We seek to bridge the mechanisms of cell polarity, spindle orientation and cell fate under cell cycle control as is only attainable at this time using budding yeast to uncover fundamental principles for establishment of centrosome asymmetry. Cell polarity is essential for most cell functions and for several key developmental processes, such as cell migration, axis formation and asymmetric stem cell divisions, whereas a loss of polarity is a critical step in the formation of tumours.
We are analysing how cells become polarised and how this polarity controls the organisation of the cytoskeleton and intracellular trafficking.
This is well exemplified by neuromesodermal progenitors that must generate the correct proportion of both spinal cord and paraxial mesoderm progenitors.
Furthermore, their self-renewal and differentiation must be precisely balanced to provide a continued source of cells throughout the process of axial elongation and terminate in a timely fashion upon the completion of somitogenesis.
The composition and structure of chromatin determines activity state and is central to the control of transcription, the expression of cell identity, the maintenance of pluripotency, and the transformation to cancer.
Unc Mba Essays - Genetics Research Paper Topics
However, our understanding of chromatin regulation in gene expression is still at a basic level. elegans has a complement of core chromatin factors very similar to that of humans (many with existing mutants), a small well-annotated genome (30x smaller than human), RNAi for loss of function studies, and well-characterised cell fates.
Projects include: to study mitochondrial DNA (mt DNA), including its transmission, recombination, and interaction with the nuclear genome.
We are also keen on developing more genetic tools to understand how mt DNA impacts health and wellbeing.
In budding yeast, pole-derived astral microtubules target the spindle poles asymmetrically (bud versus mother cell) orienting the spindle to intersect the bud neck.
Spindle pole components are evolutionary conserved and studies in yeast have effectively predicted similar centrosome asymmetry in stem cell self-renewing divisions.