is a specific focus on colorectal cancers and the contribution of changes in the adenomatous polyposis coli protein. Over the last years, their work has led them to examine not only how cells move and divide but also how they know where they are and how they work together to build a functional tissue.

The long-term goal of research in the laboratory is to understand how cellular adhesion, migration, and cell division are regulated in concert during development and differentiation and how changes in these processes contribute to tumour formation.

Q & A with Professor Inke Näthke

A sense of adventure, the ability to be part of a place that was clearly growing and building itself, quality of life and science.

That it becomes a non-issue, and we don’t have to think about it anymore.

Knowing that everyone is different, being able to relate to people, being positive, being passionate or having an infectious, but realistic sense of excitement about science (or whatever one is a role model for). 

The people I work with, the development of people in my lab into confident and accomplished scientists, discovering new things in biology.