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Our Research

The goal of our research is to understand how proliferation of the cell, "Cell Cycle", is regulated in concert with developmental and homeostatic processes in multicellular organisms, with an ultimately aim to apply the knowledge gained to improve human health. By harnessing the powerful genetics of the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster, in combination with cutting-edge biochemisty and bioimaging methods and mammalian cell/tissue engineering, we are investigating molecular mechanisms that coordinate cell division with cell differentiation and tissue formation at multiple levels: from molecule, cell, tissue to organism.

Roles of cell cycle regulator proteins in cell fate decision

Metazoan cell cycle regulator proteins (CCRs) often possess molecular capacities that directly influence cell fate choice and/or subsequent differentiation processes, in addition to their cell cycle function. We are exploring novel functions of conserved CCRs in cell fate decision by tissue-specific genetic screens and proteomics and genomics analyses in Drosophila and mammalian cells.

Cell cycle regulation in cellular quiescence

It is poorly understood how metazoan cells make a decision on whether to continue dividing, or to stop to divide entering cellular quiescence, G0 phase, upon a withdrawal of mitogenic signals. We are investigating molecular mechanisms through which cells enter or stay in G0 phase in response to mitogen depletion in vivo or in culture, using Drosophila progenitor cells and human cells.

Crosstalk between cell cycle machinery and the centrosome

The centrosome is an organelle present in the majority of animal cells that regulates various cellular events, such as chromosome segregation, cell polarity, cell migration and intracellular transport, through microtubule nucleation. We are investigating molecular interactions between CCRs and centrosome components and the role of their crosstalk in organ development and genome maintenance in Drosophila.

LATEST NEWS

Our collaborator solved the structure of CCDC61, a new conserved component of the cilium

Our collaborator, Dr Takashi Ochi (University of Leeds), published a new article on CCDC61/VFL3, a component of the centriole and the primary cilium, in the journal of Structure. Through computation analyses of 3D protein structures, Dr Ochi previously identified a new protein superfamily consisting of the DNA damage repair proteins XRCC4, XLF and PAXX and […]

Qian successfully passed her PhD entrance exam.

Yesterday, our student Qian (Zhang Qian/张倩) successfully passed her PhD entrance examination at our school. Qian joined the lab in February 2019 after she had spent one year working in another lab. Trying to make up the delay compared to other students (due to her transfer), she has been working very hard (REALLY hard). Her […]

Our new review on non-canonical functions of cell cycle proteins was published in the special issues of FEBS Letters

We (Yuu, Maïté and our collaborator, Rajaguru Aradhya) published a new review titled, “Emerging roles of metazoan cell cycle regulators as coordinators of the cell cycle and differentiation” on the special issue on cell cycle control of the FEBS Letter. https://febs.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1002/1873-3468.13805 Cell proliferation and differentiation are two paramount issues in the development of multicellular organisms, […]

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The Team

Funding

We would like to thank our principal funder Cancer Research UK, as well as BBSRC and the Europan Commission for the research support we have received.

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