Welcome to the Gergely Lab!
Our group wants to shed light on the basic principles of cell division and understand how abnormal cell divisions contribute to pathologies.
We started this quest at the Cancer Research UK Cambridge Institute in 2007 but in late 2020 we moved to our current home at the Department of Biochemistry, University of Oxford. You can read more about what we do here.
For organisms to survive, their cells need to be continuously replenished through cell divisions. It is crucial that cells pass on a complete set of genes every time they divide. This is achieved by the faithful replication of our chromosomes, followed by their equal segregation between daughter cells. Chromosomes are anchored to and distributed by the mitotic spindle, a symmetric bipolar structure, composed of protein fibres called microtubules. The poles of the spindle are formed by centrosomes, specialised organelles that produce and organise microtubules.
Much of our research is focused on the centrosome. A small set of core proteins ensure that the centrosome reproduces each cell cycle once and only once. A further 100 or so components regulate other functions of the organelle ranging from microtubule organisation to ciliogenesis.
Centrosome number and function are strictly regulated within healthy cells, but cancerous cells and tissues often display a multitude of centrosome abnormalities. How such anomalies contribute to tumourigenesis is an important and as yet unresolved question, a key interest of our group.
Centrosomal genes are mutated in developmental diseases leading to microcephaly (small brain) or dwarfism. How and why these mutations impair development is not well understood, and is another We want to understand the role of centrosomes in organismal growth.
Our funders include BBSRC, the University of Oxford and the EPA Cephalosporin Fund.
We are part of an exciting collaboration working on intrinsically disordered protein domains and their regulatory roles in the cell cycle!