Who we are...
What we do...
We perform research to understand the regulation of cell division. Cell division is the process that creates new cells to replace aged or damaged tissues in our body, however, uncontrolled cell division is the defining characteristic of cancer. We aim to determine how cell division is regulated to allow us to control this process. The ultimate aim is to be able to regulate cell division as a treatment for cancer and to promote cell division of stem cells for regenerative medicine.
A central hypothesis to our work is that the position of proteins within the cell controls cell division. We place normal proteins in different locations within the cell, next to new partner proteins, and test the effect upon cell division. Some of the resulting changes promote cell division, while others block it. We then use this knowledge to both understand how the normal process of cell division is controlled and furthermore to understand how it may be manipulated, for example in cancer therapy.
We principally use baker's yeast since this has a number of key advantages over human cells.
- The yeast genes controlling cell division are essentially the same as human cells.
- The yeast regulatory networks contain less redundancy and are therefore simpler to understand.
- Experiments in yeast save both time and money compared with cultured human cells.
- Yeast divide asymmetrically, like many human cells, providing a model to study how cells acquire different fates.
Using yeast as a tool we aim to elucidate methods to regulate human cell division.