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Cell Division (Supervisor: Megan Chircop)

Unregulated cell divisions can contribute to the initiation/progression of cancer. Our group focuses on understanding the molecular mechanisms driving the progression through the cell cycle with particular emphasis on the centrosomes and mitosis. Several proteins that function during the cell cycle are being targeted for the development of new chemotherapeutic cancer drugs. 

If you are interested in doing a PhD in the Cell Cycle Unit, please contact general CMRI information (

Projects currently in the lab include:
1) SNX9 has two mitotic roles: i) in stabilising the mitotic spindle poles for chromosome alignment and segregation during metaphase; and ii) in regulating vesicular trafficking during cytokinesis to generate two independent daughter cells. We have also identified 7 phosphorylation sites on SNX9. This project aims to understand the molecular mechanisms of action of SNX9 during mitosis and how these are regulated by each of the distinct phosphorylation sites.

2) Using large-scale proteomics and super-resolution microscopy (SRM) we show that clathrin has two mitotic roles: i) during prophase in spindle assembly; and ii) during metaphase in spindle stabilisation for chromosome alignment and segregation. Using SRM we have shown that this second role involves clathrin localising to the mitotic spindle in a highly ordered manner. This project aims to understand the underlying reason for this localisation and to determine the proteins that it forms a complex with at the mitotic spindle.

3) During cytokinesis, vesicles traffic towards the abscission site to generate two independent cells. We discovered that a calcium influx activates the phosphatase, calcineurin, to dephosphorylate dynII immediated prior to membrane abscission and completion of cytokinesis. This project aims to understand the temporal and spatial deliver of calcium and thus calcineurin activation and how this relates to vesicle trafficking.