Human Cell Division in normal and cancer cells
Our group investigates how human cells establish a proper bipolar spindle, how they segregate chromosomes during cell division, and how this process is deregulated in cancerous cells. The goal of cell division is to separate the duplicated sister chromatids (in figure above in red) with the help of the mitotic spindle (in green). Our aim is to understand how the different components of the mitotic spindle, such as centrosomes, kinetochores and the spindle microtubules coordinate their function to establish a proper bipolar spindle and achieve a faithful segregation of sister chromatids. Our interests focus both on the fundamental molecular mechanisms controlling these processes, and how defects in these processes lead to chromosome segregation errors in cancer cells, causing aneuploidy (an imbalance of chromosomes). 85% of solid human cancer tissues are aneuploid and have an elevated tendency to loose or gain chromosomes. Chromosomal instability and aneuploidy are not only symptoms of cancer cells, they can directly cause or enhance cancer formation, as they create dosage imbalances between oncogenes and tumour suppressors, and contribute to the development of cancer drug resistances.
Our studies rely on high-resolution quantitative light microscopy and extensive image analysis; combined with chemical and genetic perturbations, cell biology, and biochemistry.
Our group is part of the Translational Research Centre in Oncohematology