The LRI will become part of the new Francis Crick Institute opening in 2015

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The London Research Institute research groups are based at Lincoln’s Inn Fields and Clare Hall. Our major research themes are: the biology of tumours and tissues, cellular regulatory mechanisms and genomic integrity and cell cycle.

Mark Petronczki : Cell Division and Aneuploidy

Goals

Our group is studying the mechanisms that control how cells divide in two, ensuring that each new cell receives the correct amount of DNA – its genetic instructions. If this process goes wrong, cells may get the wrong amount of DNA, which can lead to cancer.

When a cell divides, it first copies its DNA, then divides it equally between two ‘daughter’ cells. The final step in this process is called cytokinesis when the mother cell finally splits in two.

We are studying the molecular ‘motors’ that drive cytokinesis. They act like a belt tightening around the middle of the cell, causing it to split. We are studying cells grown in the lab to identify the proteins involved in cytokinesis, and discover how they work together to make sure cells divide at the right time and in the right place.

The team are also investigating how cells can end up with the wrong amount of DNA, as a result of mistakes in the cell division process. By understanding more about how this happens, our team hopes to find new ways to target cancer cells that don’t divide properly, or have the wrong amount of DNA. Their work could lead to new treatments for cancer in the future.