Supervisor: Dr Viji Draviam
Aneuploidy (incorrect number of chromosomes) is a hallmark of aggressive cancers, but the underlying molecular cause is unclear. The PhD student will aim to discover molecular mechanisms that prevent aneuploidy in human cells.
When a cell divides into two, its microtubules must properly capture each chromosome at specialised multi-protein structures called kinetochores. Therefore, to understand how aneuploidy arises, we should understand how kinetochores are captured by microtubules. Recent high-resolution microscopy work in the Draviam group showed that kinetochores are first captured along microtubule walls and then brought to microtubule-ends. This is an important cellular event because when the kinetochore is not tethered to microtubule-ends, the growth and shrinkage of microtubule-ends can not push or pull chromosomes.
The PhD student will investigate:
a) how microtubules capture and move kinetochores and;
b) how microtubules impart adequate forces to pull apart chromosomes into two equal sets.
The student will be trained in state-of-art high-resolution live-cell microscopy, biochemistry and molecular biology techniques.
A brief work plan is listed below:
This multi-disciplinary project is ideal for students interested in working at the interface of cancer and basic biology research.
Applications are invited from candidates with at least an upper-second class honours degree in an area relevant to the project (e.g. Biochemistry, Molecular/Cellular Biology, Biomedical Sciences). Written and spoken English skills are essential.
For more information, please email Dr Viji M. Draviam.