Kystis team

Kystis staff are extremely experienced in research and analysis of the bladder. Click on the arrows to find out more.

Jenny Southgate


Professor Jenny Southgate took up the post of Director of the Jack Birch Unit in October 1999. This post is sponsored by York Against Cancer.

Jenny began her career at the Imperial Cancer Research Fund (ICRF) in London, where she obtained a degree from the Institute of Biology, followed by a PhD from the University of Leeds. She moved to Leeds in 1990, where she headed a research group based in the ICRF Cancer Medicine Research Unit at St James's University Hospital, University of Leeds.


Her research interests focus on the cell/molecular biology of human urothelium and its diseases by developing in vitro approaches.  She is also developing strategies to restore bladder function following trauma or disease (including cancer) using tissue engineering and biomaterials.

Jenny is a Deputy Director of the White Rose Centre for Industrial Collaboration in Biomaterials and Tissue Engineering (BITE CIC), which is funded by Yorkshire Forward.

Simon Baker


Simon did both his graduate BSc degree and PhD at the University of York. He has previously held a Yorkshire Enterprise Fellowship and a Royal Society of Edinburgh/BBSRC Enterprise Fellowship. As an Enterprise Fellow, Simon spent a proportion of his time exploring the commercial potential of the Jack Birch Unit’s research. In 2010, Simon and Prof Southgate won the $300,000 Astellas European Foundation Urology Prize which is being used to examine the urothelial transcriptome in order to define the “Urotheliome”.


Simon is a cell biologist with interdisciplinary skills in the fields of cell signalling and tissue engineering. His research has focused on promoting differentiated tissue function in vitro using ligand-driven and biomaterial-guided approaches. Simon currently works on two JBU commercial outputs:

1) Histotech – offering customised contract histology and immunohistology services focused on dealing with the specific problems associated with analysing biomaterial-supported tissues

2) Kystis – providing contract research to examine the mode-of-action and efficacy of pharmaceuticals in the patented in vitro human urothelial tissue models. The models are also useful for assessing off-target drug effects, including toxicity, of drugs, cosmetics and other chemicals in the bladder.

Marie Fleming


Marie joined Kystis in October 2008 having previously worked at Imperial College in London.  Marie provides administrative support for all Kystis projects.