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Our Research

Understanding the intricate interplay between cell proliferation, the cell cycle, and cellular differentiation is critical to unravelling the fundamental biology of multicellular organisms. Our research tackles this fundamental question by utilising the genetics of the multicellular model organism Drosophila melanogaster, together with advanced in vivo imaging, biochemistry, and multi-OMICs techniques. Dysregulation of these processes can disrupt normal embryonic development and adult tissue homeostasis and has been implicated in various human diseases, including cancer, fibrosis, and neurodegenerative disorders. Through our work, we aim to uncover the evolutionarily conserved molecular mechanisms that integrate the cell cycle and cellular differentiation in metazoan organisms. Additionally, we employ human cell culture and mammalian organoids to translate our findings in flies to humans, with the ultimate goal of improving human health through our discoveries.

Exploring the Roles of Cell cycle regulators in Cell Fate Decision and Differentiation

Cell cycle regulators (CCRs) are well-known for their crucial role in controlling cell cycle progression. However, recent research, including our own, has revealed that some of these CCRs also have a direct impact on the cell fate decision and differentiation processes. By delving into these novel metazoan-specific functions of CCRs in various tissues of Drosophila, we aim to uncover their underlying mechanisms and roles. Additionally, we investigate their conserved roles in cultured human cells and tissues, paving the way for groundbreaking discoveries in the field of cell biology.

Cracking the Code of Cellular Quiescence and Cell Cycle Exit

In the adult human body, the vast majority of cells exist in either a reversible dormant state (G0 phase) or have irreversibly exited the cell cycle. Understanding the mechanisms that regulate the entry and exit from these cellular quiescent states is crucial to unlocking the secrets of cellular biology. Through our research, we utilise the Drosophila adult brain and gut as in vivo models, as well as in vitro cultures of transformed and untransformed human cells, to gain a deeper understanding of these mechanisms. Additionally, we investigate the genetic and epigenetic changes that may occur in the genome DNA during these transitions and explore their long-term consequences on genome stability and tissue homeostasis. Our findings have the potential to revolutionize the field of cell biology and have implications for a wide range of diseases, from cancer to neurodegenerative disorders.

Investigating Molecular Interactions of Metazoan-Specific Organelles with CCRs

The centrosome and the cilium are critical membrane-less cellular structures found specifically in animal cells. These structures control a wide range of cellular events, including cell migration, cell/tissue polarity, intracellular transport, and signal transduction, by organizing cytoskeletal elements. At our lab, we investigate the molecular crosstalk that occurs between CCRs and components of these organelles. By utilizing Drosophila tissues and human cell culture, we aim to uncover the critical roles of these interactions in cell cycle control, development, and physiology. Our findings have the potential to transform the field of cell biology and have implications for a wide range of diseases, from developmental disorders to cancer.

Latest News

Maite and Yuu Presented Research at the CSCB Meeting

We are thrilled to share that our lab members recently attended the China Society of Cell Biology (CSCB) Meeting held in Suzhou from April 11th-14th, 2023.  This was not only a great opportunity for us to share our latest research findings, but also the first event we have been able to attend since the beginning […]

Our New Paper: Controlling Centrosome Asymmetry in Neural Stem Cells

We are excited to share our recent paper published in EMBO Reports on the regulation of centrosome asymmetry in Drosophila neural stem cells. Centrosomes play a critical role in the development and physiology of animals, and our study sheds light on the role of ubiquitin-mediated proteolysis in the precise regulation of centriole duplication and beyond. […]

Luke intrigued new students in his lab introduction talk

2021 Luke lab intro Today labs in our school gave lab introductions to newly enrolled graduate students for them to get to know about the research in each lab. In our turn, the master student Luke gave an amazingly provocative talk and inspired the students. It certainly got an attention of the students, but whether […]

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The Team

Funding

We thank ShanghaiTech University, National Natural Science Foundation of China (NSFC), Shanghai City Science Committee,  Cancer Research UK, BBSRC and the European Commission for their current and previous support for our research.

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