Director of Sonalee Laboratory: Dr Jose Antonio Aragon-Martin, BSc (Hons), PhD.
Dr Aragon-Martin got a PhD in Molecular Genetics in 2009 from St George’s University of London and a BSc (Hons) in Biochemistry in 2001 from Greenwich University. Dr Aragon-Martin grew up in Palma de Mallorca, Baleares, Spain. He moved to London in 1993.
During his Industrial Placement year and final year project for his BSc course, he had the opportunity to work in The Institute of Ophthalmology, next to Moorfields Eye Hospital, with two major players in today’s cutting edge research: Professor Shomi Bhattacharya and Associate Professor Bart P. Leroy, starting his training in molecular genetics. Throughout his PhD course, he collaborated with Professor Mansoor Sarfarazi, a renowned scientist in the Glaucoma field, who trained him for almost 6 years in the University of Connecticut Health Centre in Farmington, Connecticut, USA. Here, he established his training in molecular genetics. On completion of his PhD he joined the Sonalee Laboratory in 2008 as a post doctorate. Here, he was involved with the screening of the FBN1 gene in Marfan syndrome patients. During this time, he gained knowledge and understanding of the causative mutations appearing in Marfan syndrome patients and by September 2012 Dr Aragon-Martin became the Director of the Sonalee Laboratory.
He is interested in mutation screening, in particular with patients with Marfan syndrome, Loeys–Dietz syndrome, Ehlers–Danlos syndrome, Thoracic Aortic Aneurysm and Dissection, Bicuspid Aortic Valve, Mitral Valve Prolapse, Scoliosis, Ectopia Lentis, and other connective tissue disorders. His current research includes searching for novel genes involved in Thoracic Aortic Aneurysm and Dissection, Bicuspid Aortic Valve, Mitral Valve Prolapse, Scoliosis, Ectopia Lentis, amongst some of them; Genotype-Phenotype associations in Marfan syndrome; Novel causative mutations in Marfan syndrome patients as well as modifier genes. These modifier genes might influence the different phenotypes observed in the same causative mutation between different families and between family members of the same family. A similar project in gene modifiers is currently undergoing for the Thoracic Aortic Aneurysm and Dissection and Ectopia Lentis phenotypes.