Dr Samantha Le Sommer

Dr Samantha Le Sommer

Research Fellow


Contact Details

The University of Aberdeen Institute of Medical Science, Office 4.63/Lab 4.08


Cell signalling is regulated by two families of proteins, kinases and phosphatases; kinases attach a phosphate group to a protein, and phosphatases remove phosphate groups. Together, these two families of proteins regulate the most critical signalling pathways within cells. While these two families have been studied extensively in a myriad of contexts, currently we have not characterised fully the regulation of myeloid cell function by phosphatases.

My current work focuses on the role of PTP1B in the regulation of dendritic cells during autoimmunity and cancer, with a view to building and independent career studying the effects that illness such as cancer and autoimmunity have on the innate immune system.

I was very honoured to be chosen to take part in the IMS Careers in the Spotlight, where I discussed my path to working in research.

Previously, I have demonstrated that deletion of PTP1B in myeloid cells results in development of de novo Acute Myeloid Leukemia due to constitutive activation of STAT3. I also demonstrated that PTP1B is a crucial regulator of dendritic cell antigen presentation and migration.

In October 2019 I guested on the SciCurious podcast, discussing being a LGBT+ women in academia with a chronic pain condition.

Public Engagement:

LGBT STEM Village Scotland: Co-Director 2019-202 & Conference Organiser – LGBT STEM Village Conference 2020

500 Women Scientists Aberdeen: Co-Coordinator

Pint of Science 2019 (Brilliant Minds theme): Organiser

Soapbox Scienec 2019: Speaker

Professional Engagement:

LGBT STEM Village Scotland, Co-director, 2019 – Present

NVision Committee member (Publicity and Seminars) 2018 – Present

Scottish Universities Life Sciences Alliance (SULSA) – Early Career Researcher Rep for University of Aberdeen 2018 – Present

Invited Seminar Speaker: April 2019 – NHS Grampian Respiratory Meeting: “Cancer and Autoimmunity – Two Sides of the Same Coin”

Invited Seminar Speaker: Oct 2019 – NHS Grampian Clinical Oncology Meeting: “Dendritic Cells in Cancer – a New Therapeutic Target”


University of Aberdeen, Aberdeen, Scotland
PhD Medicine and Therapeutics (2013-2017).
Thesis: PTP1B is a negative regulator of inflammation in myeloid cells and a tumour suppressor.
Funding: University of Aberdeen Competitive PhD Studentship

University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, Scotland
BSc in Biological Sciences, with Honours Immunology (2008-2012)
Funding: University of Edinburgh Widening Access Bursary 

Clydebank College (now West College Scotland, Clydebank Campus)
Applied Sciences Highers NHD (2006-2008)

Employment History:

2019: Wellcome Trust ISSF Postdoctoral Research Fellowship, University of Aberdeen

2017: Postdoctoral Researcher, University of Aberdeen

Research Grants (Active)

Wellcome Trust (institutional strategic support fund) Postdoctoral Fellowship (2019-2020)

Outreach Grants (Active)

Physiology Society, diversity & outreach grant, (STEM Village Scotland 2020), with Matt Mcsinton (Edinbugh Uni) & Dr Brynley Pearlstone (Glasgow Uni)


FEBS Travel Grant – Europhosphatase 2019

Wellcome Trust (institutional strategic support fund) Seed Corn Fund (2018-2019) co-applicant.

Wellcome Trust Biomedical Summer studentship (2017) supervisor

University of Aberdeen Development Trust (2017-2019) “Regulating inflammation and immunity via myeloid specific PTP1B” Named Researcher.

British Society for Immunology Travel Grant – BSI Congress 2016

Primer Design – Gold Student Sponsorship 2014


Teaching Responsibilities

Lecturer on MSc Cardiovascular Sciences & Diabetes