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Our Research

The goal of our research is to understand how the proliferation of the cell, i.e. "the cell cycle", is controlled in the living body of an animal and, ultimately, to apply the knowledge gained to find an efficient way to treat cancer and other human diseases. By harnessing the power of the advanced genetical tools of the fruit fly, Drosophila melanogaster, alongside sophisticated biochemical techniques and proteomics analysis, we are striving to discover the fundamental mechanism that couples the cell cycle to cellular differentiation and tissue homeostasis in multicellular organisms.

Cell cycle control of developmental signalling pathways

It has come to light that various cell cycle regulators directly regulate developmental signalling pathways in order to coordinate cell fates with cell proliferation. We have recently found the evidence that the APC/C may regulate Wingless (Wg)/Wnt signalling through the destruction of a centrosomal kinase Nek2 during Drosophila eye development.

Investigation into the mechanism of cell cycle exit upon differentiation

We also investigate the mechanism of "cell cycle exit" that often precedes or coincides with terminal differentiation and cellular quiescence. The APC/C co-activator, Fzr/Cdh1, is essential for timely cell cycle exit and differentiation of neurons and various animal tissues.

Coupling the centrosome cycle to the cell cycle

The centrosome is a gigantic organelle present in most animal cells that is critically important for faithful cell division, asymmetric cell division and developmental signalling. The centrosome organises microtubules to direct cell division and control cell shape and migration, thereby providing cells with directional and spatial regulation during development.

The Team

LATEST NEWS

Francesco leaving to pursue a industry career

The time has finally come. The first PhD student in our lab and our long-term colleague, Francesco Mechini, are finally leaving our lab to pursue his research career in the pharmaceutical industry. He is taking up a senior research position at one of the giants, AstraZeneca. It is sad to miss him in our lab but it is […]

Our new study has been published in Developmental Cell!

Today our new paper with Torcato as the first author has been published back to back with a paper from the Mlodzik lab in Developmental Cell. In this paper, we report a novel function of the APC/C in the regulation of the Wingless/Wnt signalling pathway in the Drosophila eye. We found that the APC/C targets […]

Dr Meghini!

Today our first PhD student Francesco successfully defended his PhD thesis. Congratulations, Dr Meghini!

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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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