Nurse Laboratory Current Research

The laboratory researches the molecular machinery that controls the eukaryotic cell cycle and cell form using the fission yeast, Schizosaccharomyces pombe as a model organism. The major past contribution of the laboratory has been the idea that cyclin-dependent kinases (CDKs) are the major cell cycle regulators in all eukaryotic cells, which is important for understanding cell reproduction, cell growth, and cancer.

Present work in the laboratory investigates both the cell cycle and cell form, making use of cell biology, molecular genetics, biochemistry, genomics, and systems approaches and techniques. A genome-wide gene deletion collection has been constructed generating a resource whereby every fission yeast gene has been individually deleted. This resource is used to identify genes involved in a particular biological process of interest and to investigate their interactions. A number of projects are currently underway: simplifying the CDK regulatory network to identify the core principles underlying cell cycle control; identifying and characterizing the set of genes that influence control of the G2 to mitosis transition; defining the organization of origins of replication along the chromosomes, and investigating how their firing is regulated; investigating how the size of cellular growth zones are determined; identifying the set of genes which influence nuclear size; investigating what regulates overall cellular transcription rate and growth rate; using genetic and chemical biological approaches to develop new low-molecular-weight inhibitors.

In 2011, a laboratory was established at the CRUK London Research Institute, located in central London, UK. Research will be pursued from 2012-onwards at both locations. Incoming researchers will develop projects, in line with their particular interests, in the general areas of cell cycle, cell form and genomics. Post-doctoral researchers are encouraged to continue investigation of these projects when they leave to start their own laboratories.